A beginning

Starting a new venture is always strange, you never really know if it’s going to become a ‘thing’ or not.

This blog is very much that. I want to develop as a writer, so I’m taking some time to write regularly about things that interest me. I intend to then post them here, initially with a goal of at least one post a week.

I’m well aware that starting is not the same as persisting, so we’ll see how we go. I have some things I’d like to talk about that I don’t hear a lot of other people saying, and I’d like people to hear them, but my goal number one is simpler: write regularly, see if anyone wants to read it, don’t be too concerned if they don’t.

I enjoy writing, it feels like drinking bottled fire, and I want to write in a way that Jesus would enjoy too.

Some themes you might see on these ‘pages’: wonder at the world, tables, preaching, church, cultural analysis, Gen Z, rest and rhythms, anything else that turns my head. I’m not starting out with a theme in mind, though I suspect I will find some along the way.

The joy of cold takes

I am committed to trying to avoid hot takes. We’ll see how successful I am. There’s a tendency in me that wants to respond to whatever the newest thing is in the zeitgeist. I think it comes from two places, both of which we call ‘pride’.

The first, the most obviously ugly, is my need for you to hear what I have to say. People are interested in reading about the latest bruhaha and so are more likely to read what I have to say if I write about it. I need you to recognise my brilliance by listening, so I write about what you want to hear about. If I’m doing well, it isn’t what you want to hear, but we’re halfway there.

The second, which is a little better dressed than the first, and so more insidious for it, is that someone is wrong on the internet. I’ve noticed that they often are. To put it more plainly, its that I have something to say that I genuinely think is worth hearing. There’s an even nobler way I dress this up to myself, which is that as a pastor I need to speak into the current moment in order to help my people. This is an easy hook to get caught on. There’s enough truth in it that it catches me.

I do need to speak to the moment, but whatever is dominating the news cycle or people are fighting about on Twitter is not as important as it feels to me. The mediums that carry these messages are keen that we see them as vital. They aren’t. Much of what we’re worried about today will be gone tomorrow. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important, some of it may be very important, but most of it will not be urgent.

When I need to speak to the moment, that is most likely to be directly to my church rather than in another medium. It’s also more likely to be to the relevant spiritual forces instead of about the event at hand. I’m more likely to speak to fear than to the events that are making people fearful, for example.

For this reason, I’ve committed to writing my pieces some time (5-10 weeks at the moment) before I post them. It reduces my desire to speak to the specifics and helps me focus on the principles when I feel they matter. It hopefully will help me to curb my desire to score cheap points, though you may have to judge.

I do the same thing on Twitter, I write tweets in advance and wait a bit to see if I’m still interested later. Most of the time cooler heads prevail.

This rule isn’t intended as a judgement on those that do react to developments as they develop. I think that can be very helpful from those that do it well. It’s more a judgement on my inability to do so and mortify my sin.

Hopefully the takes are cold enough to be appetising. Spit out the lukewarm.

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash