Blogs in transition

I’m sad to see that the Philgrim has put his blog “on ice”, but good for him anyway. I am not going to announce a similar move here, but I can understand the move. Perhaps you would expect a same move from me, but I still feel compelled to keep writing here, even though I do so less now than ever. It’s a bit odd how little I’ve written here or on the “social networks” considering how much time I spend (read: waste) on them.

What I have considered on occasion is changing this blog or starting anew as I enter a new season of life after this school year. I’ve thought of going through my archives and selecting particularly journal-y or reflective posts and getting them bound as a book so that I have a hard-copy to keep with my other journals (I haven’t yet warmed up to “the cloud”). See blurb.com, for instance. I could then delete the rest of this blog and start over.

Another option I’ve considered is to split up theeagleandchild.com and vandersluys.ca, both of which have always directed here. theeagleandchild.com would then carry on this material and vandersluys.ca would be something else.

I confess that part of the reason I’m considering this is that I’m not quite sure how to navigate this space from being the writings of a “lay person” to being the writings of someone who has a position of some degree of authority in a church setting. Yes, yes, the priesthood of all believers, we all have different roles but we’re still all human, etc. etc. Yet, the reality remains that what I’ve written here could cause unnecessary grief for me and my family simply because of my job.

I don’t intend to hide anything from anyone, but not every thought needs to be shared (even if I’m thoroughly convinced of its truth), and I am conscious of the very real possibility of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of things written, particularly online. I’m thinking particularly in terms of what I have written previously and my own spiritual progression over the years. I don’t remember everything I’ve written here; I may or may not still believe or think some of the things I believed or thought (and wrote down here) 3 or 5 or 7 years ago. This is natural, of course, but I’m not sure this notion of development is always clear to everyone.

Anyway. I’m not going to change anything any time soon, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about. There are a number of things to consider as we (hopefully) make a major life transition in the next 8 months or so.

18 thoughts on “Blogs in transition

  1. matt

    Yeah, I can understand that. I hope you discover some clarity in your navigating and I really like the book idea, of compiling the more meaningful or worthwhile posts. Hmm, perhaps I shall consider this myself! That way you can still have a record of your own growth and development without worry about who may or may not be able to deal with that:)

  2. Marc Post author

    As appealing as the book idea is, it would mean wading through 2,300+ posts! Where in the world am I going to find time for that?

  3. brad

    I hope you write a book one day. You’re a great writer who is engaging and thought provoking.
    I also think you should start your own clothing line, a pub and line of facial products.
    Just saying

  4. Linea

    Yeah, the facial products would be a hit. 🙂

    And make it one of those nice warm and cozy English pubs with round tables to sit and talk and not too loud music, dim lights, good food … maybe kind of like the Eagle and Child. That would be good. Become one of those pub pastors. Start a new trend in the Canada Covenant.

  5. Toni

    I’d vote for splitting off, given the choice.

    TBH a lot of the exploratory thoughts you’ve placed here would not necessarily be helpful if taken ‘as gospel’ because you obviously intended them to be exploratory, rather than a sound exposition of doctrine. And as we all know, when you lead, expressing your thoughts freely is only going to cause pain somewhere further down the line.

    Or keep it going. Maybe you’ll find a nice church that does like to explore slightly less than orthodox thinking, while being basically sound at the centre, and they’ll happily fit with your natural inclination to question. However I suspect hot water awaits down this path.

  6. Marc

    I see your point, though. It’s kind of what I was getting at in a roundabout way. I don’t like the idea of a separate private or hidden blog–if it’s accessible only to some it doesn’t seem quite right and if it’s accessible to none, I may as well just write in a physical notebook at home (something I should be doing more consistently anyway).

  7. Andrew

    “I’m not sure this notion of development is always clear to everyone.” Don’t split, and don’t hold back — I would love a pastor who relishes development, acknowledges weakness openly, and is transparent in learning. That is true leadership. E.g., RLP is a great example of a ‘shepherd’ — misunderstanding will always happen. If I may have a pastor who keeps his doubts or ‘less than orthodox’ views to himself that may cause more misunderstanding than not. Be human – acknowledging that one’s beliefs are not final in form is a strength, not a liability!

  8. Toni

    McLaren’s a Generous Orthodoxy is deeply flawed and irrational – an uncritical smearing together of the holy and profane.

    Unreasonably strong reaction? The more I understand of the traditional church, the more I *think* I see the way righteousness and wickedness have been mixed together, and in a way to deliberately blind the eyes. Pomp displayed as humility and opulence as poverty. Now that I’ve pitched my tent in that particular camp for the time being, I see more reason to try to look at it closely instead of pretending it doesn’t matter. But it’s very difficult in English society to separate church practice and cultural practice because the one ruled the other for so long.

    I’d not meant to write this much! We had a men’s meeting this morning where we discussed a variety of things (mostly about giving & money) including clerical dress and vestments. In England, even the ‘nice bits’ ordinary people are now starting to reject the clerical dress, where once it would have provided direct entry into almost every home. They have come to recognise that it is a mask and a means of taking power over people, rather than being a sign of servitude and being the ‘slave of all’.

  9. Marc

    Andrew: I don’t disagree. But it’s not always that simple.

    Toni: I knew using the term “generous orthodoxy” would get me in trouble. Sure, McLaren has a book by that title, but plenty of other people have used that term as well (and not all of them McLaren supporters).

    I didn’t mean the book. I meant that I see the “bounds” of orthodoxy as broader than perhaps some others do. Strangely enough, this is possible because I don’t have a huge list of “in”‘s and “out”‘s. I’m happy to let the creeds, for instance, be a defining factor. (But perhaps I’m talking about belief and you are talking about practice, I don’t know.)

    We were talking about this last night, how our denomination is centre-set rather than bound-set. (I get the imagery, even if I don’t get the mathematical concepts behind it.) What this means is we have a core to which we keep returning to (e.g. the centrality of the Word), but there is room for movement around that…

  10. Andrew

    Fair enough. Can you elaborate?

    “the centrality of the Word” – the living Word (Jesus) or the book?

  11. Marc

    Andrew: Both. I imagine the term “Word” was deliberately chosen over either “Bible” or “Jesus”. (I’d have to double-check, though. But that’s how we took it at our church.)

  12. Jeff Wheeldon

    Not that I’m an expert, but I fear that the difference between a church that learns to think critically for themselves and a church that needs to be spoon-fed may be a pastor who’s afraid to think out loud.

    I’m terrified of being an “authority” on anything, because on most subjects I know just enough to fool people into believing that my opinion is authoritative. When I look back on my life, and all of the “authoritative” teachings and advice I’ve given to others, I shudder to think that I’ve pulled a complete 180 on many issues (perhaps even most!). If I’m exploring an idea, this is fine – and even good, as it shows that I’ve thoroughly explored the options and chosen what I think is the best solution. If I’m speaking from a place of authority, though, then that authority is either completely undercut, or must be maintained by smooth talking and force of personality. And if I withhold my thoughts on issues for the sake of maintaining my authority, then I’d run out of things to talk about pretty darn fast.

    One my favourite things about our church is when Ed says “I don’t know what that means…” It’s incredibly refreshing, and changes the whole mentality of church from one of everyone sitting at the feet of the master to a sense of everyone being on a journey together, a journey that we all must contribute to if we’re ever going to get anywhere. In that kind of church, it’s a tightrope walk to maintain a sense of leadership, but it’s a tighter community that follows.

    Not that I’m telling you what to do, or anything…

  13. Marc

    Jeff: Thanks for your thoughts. I agree.

    I’m not talking about preaching or personal development, though. I’ve had pastors in the past who’ve been the same way–not always certain about everything–and I’ve appreciated it as well.

    But I’m talking about some of the speculative thinking I’ve done here, and also of the ways I’ve changed. Perhaps I’m just making too much of it.

  14. Maureen

    A lightweight weighing in here…

    If you are questioning what to use this space for in the future in regards to your current readers, I don’t think you need to change a thing.

    If you are questioning what ot use this space for in the future in regards to your future congregation who are relating to you as a pastor, you may want to consider that they may not even be blog readers. When I discuss blogs at work, I get blank stares in return – they don’t live in this realm of communication – neither the more educated nor the less educated. Blogs have no significant impact on their world in any way, so I could write anything I wanted on my own space with little fear, really.

    I think you can play that out when the time comes. You may choose to have a blog “from the desk of Pastor Marc”, you may choose to reveal this location, you may choose to NOT reveal this blog location.

    The standard should be, in any blog, IMHO, whether or not you can face people (anybody) or not in light of what you’ve written. How much are you willing to lay bare in a public forum?

    Perhaps I’m way off topic…..I don’t always (seldom/never?) catch what the bottom line is and so I make up my own conclusion, tee hee!

    But keep writing!

  15. Jeff Wheeldon

    Good point Maureen 🙂

    To take my thoughts a step further then, Marc, a pastor who thinks through these things in a speculative, inquisitive way on his own time – i.e. not just on Sundays – is an even better example of someone on the Christian journey of discovery. The more we can get theological conversation out of the church and academy and into our daily lives, the better. As long as your posts make clear that this is what you’re doing (speculating, performing thought experiments, searching for answers rather than providing them), then I don’t think you need fear any harm and I think any of your congregation who stumbles upon it have much to gain from it – as all of your readers have!

  16. Phil L

    You do the blogging thing exceptionally well. I don’t check in here as frequently as I once did (I just noticed that you linked to my iced blog), but I always find something to make me think and/or smile. I recommend that you keep on doing what you’ve been doing.
    “Just follow your heart. That’s what I do” – Napoleon Dynamite

  17. Randall

    Well, being late to this chat here’s my two cents worth.

    Wherever you end up in terms of work, the people there WILL find your online presence and they will use it as a part of their discernment to know if you are the kind of guy they are interested in. And then after you come, they will check it fairly regularly.

    I like the thought of being a pastor who processes stuff “out loud” during the week, but if the church is immature or doesn’t really know you yet, they can jump to unreasonable conclusions, and make your work more difficult than it ever was intended to be.

    It’s a tricky line to walk, I really get that. In our new place I’ve struggled to maintain my voice as I have in the past. Where there used to be interest and a desire to explore other ideas on my blog, it would just result in shaken people who got freaked out. So now I weigh the post against the energy needed to calm the fears of the locals.

    And besides, Blogs are so, so, yesterday. Asking people to come to my corner to talk with me is so un-social, especially in a day when we send our tweets and Facebook updates to them and their news stream.

    I’m all for a good pub though. 🙂
    Oh and Hillary walked past the Eagle and Child the other day on her way to the library. Sounds bizarre eh?

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