What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hitting Blogger-Puberty (Mid-Life Crisis?) with Piebald Life

So I started Piebald Life almost exactly five years ago. I started it because I had just gotten something published over at BuildingChurchLeaders.com and the kind editor offered to link to my web site.

I didn't have one. So I started Piebald Life.

In the intervening five years, I have spent many words in these posts wrestling with issues that came up in conversations with students as a campus minister with InterVarsity at UNC-Chapel Hill.

My students over the years have forced me to think more fully and wrestle deeply with matters of faith, ethics, politics, and the outworkings of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus than I would have on my own. And for that, I'm deeply grateful.

Being an external processor, these posts have often been half-baked attempts at taking half-baked conversations or responses to students and continuing to refine them.

But as I wrap up year number five here with Piebald Life, I'm hitting blogger puberty--or maybe blogger mid-life. Mostly this is driven by my job shift from campus staff to supervising campus staff.

I'm not having the same types of conversations on a daily basis with students who have too much free time and classes that make them question every aspect of their faith. I'm not hearing those questions that drive me back to the Scriptures to wrestle with the deep questions of meaning and purpose.

I miss that the most, I think, as I'm in month number four of my new job.

And so I'm in a bit of a transition with Piebald Life as well. The stuff that I've desperately needed to process isn't quite as obvious as it once was. Looking back over my posts the past several weeks particularly, I feel like my blogger-voice has cracked many days as I'm trying to find my new voice.

My head is in much less abstract space than it once was. I'm thinking more about practical things: fixing my daughter's hair, working with co-workers, helping to build teams, studying budgets and spreadsheets.

So I'm not sure where that leaves me with Piebald Life. I think part of what's motivating this post is a half-baked apology for some of my half-baked posts over the past couple of weeks and gratitude for folks who are sticking with me.

I think that there's rich ways that life with Jesus intersects fixing my daughter's hair, working with co-workers, helping build teams, and studying budgets and spreadsheets. I'm just still figuring out a) what that is and b) if there's blogger material there or not.

A year ago, I would often have two or three blog posts "on deck" to churn out--either in my head or actually cued up to post. Over the past couple of weeks there's been many days where I'm wondering as I sit down to type what the heck I can talk about.

If I'm just making noise here in my very small corner of blogger-land for no reason other than sheer force of habit, then I'll seriously consider if the world needs more cheap words. I value and respect words too much to want to have them be used cheaply.

On the other hand, part of the value of the blog for me has been the discipline of writing. Posting about five days a week for the past five years has developed me as a better communicator. And I want to continue to see if I can make this transition to finding my new voice as I tackle different types of subjects than I have in the past. That can only come with some floundering as I find some sort of stride.

In the mean time, let me again say thanks for the students who have taught me so much and for the folks who read and the many responses on the blog, on Facebook, or off-line via private emails or conversations. I write to process, but I'm more fully refined by the feedback. Thank you.

And maybe the good news in all of this is that a blogger mid-life crisis means that I avoid my own later down the road.

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