Is it time? So many people have been harassing me about not having a Facebook profile that I am starting to feel like my mother at her computer: e-mail is fine, but she dares no more. There are many good reasons why I have avoided Facebook, not the least of which is do I really need another mode of communication? As it is I have a hard enough time keeping up with my e-mails, text messages, and phone calls. And, as someone who enjoys communicating with people - all people, do I have the discipline to put boundaries around my time if Facebook becomes a reality? I doubt it.
Every so often another person's blog will roll off a series of super posts. This happened at Faith and Theology the past few weeks. Check out what my professor and a theologian I deeply respect, Dr. Ray Anderson, had to say in a guest post about homosexuality and the church (part I, part II, and part III). There is also piece on preaching parables that you will enjoy. I did.
Elsewhere, I found A Guy's Moleskine Notebook which looks interesting.
The web will be flooded with news of the death of a great writer and one of Russia's enduring great thinkers, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. His all-time classics include One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Cancer Ward, and The Gulag Archipelago. Read the obituaries and pick-up one of this man's books and read it before September rolls around. It will be a fruitful way to end the summer. Also, my friend Chris has a new blog here and he reflects on the significance of Solzhenitsyn's writing in his own life. Check it out.
You'll notice the Swallow's Nest is under construction this week! Starting this week my blog will have a clearer focus: critical reflections on Christian theology in our everyday world. As a Christian I want to reflect on God alongside men and women that have preceded me in faith and practice. But I also want to reflect critically - not agreeing with all of their theology, or at least able to adjust it - because I recognize that we live in a new world. This century will provide fresh challenges to Christians and I want to address these dilemmas to myself and to you, whether you be Christian or not. I have every intention to be real and to keep my eye on the ordinary events of everyday life that make me both laugh and cry or cause me to be sad or filled with joy.
As I finish revising the site I will point out to you the differences. For a long time now I have wanted to focus my writing on the one who loved me first, God. Through this space, I will have that opportunity. Thanks for coming along on the journey. I look forward to the dialogue!
Grace and Peace,
After briefly contemplating the demise of this blog and opening that suggestion up for feedback I was delighted to see so many of you respond. And your response was unanimous - keep it. So I have decided to continue the Nest but to do so I will change the style and content. Stylistic changes are already evident to you and soon the content changes will be as well. The basic principle I will now operate by is this: less is more.
Starting this week you will have less of me to read (I'll only post 1-2 times a week) but I hope there will be more to what I write (deepening the content). With this new style the emphasis will be on posting longer essays rather than shorter entries. And I am hoping to tackle issues, ranging from current events to travel to reviews to sports to wherever in the world my reflections take me, in a more meaningful way.
So, here's to the future of the Nest! I hope you enjoy it and I hope our interaction will continue to increase.
There is a part of me that cannot believe I am going to make the following suggestion. There is another even larger part of me that feels I have no choice. I am in the midst of seriously considering canceling this blog. That's right, I may dismantle the Nest at the start of this summer, i.e. next week. As you can probably tell, I enjoy blogging. In fact, I love it. And there are enough of you that unexplainably actually take the time to read what I write. Not many of you comment, but that is not why I am considering this move. Here is why:
(1) I have this conviction that if you're going to blog it needs to be daily. I try very hard to post Monday-Friday. Let's face it, when you www dot a blog you're expecting to read a post that is up-to-date, at least within a few days of your click. I know when I go to a blog and find the person has not written in two weeks or, worse, two months I hardly ever go back. I don't want that to happen at the Swallow's Nest. But...
(2) I am going to find it increasingly hard to post daily primarily because I am starting a new job (jumping into it already) this fall and it involves a lot of travel. Ironically the places I am visiting would be fascinating to blog about, but I won't have the time. Posting on the road falls into the "sounds cool but doesn't work practically" category in my wee little mind. For example, we leave Friday night for two-weeks in Europe (part work, part play). Will I realistically post from Prague, Munich, and London? Nah, probably not. At least not enough to keep the readers coming back for more. And this will frustrate me during the trip. Seriously, it is quite possible that I will go to bed at night saying, "Ugh. I wanted to blog today and didn't" have enough time, a good Internet connection, etc.
(3) The topics, issues, and passions that I really want to write about I cannot (at least publically). This also has to do in part with my new job and in part with me not having the time to adequately develop these thoughts in writing. If I cannot go public with my true views on important matters, then this blog runs the risk of "and today I..." No one wants to read about what I did today, let alone most days! No blog of mine will ever be a "Dear Diary" if I can help it. That's just not acceptable to me and probably not to you either (be honest).
These are three of the most basic and obvious reasons for me to sign-off for good or at least until something changes again in my future. But instead of me just jumping to this conclusion and springing the announcement on you, I have decided to post this and let it sit for a few days. This gives you a chance to e-mail me here or respond on the comments section below. Tell me what you think. Be honest. Right now the only other option I've considered is turning this into a weekly blog, where I post one essay a week - something longer on a theme or topic close to my heart. But a) will people want to read such a post and b) without supplying something new daily will I just bore all who choose to enter here? Help me decide.
Now, back to the 5,000 things that need to be done before I leave Friday night.
Did you see what a pathetic, absolutely insanely gross job I did with this blog last week? I mean come on! Five days and all I managed to come up with was two days of "blosering" and one day with an article recommendation. Thursday and Friday I did squat. This is unacceptable. I could go into a long list of "reasons" aka excuses, the primary one of which is I was traveling and attending a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But this week I am in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand with several other excursions planned for business in the next couple of weeks and months, so travel won't be an acceptable excuse or you'll never read anything in this space.
Bottom line: I commit to be better this week. Let us see if I fulfill my promise. To do so I begin today by telling you about something I have pretty much no business even writing about. I have no business writing about kids on leashes. We don't have children, I don't even particularly like kids (I mean I don't hate them or anything, and I am sure I would love my own like, well, my own), and I do not know firsthand the struggle a hyperactive child can create for a parent at the mall or other public venue, but I still have to say it: there's something just wrong about putting your 7 year old on a leash like they're some kind of house pet.
I know you've witnessed this, as I did last week. I was out at the mall minding my own spending when all of a sudden I looked up and saw this smiling, inquisitive looking 6 or 7 year-old stretched about a mile ahead of her owner...I mean Mom. This apparatus was swung around her neck and shoulder blades like a pack mule traversing the hills of eastern Afghanistan. It was one of those expandable leashes too. Just like the ones Fido wears when his Filipino Alma has him out for a poop and pee. And all of this for a human being. Now, again, for all I know Missy is a complete terror, the kind of primary school student you run and hide from when you're the teacher or lunch parent. But I asked myself as I passed by, "is this necessary?"
And what about the long-term impact of such an approach? Psychologically. I wonder if kids actual talk this over with their dogs sometimes. "Gee, Molly, I really like your leash. I wish mine was red." Can you tell who Molly is? Daughter or dog? See, you can't. That is my point. Some urge within me last week told me to go over and set the youngster free. A stronger voice overcame that one and said, "shut up, Swallow. She probably is Satan when she's free." The end.
I've traveled all morning (here to Malaysia), sat through an afternoon and evening of conference presenters and feel like I could sleep without interruption until next month, so all of this makes me a bloser for the second day in a jolly row. Hiyah, as they say in Hong Kong.