I started this blog in the fall of 2008 when I was a freshman in college. I mostly posted really bad spoken word poetry and really abrasive thoughts about my classes, theology, and politics. I also didn’t write much. In January of 2010, I did two things. First, I deleted all of my bad and abrasive posts (something I now regret, but so it goes) and second, I chose to re-launch my blog as a space in which to post updates about my travels through Europe as I studied abroad for a semester. Despite their poor form, and bad narration at times, the travel posts remain on the blog. In the year following my return to America, I sporadically posted some of my poetry and the occasional comment about theology or church. Then, in the summer of 2011, I re-launched my blog (again). This time, though, I was organized and determined. I started blogging with regularity. And I actually started writing some good stuff. I consider the blog as it now stands to be a continuation of that re-launch from the summer of 2011, though the last four years have seemed like two decades with all of the changes I have experienced. As a way of doubling-down on my intention to regularly blog, I determined in January of 2013 that I would post every single day. And this held true until April of that year. Since then I have, at various times, attempted to recapture an actual blogging rhythm. My most successful attempt involved the Thankful Tuesday series, though I’ve had regular themes for years now.
Despite spending the last 2.5 years without a steady blogging rhythm, I have still been regularly writing and thinking out loud. And my list of topics to blog about grows faster than I actually write. I’m very proud of the corpus of writing I have amassed and I hope I keep this up until I die. My dad told me last night that I should eventually publish some of my best pieces. And that once he retired, he wanted me to spend some time with him taking down his most interesting memories and then writing them up. Actually, I’ve had a spiritual memoir project in mind for awhile now. On the blog, this impulse has been reflected in a series of memoir-ish posts. And I even taught a spiritual memoir-writing class at church this summer. Maybe I’ll eventually get there. One thing I know is this: I cannot stop writing. I’ve been regularly putting my thoughts on paper for a decade now (for awhile I wrote mostly in my journal), and I can’t see that I’ll ever stop.
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One thing that has grown on me over the past several years, as you already know from the proclivity with which I write about it, is my embrace of tradtion and of discipline. As I’ve said over and over, I’m convinced that, at root, sin is disorder. Regular discipline–cultivating habits so as to form a habitus–is the way in which I have been most transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ. It’s been about two years since I first codified my embrace of what I called simplicity. Simplicity became, and has remained, a catch-all word for the synthesis of my spiritual, political, cultural, social, and economic inclinations. You can read my latest articulation here. Tied in with simplicity is my narrower, more personal, focus on habits. Habits are actions that I regularly take to cooperate with the Spirit of God within me; they are the practical articulations of order and discipline. And they are inspired by more abstract virtues. So, for instance, I pray every day (the virtues of reverance and obedience). I don’t check my work email at home (the virtue of attention). I count my calories (the virtues of stewardship and responsibility). That kind of thing. I have a couple dozen habits that govern my life and fit into these categories: religion, family, health, personal, and work. One such habit, one rather large and important habit for my personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth is blogging regularly.
With all of the transition and change that has come with me quitting my PhD program and starting full-time work as a teacher, I have had a lot of reshuffling of what my habits look like day in and day out, my blogging included. So, starting tomorrow, I will once again blog with a rhythm. The purpose of doing so is to a) encourage myself to write more (writing, right along with prayer, is the habit that best helps me order my life), b) not always write about the same topics but to branch out or, at least, be more organized in the topics I cover, and c) fill an intellectual and thinking void that has been left by my exit from graduate school; since I no longer have to write three seminar papers and numerous reading responses each semester, or do the intellectual work that goes along with that kind of writing, I think I will be best served my offloading some of that writing onto the blog; furthermore, in the vein of doing some intellectual work without professors to push me, I will always be reading a Great and/or substantive book.
So, without further commentary on my part, here is the rhythm that will begin tomorrow:
On Tuesdays, I will return to my Thankful Tuesday series.
On Thursdays, I will return to my From the Classroom category, but this time I will be blogging about whatever I am teaching my 8th graders.
On Fridays, I will offer a quote with commentary from whatever Great and/or substantive book I am reading at the time.
On Saturdays, I will post the kind of thing you have been seeing lately. These may be theological or political musings. Or maybe updates about my personal life. Some topics coming up soon include me addressing why I am a philosophical theist, why I am a Christian, and how natural law and virtue ethics convinced me that same-sex marriage was wrong.
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As always, thank you so much for reading. There aren’t a gazillion of you who regularly read, but there are plenty. I hope you are edified, challenged, and encouraged by what I write. Please always feel free to comment or share or, if you desire, message/email me.