I have always enjoyed writing, and when Covid hit I suddenly found myself in front of a computer far more than I desired. Like the local rivers swollen with the frequent Spring rains and overflowing their banks, words and thoughts tumbled widely and freely . My weekly preaching platform had been taken away and I sensed that there were a lot of people trying to think through the same things that I was. I could knock out a blog post in twenty minutes without running out of thoughts or words and be reasonably pleased with the results.
Circumstances have changed. I have a day job (lighting rep) that is making every increasing demands and I have pastoral responsibilities and I have a growing family. Now I find that both words and thoughts run slow and shallow like the Finley River in August following those dry, sultry summer months. So I have been thinking about what it is I hope to accomplish with this blog and whether it is worth the effort, and whether it is actually helpful.
One thing I know is that blogging is not the platform with which God is primarily concerned. When you sign up for a site blog on a site like WordPress, they want you to build your platform because that increases their platform. More online traffic results in more online revenue, and so I get periodic emails encouraging me to improve my blog or monetize it. The internet rule of thumb is that it takes 1000 loyal followers to earn a living blogging. And while there is nothing wrong with earning a living blogging – I would enjoy that! – there is something wrong with replacing more fundamental “platforms” with an online platform.
God is more concerned with how I affect the people closest to me or the people that He has entrusted to me. All believers have a platform that was referred to in my childhood as “personal testimony”, which is something like a reputation but connected to Christ. What is the testimony of your life? Do you show by your words and your works that you have been changed by the grace of God so that you are being cleansed from sin and becoming useful for every good work? You don’t need a blog for that platform.
I also have a platform as a husband and father, and both of these are time consuming investments. I confess that fatherhood is sometimes an effort for me. My daughter brought home a Barbie book from the library that was easily and without a doubt the worst example of literature I have ever read and I long for the days when I can read to them about the Princess and Curdie. But I’m building a platform for that day and that means investing quantity time now.
Pastors have a God-given platform entrusted to them. Every week my congregants sit still for something like forty-five minutes and just listen to the words coming out of my mouth. How many people get that kind of platform? Of course, that platform is not for dispensing advice or telling cute stories but for proclaiming the eternal truth of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any preacher who uses God’s platform to build their own platform is headed for a fall.
So why do I blog? Is it helpful to others? Is it helpful to me? Is the juice worth the squeeze? These are questions I’m considering. I know that the line from the character of Eric Lidell in Chariots of Fire comes to mind, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” I enjoy putting words to thoughts and I feel the pleasure of God in that. Blogging is a relatively easy way to practice my writing skills in some sort of public way.
I also enjoy blogging because there are some topics that are easier to address in a blog post than in a sermon. I enjoy reviewing books and posting recipes as well as delving into more serious matters concerning politics and economics. Blogging is more substantial than a social media post but doesn’t require the commitment of writing a book.
Blogging is also humbling because writing is hard. I have about 19 blog post drafts started and I just lost steam or couldn’t organize my thoughts into something that is readable. Writing consistently over time is difficult and makes me appreciate even more my literary hero, Chesterton, who was once accused of having no unpublished thought.
I plan on keeping the blog going as long as it does not significantly detract from the more important platforms in my life. I plan on writing about topics that interest me or that I feel are significant. I hope my writing improves to a point that people want to read the next paragraph and the next post. And I hope that some good comes of it in my life and in yours.