My furry friend Chuck who recently started a new blog, Hippie Heretic, invited other bloggers to blog through the gospel with him—and I immediately said I would. After a day passed, I began to think of millions of reasons why it was probably a bad idea.
1. Talking Scripture with Christians can a pain
When it comes to talking about specific Scripture, Christians often speak rather than listen. I’m not even talking about their need to contradict or police your views. You can make the most benign observation about a passage and someone will use it as a jumping off point to begin to demonstrate their mastery and extensive background knowledge.
Because the Bible is so important to the Christian faith, scriptural knowledge is a way to establish a spiritual pecking order. I think I’m sensitive to the abuse because I’m so tempted by it. I used to be one of those pedantic pedagogues who wanted to show off his scriptural knowledge and insert historical church facts and tenpenny theological terms into every conversation. Not only do I not want to be that guy anymore, I find that guy kind of annoying.
It’s kind of like the church is full of Sheldon Coopers. I think eventually you get to a place where you realize that being widely read and reading deeply are not necessarily the same thing.
So not only am I reticent to awaken my annoying, cloying need to be taken seriously as a student of Scripture, I’m not looking forward to being schooled in the comments by people who need to put me in my place—or just want to pass off the opinions of theologians as their own.
2. My readership will go way down
The truth is that the people I was speaking of in the last item are the ones who are most likely to read a series of blogs about the book of Matthew. For the most part Christians don’t want to read the Bible. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to them, and they really intend to—just not right now. They’re going to see a post about Matthew and instantly think, been there; done that.
When I write hot topic pieces about the rage du jour, I get clicks, shares, and periodicals asking to share my thoughts. I know that will dry up as I start talking about Scripture every week.
3. What can I really add?
As I’ve read through chapter one over and over in many translations the last couple weeks, I’ve felt a profound sense of ennui. How many Christmases have I heard this passage preached through, or preached through it myself. Let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t click through to read a post about the beginning of Matthew.
Just looking at the genealogy the kicks off Matthew made me think, “Ugh, what am I going to say about this? Does the world need more sentences about how shocking Matthew’s genealogy is to first-century readers?”
I’m not only intimidated by the subject matter (rightly so), I’m intimidated by how obvious, boring, and tame we’ve all made it.
4. It’s a huge commitment
I am not the best with follow through, and I don’t trust myself to stick it out. I think I have about four blog posts about the each of the seven deadly sins here. I just lost interest (probably faster than everyone else did). I am scared to commit to something else that history says I won’t follow through with.
Why I’m doing it anyway
After spending a full week of trying to talk myself out of it, here’s why I am going to do it.
1. I’m burned out on blogging.
I write all day long, every day. So it takes some real focus to sit down after a long day of writing and say, “Okay, now I am going to write something for myself.” My last blog post was a month ago!
It’s not that I’m tired of writing. It’s that I sit down to start writing and I realize I don’t have the energy or desire to jump aboard the cultural rage train. I think it was about the time that everyone was talking about red Starbucks cups and my Facebook feed was red Starbucks cup post after red Starbucks cup post that I realize I didn’t want to do it anymore.
If being culturally relevant means racing from crisis du jour to crisis du jour, I don’t want to be relevant. I don’t like who that makes me. I think my wife is weary of hearing me start sentences with, “You know what pisses me off?” But feeling the need to feed the machine with my angst about the next hot topic has been turning me into a cynical jerk who’s on the hunt for something to get upset about (Hopefully before every other blogger realizes they should be upset about it, too.)
Let me just sneak this caveat in here: If I feel like jumping ship for a couple weeks to talk about something else, I reserve the right to. It’s the only way I can guarantee that
I’ll follow through.
2. I need to tell my truth
I avoid telling people what I really think a lot. That might be a surprise because I’m loud, obnoxious, and opinionated, but it’s true. There are a lot of things I play close to the breast because I’m scared of what people are going to think about me if I tell them how I really feel.
I think blogging through Matthew will help me confront some of my own monsters and force me to be a little more honest—consequences be damned.
It’s not that I need to elucidate Scripture for everyone; it’s that I think this might be an opportunity for Scripture to reveal the truth about me. I think you, the reader, and I, the writer, will be better served by the blatantly honest and horribly beautiful things the Bible has to reveal about us.
In the words of Elvis Costello:
“One day you’re going to have to face
A deep dark truthful mirror
And it’s going to tell you things that I still love
you too much to say”
That time for me has come.
3. I need to return to my first love
I just am ready to get closer to Jesus. I want to spend more time meditating on and focusing on him this year. I’m looking forward to spending however long it takes to get closer to Jesus, and I invite you to join me.