I love to teach, write, and coach. Those three things are the activities in which I feel most alive. Recently, I've wrestled with a desire to write. This wrestling hasn't come from a lack of things to say; but rather from an observation about our current cultural moment.
We are over-saturated.
The rise of social media, blogging, podcasts, and the accessibility in building a digital platform has added countless voices to every cultural conversation that's taking place. From race, class, gender, presidential actions, etc... - there are more voices speaking out on all sides than ever before.
For some people this is a great thing.
For me, it's led to a lot more listening. Listening is important because it lets you hear what the tension behind the statement is. Listening is important because it lets you hear the intentions of a person rather than just forming an opinion based on their actions. This listening has brought me to three thoughts.
First thought: This realization has nothing to do with who is president, what policies are being signed, or who is being marginalized. Many of us, in an effort to make ourselves heard, will make an enemy out of the opposition. I've been guilty of this more often than I'd like to admit. In a desire to speak for justice, to elevate the voices of others, we often wage war on the person that we deem the arbiter of injustice. Regardless of outcome, I don't believe that equals true justice. Living justly is the acknowledgment that it's better to appear to lose than to perpetuate a cycle of violence.
Second thought: I believe there are so many voices in the cultural conversation right now because humanity has a shared desire to understand the depths of life. If you watch a road construction crew working you'll notice that they don't start by pouring a fresh layer of asphalt onto the existing road. This would just be skimming the surface of the road and ignoring whatever foundational needs exist under the surface of the road. When doing road work, a construction crew will dig up portions of the road; they will do the unseen work of building a strong road several feet beneath the surface.
Many people right now have traded being content with a fresh layer of asphalt in their lives for a real, transformative, re-construction - one in which the structure of the person is potentially even changed.
As we seek to understand the depths of life the foundation may be torn up a bit. That's okay. My prayer for myself, and for others, is that I would seek that with grace, humility, and patience.
Third Thought: I've had a blog for about three years now. I started writing online as an outlet for creative thoughts about discipleship that didn't fit into weekly youth group sermons, to impress future employers, and to serve as a platform to self-promote opportunities for speaking gigs.
In different seasons all three of these purposes have been fulfilled. This blog has led to some important growth for me from the conversations its started with others. I'm excited to start a new direction for the foreseeable future. I want to write more than I ever have. I want to tell stories - more than I ever have. The only difference is that I want to start exclusively telling the kinds of stories that get at the depths of life and how other people are living this out. I want to tell stories of forgiveness, peace making in the mundane, and people working for reconciliation in our world.
Do you have a story like that? I'd love to write about you, let you write about yourself, or feature your work and story through video and writing in some way that helps more people know about other people that are doing their best to understand the depths of life.