I am using today’s post to introduce something new. In a blog post which I wrote a few days ago, I reported that God has apparently decided that right now is not the time for the vision for St. Patrick’s Church to become a reality. In that same post, I indicated that I have not given up on the vision and, in the meantime, I plan to stay busy. That’s what I want to talk to you about in this post.
God has blessed me with some wonderful friends, and I don’t take them for granted. One in particular has been a trusted advisor and counselor for more than thirty years. I’ll call him “Dean” (because that’s his name). Everyone should be so fortunate to have a friend like Dean.
Dean has walked with me over the past four years as I have made the difficult transition from the Free Church tradition to Anglicanism. He has heard all my gripes and lamentations and has responded to them with just the right combination of empathy, encouragement, and the verbal equivalent of a “dope slap” on occasion. I often think that Dean cares more about my ministry and the effective and productive use of my gifts than I do. It was his persistence, in fact, that persuaded me to begin writing this blog. And it is Dean to whom I am indebted for the concept which has given rise to the new ministry which I am introducing to you today.
I was a Bible college professor for fourteen years. I never set out to pursue a career in academics, but when God led me into that ministry, I found that I loved it. My students kept me honest by forcing me to think critically, write carefully, and speak cogently. I miss the classroom, and I am grateful that many of my former students stay in touch.
My burden for young adults energizes my vision for planting a church in Columbus near the Ohio State campus. It also contributes to my disappointment that the realization of that vision will apparently be delayed. That frustration is compounded when I read a book like You Lost Me, written by David Kinnaman, which explores the trend among twenty-somethings to abandon the church and Christian faith in droves.
“That breaks my heart,” I told Dean. “I can relate to these young people. I understand their disillusionment with the church. In large measure, I share it. I know why they mistrust Christian leaders. So do I. That’s why I want to plant a church near the university—to provide a safe, non-threatening, non-judgmental environment where young people can voice their concerns, share their doubts, and ask their questions.”
Instead of simply commiserating with me, Dean reminded me that, although I don’t yet have a church community to which I can invite these disaffected young people, I can still relate to them. I have the internet, and I know how to write a blog. It’s less effective than face-to-face interaction, but it’s a valuable tool in its own right. I should make use of what I have, Dean told me. I should use the gifts and the tools which God has put at my disposal at present. The future we must leave in God’s hands.
And so, I am today announcing the inauguration of my second blog. It’s called “That’s A Good Question,” and I am including a link to it at the end of this post. The new blog’s subtitle summarizes its purpose: A frank conversation about Christian faith and contemporary culture.
It will be frank. I’m too old to beat around the bush, and I have never been very good at it anyway. My new blog will be just as forthright and transparent as this one has been, only moreso. That may be too much for some of my current readers. That’s why I am warning you now.
It will also be a conversation. Here’s the way I put it in the “about me” page of the new blog.
When it comes to the interface between Christian faith and contemporary culture, I don’t know all the answers. But I’ve been around long enough to have heard a lot of the questions. I am a teacher, and so I believe that every honest question deserves an honest, straightforward answer. You don’t have to agree with me, but I hope you will conclude that I respect my readers, and I am eager to enter into a spirited discussion within the limitations of this platform. In the end, I think it will be clear that, although I am a committed Christian, I am not an ideologue, and I am not too old to learn. Ask your questions. I don’t suffer fools, and I have a very low tolerance for BS. But I try not to be presumptuous or overbearing. I look forward to our conversation.
This blog will continue as well. I hope to publish at least two or three posts each week on each blog. Only rarely will the content be the same. The blogs serve two different purposes. The new blog will offer serious answers to serious questions, but it will not take itself too seriously. This blog will continue to be a place for me to reflect on my pilgrimage, to express some of my own questions and frustrations as well as to share the joy and fulfillment that comes from following Jesus, irrespective of the circumstances. Again, the blog’s subtitle says it all: One pilgrim’s quest for authentic faith and some reflections on the journey.
My thanks to all of you who read this blog, either regularly or only once in a while. I always welcome your comments. Let me hear from you. And I hope that you will give the new blog a try as well. Click here if you’d like to take a look at it right now.
Grace and peace.