Sometimes you find yourself in a crowded room having to talk as loud as everyone else just to be heard by the person standing right next to you. And just because you have to shout what you're saying doesn't mean it's worth shouting about. This is the feeling I've increasingly been getting about this blog. I'm in a crowded room (and getting more crowded by the minute), and what I find myself blogging (shouting), I'd rather just say, which in the case of this blog, means posting much less frequently, and only when I feel like I really have something worth saying. More and more often, I've found myself responding to the latest news headline, or tweet, or article I'd just read without allowing myself the time to digest what I'd read or heard. I was just reacting, like everyone else seems to be doing on the Right, Left, and Middle, which goes against the whole point and purpose of this website. The average time for me to write my posts kept dwindling to where it now sits, at somewhere around 10 minutes. You, my readers, deserve better. And so do I.
I had the chance to look back on some of my recent posts and wasn't thrilled with what I read. I was so unhappy with one of the recent posts ("Old Things, New Things") that I edited it heavily, then changed the title (to "Bristlecone Lives"). When you find yourself editing and retitling your own blogs, it's time to leave the room.
Feel free to browse the past blogs if you feel so inclined. In the meantime, don't feel insulted when you receive an email that says that your subscription has been cancelled. Nothing personal. I just don't want to keep taking your money, at least not unless or until I come back at some point with an actual podcast. We'll see how things go.
In the meantime, I'll be working hard to finish our home, and finish it well. My family deserves that. I'm also very excited to get into the book my father and I are co-writing on the four gospels, and I'm hoping to have my half finished by Christmas (he finished his half a long time ago!). I'm also planning to write a book of our experience moving up here as a family in the middle of a global pandemic and an uncertain future for our country. The life-lessons such a move has provided, along with the lessons I've learned about what it takes to build a house, will all be fodder for the book. Look for it in the not-too-distant future.
I continue to stand by what I've written up to now, even if I don't always feel great about how I've written it. I believe deeply that both ends of the political spectrum have gotten it wrong in some very crucial ways, not only because both sides are increasingly entrenched in their own little political cultures (there's a reason the word "cult" shares the same etymology as "culture") but because we have stopped looking for and listening to the permanent things, the things that transcend culture and do not satisfy our needs for instant gratification or satiate our demands for bumper-sticker mottos. I continue to believe that if you define yourself primarily by the political platform you support, or the social stratus you've always floated in, or the pastor of your church (no matter how good s/he may be), or even your own deep-down hard-won feelings, you've already drunk the Kool-aid and are no longer able to see things for what they truly are. Only a subversive thinker can see straight in a culture gone mad. Only someone a little crazy is sane in an already crazy world. Only those who can see the error of their own ways are capable of learning something new.
Hence the enduring truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which not only corrects itself in the voices of all those who contribute to it (including the still small voice of the Spirit who inspires it), but which subverts all the political and religious ideologies that have come before and after it and will become increasingly relevant and immediate ("breaking" in every sense of the word) as our world, and our particular American culture, continues flying at breakneck speed into the gathering darkness.
A final piece of unsolicited advice: spend less time on your phone and screens and more time being present to the world around you that, chances are, desperately needs your attention and love. I promise you that, given enough time, you'll start hearing and seeing things you haven't heard and seen in a long time, things that are more permanent, things that actually matter. Anyone with a pulse can live, but a life lived well takes discipline and restraint. Especially restraint.
Thanks for supporting this endeavor this past year and a half. Really means a lot to me. I will continue to keep this site live and will, from time to time, post a blog (though you may not get an email notice about it). But for now, it's down to the tasks right in front of me: building a house and making a home (not the same thing), spending time with my wife and two kids (who are growing up too fast), and taking in the land and sky around me. And writing books. Drop me a line if you're up in this neck of the woods and I'll invite you up to Yellow Wood Road for a drink. We can talk about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, or whatever else piques our interests at the time -- and we won't have to shout, either, because we won't be in a crowded room.