New Beginnings

It’s a new year and once again I am faced with the plethora of things I should do to improve myself.  I’ve made many resolutions in the past.  I’ve kept none.  The more I make now, the greater my fall when  — in a week, or a month — they join the company of past endeavors.

Last year I decided to make myself no doomed promises, in a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable disappointment of failure.  Initially, 2015 seemed to work out well, but just a few days into this year I realized my success was that I didn’t even try; one whole year wasted.

I’ve been a Christian over forty years.  It sometimes amazes me that I’ve persevered this long without reading the Bible or praying (or any other Christian spiritual discipline) habitually.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve  read passages on occasion, but I’ve never developed the habit of studying God’s Holy Word, or even having a daily devotional.  And I’ve prayed many times  —  usually earnestly,  but I doubt I’ve ever prayed two days successively.   It’s not something I’d recommend.  My spiritual growth has stagnated, most notably in the past few years.

I know I should read my Bible every day.  What I don’t know is how or where to start.  The same with prayer.  The churches I’ve attended never bothered to teach me.  I’ve spent the past few years on the Internet seeking a solution, but the closest I’ve come is to buy books promising the answers.  I’ve read many good ones on apologetics, theology, etc., but not much addressing my specific need.  What’s most distressing is knowing that I cannot be the only one with this problem.  Today’s church seems to be more focused on packing their pews than in making disciples.

Just a few days ago I happened upon a Christian website that had some spiritually intriguing articles.  Having read a few and deciding it was worthy of bookmarking, I began to peruse their links to see whether they had more to offer.  That was two days ago and I think my search is finally over.  I want to spend a bit more time exploring that site before recommending it, but if this post intrigues you  —  and especially if you identify  with my quest, I strongly encourage you to check here again in a week or so.  I genuinely think many of you will be encouraged.

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Who Am I (and Why Am I Here)?

A week or so ago I decided to start blogging.  That was the easy part.  Since then I’ve been bogged down in trying to find some kind of instruction or tutorial for WordPress exclusively.  I don’t need training wheels, but the equivalent of a blogging tricycle.  There are a myriad websites that offer to help, but most of them are surreptitious attempts to lure you to other blogging sites.  Then I happened upon Blogging University, a genuine WordPress site.  I’ve added a link at the bottom of this post.  If you’re new to blogging I heartily recommend you click by and peruse their offering.  I enrolled immediately, but since I am devoid of patience, I also went to their past courses and selected Blogging 101.

The remainder of this post is my first homework assignment (I haven’t been this excited about school since my first day in college) .

From the course syllabus:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

            I am keeping an online personal journal

             through  WordPress, but this blog will have content

             about our   culture and society from a Christian

             perspective.  Comments and discussion from the

             community,  both  Christian and secular,  will be    

              relevant.

  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Having served Christ for nearly forty years, I hope to discuss the pros and cons of Christian life.  Although I  am far far from perfect, I believe I can offer valuable advice to others who share this journey, as well as learn from them.

  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

Primarily, other Christians, regardless of denomination.  But also any outside the faith who are interested in learning why we believe as we do.  I’m also interested in connecting with others in the blogging community who share other interests such as philosophy, music and writing.

  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Online friends who share my views or interests, those who find my faith irrational, but are will to have a civil conversation about it.

Since I’m new to this, I realize that some of my expectations may be naïve or unrealistic, but I’m flexible and eager to see where this new venture will take me.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/blogging-university/

Underway

It’s difficult to describe my feelings as I finally launch my new blog.  I’m both excited and overwhelmed.  WordPress is said to be a powerful tool for bloggers.  They also claim it’s quite easy to use.  Having attempted to digest the substantial list of instructions, I was left feeling rather unintelligent.  Just when I was about to abandon my dream of blogging, I read another WordPress blog that was truly inspiring (Illuminating Truth).

I’ve concluded that the best way, at least for me, to accomplish this task is to simply jump in and post.  My expectation is that as I continue to do this, those daunting instructions will begin to make sense. Please pardon my awkwardness as I strive to write something worth reading.

Now I face my second hurdle: what to say?  We all have opinions and according to my fiancee, I have more than should be permitted. But now that I’m facing my monitor with my fingertips resting eagerly on my keyboard, all I can think of is: um…  It’s as though my thoughts are a huge, tangled mess and I lack the necessary motivation to unravel them.

As I perused other blogs, looking desperately for ideas, I found one that stood out from the rest.  I went to her introductory post where she explained that she was blogging because she loved to write.  Her elegance and style reflected that.  Now – in the Internet vernacular – I am “following” her.  I hate that word. It makes me sound creepy.  I prefer to say that I am interested in her blog.  I wish I could say that I love to write.  For me, it’s more of a neurotic compulsion.  I need to write.  I don’t see myself as a Hemmingway, sitting before a typewriter, cigarette dangling from my lips, a bottle of whiskey and glass within arms reach, agonizing over the precise word to use.  No – I’m more of a man in a locked cell, unkempt hair and unshaven, scribbling conspiracy theories on the wall.

Like everyone else, I cherish my values and beliefs.  Sharing them here will allow me the opportunity for you to encourage me in them – or challenge them.  If I fail to adequately sustain them, then I will be compelled to rethink — and sometimes abandon them.  As an evangelical Christian I expect there will be no shortage of those who wish to correct me.