Seems hard to believe, like it’s been forever but also like it was only a year or two ago at most. Yet six years ago today was my first post here at Subversive Influence. It’s not the six years of blogging that seems so unbelievable (particularly given my lack of consistency over the past year), but the events that precipitated it and the changes in our lives since that time. It was just over six years ago when the pastor I’d been working with for ten years on a in the church I’d been part of for sixteen showed up on my doorstep shortly after I’d gotten home from church one Sunday morning and gotten my kids some lunch. I stepped out onto my driveway to speak with him while he had his wife and kids sitting in the van, and he proceeded to blow a gasket, not only yelling at me and telling me my contributions were no longer welcome, but throwing some of my own vulnerabilities in my face and asking how I dared critique anything they were doing when they were serving? I’d say it was the beginning of the end, except the beginning had really come some years before that, creeping up on us unawares. Instead, this was the proverbial straw that did the camel in.
I know, it’s overdue. Long overdue. This blog seems to have disintegrated into one of those that has an irregular stream of posts saying, “Sorry I haven’t posted more, but I will soon, I promise.” But I don’t believe in those posts – and maybe I don’t really believe in apologies for not blogging. Sorry to disappoint you. ;^)
Seems a little odd to be writing a prologue after all this time, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a back-story, as may be inferred by those who may have noticed posts at other blogs with this same title. I’ve written a lot about the meaning of missional, its distinctives, and what it means to be missional — besides innumerable casual mentions on this blog. I finally drafted a missional series index that lists the posts I did during my major series (2007) defining the concepts inherent in the term as well as the nine-post series I did (2008) summarizing the missional synchroblog when more than 50 bloggers participated in hashing out what it means to be missional. With a couple of other miscellaneous posts thrown in, this is a total of 25 posts just from me. That’s a lot of words, and some may wonder why I’m doing this once again. No, it’s not because I skipped it last year and am overdue, but it’s for two major reasons.
There’s a growing list of blogging cessationists whose voices are bing missed these days, and a list of notables it is, too:
- Andrew Jones
- Rob Mcalpine
- Mark Oestreicher
- Brant Hansen (sorta)
- yours truly. Kind of.
But not really.
And hey, Mr. TSK-Jones is kinda back from his blog-fast, too. So now that I’ve debagged the cat and confessed that I’m Not a Monk, But I Play One on the Internet, I feel in a way as though I’ve stopped blogging, when I really haven’t. I’ve not been as active on these pages lately as I once was, and I wrote about my blogging malaise a while back. It hasn’t changed a lot, but perhaps I can shed some more light. And no, it’s not going to be a blogosphere departure, just a… a… pseudo-hiatus.
When I began this blog, I assumed that if any number of people read this blog, my actual identity would eventually come out publicly. Of course, I’ve been blogging all along — some 4½ years and almost 3,000 posts ago — under the pseudonym of “Brother Maynard.” When I began blogging here, I said that “the names are being withheld to protect the innocent and show grace toward the guilty.” I thought after the first year that I would announce myself, but on the advice of a few friends, I never have. But maybe I’m no longer feeling gracious.
Sometime back around 1993, my brother and I made a wine kit together — a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Not being sticklers for correct translation based on our high-school French, we printed labels off on the old dot-matrix printer that said “9 Houses of the Pope”. (In case you don’t know, that’s not the correct translation, which we knew at the time.) It turned out to be one of the best wine kits I recall producing, and my wife even liked it despite not being overly fond of red wine. That was about 16 years ago now, and my wife has begun to enjoy more red wines, though that one always stands out in our memory, particularly after we had aged it for a year or so. It was kind of sad to drink the last bottle and know there wouldn’t be any more. I made another kit of the same type a couple of years ago. We enjoyed that wine, but it didn’t quite hit the same level as that original one. And over all that time, we’ve never had a real Chateauneuf-du-Pape. But I’m going to fix that, real soon. Last week I picked up a bottle of La Fiole du Pape: it’s perhaps not the best Chateauneuf out there, but the bottle definitely stands out. And the occasion warrants something noteworthy.
Over the past 4+ years, I think only two or three days have gone by where I haven’t posted. That’s a pretty good record — but not perfect. When that much time passes and I haven’t posted, I feel I’m neglecting the blog, and if I let one or two days go by, it’d be easy to let a week go by without posting. On the other hand, I’m trying to say things actually worth reading rather than posting just for the sake of typing practice.
9rules is a collection of blogs representing good writing in a variety of categories. As they put it, “We find the best content from the independent web and pull it all together in one location.” And the 9 rules? Those are:
As I’ve done for 2005, 2006 and 2007, it’s time to review my posts for 2008 and see just what I’ve been posting about — and what’s worthy of mentioning in a year-end summary. In my mind I’ve not been posting anything particularly good for a while now, but a few other people mentioned me in their year-end bloggers-worth-mentioning summaries (David Fitch and Bill Kinnon, your cheques are in the mail), so dang, I must have said something worthy of note. Let’s see.
This evening as my wife prepared to go back to work after the holiday, I remarked that this has been a better Christmas for us than last year. “The last two,” she replied. And it’s true. We were sitting in our new basement rec room, surveying the “media wall” I had built, with the new Wii plugged in to the home theatre, complete with brand-new KEF center channel speaker purchased at a Boxing Day sale this morning. We’re looking forward to family time in the space, which has been a lot of work. Just three weeks ago, it was a mess of bare walls, exposed 2×4 framed walls, and an assortment of boxes of excess miscellany overflowed from the storage room. There was more than one night in the last week that I worked until 3:00AM, and my wife got started at 6:00AM the following morning to sand or paint. We were both burning the candle at both ends, actually. We kept telling ourselves it would be worth it, and the end of the project was very satisfying.
Well, I finally succumbed and signed up for a Twitter account. I don’t know… maybe it’s because Seth Godin and Clay Shirky spoke so well of it in books I’ve read recently, or it could be that I was chatting with some friends earlier today and the subject of Twitter came up. It wasn’t the inevitable “twit” pun that did it, but the conversation about translating a synchroblog onto twitter: a synchrotwit. A good laugh was had by all us missional twits. Two of us went out and signed up for twitter since that conversation.