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.
It won’t take an overly astute blog-reader to notice I’ve done something in the past month that I haven’t done in my last 4½ years of blogging here… I have –gasp– skipped posting some days. In a way that’s been good for me, since I had been feeling pressure to keep the streak going unbroken. 4½ years is good enough though… I really have nothing to prove in that regard — though it does beat my old record (in the technology sector) by a year, so with the break, that’s like 8 years of daily posting. No wonder I needed a break this past month. Now I don’t feel the pressure to post something no matter what each day, though I do feel I should have said more over the past month. There was a major Emergent-ing conference that everyone blogged about that I wanted to make some comment upon, and there was a gender-related kerfuffle recently that I almost said something about. Too bad I didn’t, but on the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing. I only tend to get myself in trouble.
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.
Part of the issue is that I’ve had very little time to read blogs… I haven’t been “caught up” with blogreading since September, but the last month or so has been worse than usual. I guess I know how Bob Hyatt feels, to one degree or another. And for the record, Bob, I do have a ponytail and graying hair. I got this far, and you’ll get here too. Just pray that when you do, you’ll be smarter than I am. ;^)