Well, I’ve spent ten days wondering why I bother expending creative energy on this journal, risking the possibility of offending people I hold in high esteem and affection. It’s been hard to keep quiet because these have been interesting days, not least because of those in the news who ‘publish and be damned’, and succeed making things worse for the world.
Danger lurks in instant electronic media of disconnecting yourself from the consequences of your output, of forgetting the importance of discretion and respect, for retaining full humanity and not being destructive towards others. There are things that are better left unsaid, and there is also a time to voice issues of concern even though the impact will be painful, misunderstood and provoke a negative reaction.
Disciplining oneself to take time for discernment of what needs to be said is essential when means of communication are so instant and impersonal. Religion like sexuality is an area where everyone is vulnerable, sensitive, defensive. Both are areas where the search for truth must be pursued, however difficult. It’s worth the time and effort taken to say only what really needs to be said, no matter what pressures are on us to react instananeously.
It would be possible to take refuge in silence, (on the grounds that in the realm of the ‘powers that be’ nothing I have to say makes any difference to what happens), or just to keep diary thoughts to myself (to be used only by my heirs for entertainment when I am beyond influencing things). I have journalled privately in appalling longhand during significant periods of my life, also during travels and retreats. This helped me sort myself out, give account of myself to myself, as I prepared to open up to another. No need to publish any of that, apart from the odd worthy poem or prayer - if I ever get around to doing so. When I started this blog, what was different about writing it was giving account of my thoughts in public, irrespective of who might read it, for good or ill. Some who write blogs do so because they have a political or commercial axe to grind, and an audience willing to trawl their thoughts for news. That's not my intention.
Publishing thoughts about being a pastor in a church enduring crisis, for better and worse, isn’t newsworthy. This is not about My Truth. It’s my story, I'm not ashamed of it. However flawed, it's an offering in witness to the One whose truth is a light shining in the mess and darkness of this world.
Even if nobody reads what I write, writing as if all the world heeds my every word is a discipline and a challenge to do what is right and good and true. There’s no guarantee I'll succeed, but I hope it is possible to learn from my mistakes. How much dare I speak of the search for truth that embraces darkness and light as anambassador of Christian faith in a world that seems more interested in darkness than light? What does it mean for me to be guided by discretion and respect for others, wanting to tell it the way it really is, so that all can hear and respect the real struggle for life in today’s church? Somewhere in these questions the ancient struggle to overcome the passions and live for God is still hidden.
Bear with me – I have more to tell about everyday events at the Edge of the Centre. Keep watching this space.