At the end of 2010 I was inspired by a blog post by the beautiful Liz Eischen entitled 11 for 11. It was her resolution-like declaration for what she wanted 2011 to look like. I liked it so much that I copied it and I’m copying it again but a little differently this year. Starting today, I will post the first of 12 daily posts called “12 for 12.” Again, acknowledgements to Liz.
Consistent with the parsed out nature of this posting strand, I’m going to try to post more in 2012. Trust that it is not out of a need to be prolific, by any means; rather, it is an acknowledgement that there is simply a lot that I do not post. It’s not for a lack of writing either. I write a lot of posts, among other things, but for various reasons that include not wanting to offend, wanting to avoid every possible perception of self-importance, or just being doubtful about what I’ve written, I don’t put them up.
A quick look has me counting no less than 17 unpublished posts in the last several months, they include stories about meeting Magic Johnson, follow-ups to the post about my dad meeting Jesus at an AA meeting, a post on pastoral narcissism, a couple of book reviews among others; all good stuff, I think.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve badly wanted to comment on the uprising and subsequent abuse of women in Egypt and further wanted to do my part to spread the story of the uprising’s unintentional hero, The Blue Bra Girl. But my comments on things have been so limited over the last year that I just didn’t feel practiced enough to wade in.
The New Not a Pastors Travel Blog Category
My wife warns me that only pastors will get this next section. Maybe, maybe not; it’s part of the story.
In a moment of blogosphere nakedness I’m going to tell the truth of what has me scrapping a lot of those posts: So many of them have to do with experiences gained and/or things observed while traveling. It may be nothing short of ugly pride itself but I’ve done all that I can – unproductively so – to avoid making Life at the Turn come off like a Pastor’s Travel Blog.
I realize this begs for some explanation: A lot of ministry professionals are really funny about travel. For some reason, different from other professional circles where travel might be required and it’s just part of life and no big deal, it seems to be a big deal for pastors. I think that there’s a lot that informs this. Part of it is that denominational circles can sometimes socially be a lot like big overgrown high school classes that have occasional reunions with accompanying behavior. Another may be that we’re talking about a generally underpaid breed, so importance as affirmed by money is not a reality and other currencies of validation are necessary. If you’re traveling and you’re in an altruistic field ala the ministry, then you’re needed somewhere. That becomes a story to tell and that is ultimately, I think, what drives what I call The Pastor’s Travel Blog. Make no mistake, the blog exists outside of travel, it just lights up, along with its accessories, when one is on the move. You’ll see posts about this airport and that place, often with complaint, and the burden of travel as though they wish they didn’t have to do it but surrender their time and presence willingly and so on.
That all sounds pretty brutal, I know, and I hold out the possibility that my perceptions could be embarrassingly off and, honestly, just don’t want to come off wrong myself. That said, I bring a little to this personally in that I made a promise to God in 2005. I was stepping onto a flight to Houston; the beginning of a journey that would land us in Katrina-torn East Biloxi. It was a week after a sudden, drastic and delightful career change. I knew that as I walked through the door of the aircraft that I was walking through the portal to the rest of my life, doing what I was specifically designed to do and that it would, like it or not, include more takeoffs and landings than I could count. That trip through Houston was one that I would round more than 50 times over the next 30 months. The promise: I would never ever complain about the travel as a burden or glorify it in inappropriate self-important fashion. I’ve observed both and, in fact, both as the latter, which for me, makes the pastors travel blog and its accessory complaints and comments portals for self-important chatter. And, to be clear, I can go there as quickly as anyone can! I use the term somewhat generically too as it really has to do with ministry circles in general including the para-church and NGO world. Just search the Twitter-sphere for those who have defined their locations as “An airport somewhere,” and listen for language that makes being home with one’s family sound like an anomaly like, “I don’t get back on a plane for another two weeks…” And then, please just shoot me if you ever hear me say it.
So there it is, I said it and, right or wrong, and all meant with a good bit of humor; it is, in part, why a lot of my posts hit the scrap bin. I’m gong to try to change that this year with the clear understanding stated that I’m home much more than I’m gone, and only go when I should. As well, to say, I do like the going; it is really a privilege and the coming home is awesome! Mrs. Mercer likes the coming home too!
So, my resolution in this regard, to share more and more often and dispatch a handful of fears along the way.
Happy New Year All…I’ll be interspersing 12 for 12 in over the next few days.