I think I’ve outgrown Of Life and Men. No, I didn’t sign a contract with a big publishing company, and I’m not giving up my day job teaching maths. I still want to write and explore truth, but my interests seem to be going beyond a site primarily about men. I’m still interested in men, our issues, and how we interact with women and the culture, but there is so much more to write about!
Where I’ve Been
I’m still not exactly sure why I decided to focus the site around men. It felt like I needed a clear direction, like I couldn’t do a generic “blog” without a specific purpose. Or maybe at the time I was really interested in men’s issues. I still am, and I still think there are good discussions to be had about men. Lately the shortcomings of a few men and the swift condemnation of them has sent out ripples that all men feel. There are even people saying you’re part of the problem, even if you’re not actually part of the problem. So yes, there is still plenty to be said about men.
My early blog crisis led me to realize that I couldn’t blog without my faith. I love how God has been changing my heart over the last year, and many of the topics I felt convicted about or interested in had huge elements of faith involved. So the blog expanded to life, men, and now faith.
The other realization I’ve had over the last year is that I’m not an expert on anything. I’m not a psychologist or a pastor, and given my extreme lack of desire to ever go back to school, I will probably never be an expert in any specific field. Maybe 7th grade math, but even if I knew enough to be considered an expert, writing about math is mind numbing.
What I’ve Learned
Over the last year I’ve learned that there is a demand from non-experts like myself to hear honest thoughts from fellow non-experts. We want straight talk. We want to hear truth that resonates deeply and speaks to our soul. Yet instead of speaking to each other and understanding, it’s easy to start shouting, louder and louder until the last one screaming wins. And the victory isn’t because truth or love has prevailed, but because our side pummeled the other side into submission.
I don’t blame people for being skeptical of others and their different opinions. I think the only way to disarm that skepticism is to humble ourselves, stop shouting, and be honest. Real honesty invites people to listen and engage without fear of reprisal.
I certainly have a purpose and beliefs, which is an agenda I suppose, but when someone listens, whether they agree or not, they can leave unscathed. Hopefully not unchallenged, but certainly not hurt. If you have to rake someone over the coals to make your point, or beat them over the head about how wrong they are, then you’re willing to sacrifice your mission in the name of victory. It’s easy to confuse winning with having an impact. It might have an impact, but it won’t be a positive one.
Where I’m Going
Changing names feels a bit like defeat, like I set out to do something and didn’t achieve my goal. But I’m an eternal optimist, so defeat doesn’t receive permanent residence. Rather, I’d like to think that I’ve found something better to aim for.
I haven’t decided on a new name for the site, but I’m working on it. Even though I don’t have a name, I know what the spirit of the new site will look like.
Humbly Spoken – I don’t like using the word humble to describe oneself, because that hardly seems humble. I don’t know if “humility” sounds any less prideful or not. But when people read my words, I want them to see the words, to see Jesus, and not see me. If I’m calling attention to myself, then I’m not doing it right.
Honestly Said – I want to speak from the heart, and say what I’m really thinking and wrestling with. That means admitting that I have more questions than answers. There are a lot of experts and know-it-alls, or at least a lot of people claiming to be those things, but there are very few people who will openly admit to being a work in progress. I’m guessing a majority of us rarely feel like we have it all figured out. That’s a lot of people looking for a voice that says “I’m right there with you.”
Lovingly Offered – What you say probably matters less than how you say it. If we speak rudely, sarcastically, or with seething contempt, then the offense we cause can blind the listener to hearing anything we actually wanted to get across. If you’re an awful messenger, then your message doesn’t get delivered. Or worse, you taint your message because you delivered it with a punch to the face.
Pursuing Truth – Perhaps the pursuit of truth is more important than believing you’ve actually obtained the truth. When we think we have a stranglehold on the truth, sometimes we stop listening and start preaching. Or we get comfortable on our throne and become intellectually lazy. I want to grow in what I believe and understand, and that means the journey is important. Of course, heading to the right destination is also important. It might feel nice to think we’ve “arrived” and finished our quest, but that’s fairly anticlimactic if our journey leads us to the middle of nowhere.
Writing the Next Chapter
I don’t know if anyone really cares about posts like this, so if not, consider it more for me than for you. Consider it me honestly reflecting aloud to the five people that care. I’ve enjoyed the first chapter, and I earnestly look forward to the next. If any of the above gave you an awesome new name you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment!