"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
May 3, 2007

A Good Question

A few days back I received an email asking a question that I’ve had a few times abut this blog – why don’t I write more often and more openly about my everyday faith, experiences of church and of being a “missional” Christian. That’s a very good question! Part of the answer comes from my […]

A few days back I received an email asking a question that I’ve had a few times abut this blog – why don’t I write more often and more openly about my everyday faith, experiences of church and of being a “missional” Christian.

That’s a very good question!

Part of the answer comes from my background. I started my first website whilst working as a youth pastor and studying at theological college. That context was (and to a large extent still is) antithetical towards revealing too much of yourself online. In those years I kept my websites quite impersonal; focusing on links to other pages and information about Christian Philosophy.

When I tried blogging in 2001, it was part of an active process of evaluating and rejecting that earlier context. Those first attempts at blogging were very personal and quotidian. I recall describing the blog to a friend as a “sort of notepad.”

By the time 2003 came around, I was living in India and facing a very different set of challenges. It’s not always easy (and sometimes not wise) to make some kinds of comments about faith in open media there. Moreover, a lot of people are, understandably cautious about how they talk about their faith and the things their faith inspires them to do.

But also, those years marked a profound time of change for me as the institutional and programmatic church became an ever smaller part of my faith and spirituality. On a number of occasions I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a podcast, as a way to allow some of the amazing people I’ve met to speak about their work and faith in their own words. But, as for me, so much of what it means to be missional in my life is very small stuff – everyday interactions with people, making smalls-scale choices, trying to learn to be an agent of grace, peace and hope in difficult times (something I’m mostly rubbish at).

Herein lies the challenge I’ve faced for this blog and maybe this holds for other believers with a similar orientation who are on the “edges” of the church. How do you write about your everyday interactions, the faith-based decisions you make about the small things in life, without becoming very narcissistic and self-focussed?

Maybe, by deciding to not write a confessional, “yesterday I got upset with the postman, but today I did a good thing for the gardener” type blog, I’ve robbed this site of some level of value for certain readers. As I look back over this blog’s history, it feels like I’ve revealed a lot of my struggles – but maybe not enough. It’s a hard call to make.

Responses
grace 16 years ago

Fernando,
I really appreciate this post. The content of the everyday missional life doesn’t necessarily blog well. I think that is why a lot of the posting about it seems more abstract and theoretical, even from those attempting to live it out. Missional living is a value that first changes our thinking before it affects our lifestyles. For some of us, the change in thinking is a huge undertaking in itself and of course much easier to write about. However, it is nice to run across blogs of others which inspire our activity toward missional living. Your description of the everyday stuff was encouraging to me. Thanks!

Paul 16 years ago

the poor postman, did he knock twice??? 😉

For what it’s worth i agree with grace, i appreciate your blog, it is different, it makes me think in a wider perspective than just my own context and blogging style. I think we need different bloggers with different styles of self revelation and therefore content – not least to find out that sometimes the gardener gets it in the neck whilst the postie gets a bonus 🙂

brodie 16 years ago

Fernando – Like Grace and Paul above I appreciate what you do with your blog. For my one of the difficulties in telling stories of what I do each day etc., is that it would be hard to do this without mentioning those I interact with. For me there are ethical issues here about me making public things that the other participants were not aware that I might blog about.

There are also things that it just would not be wise to share about on-line, not becuase I don’t want to open, honest and vulnerable, but becuase posting about certain struggles or issues could be hurtful and damaging to others.

Peace.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Grace thanks for your comment and for supporting the insight that some aspects of missional living don’t blog all that well.

But, I did find myself wondeirng about one of your comments. For me, the missional thing didn’t start as an idea that changed my behaviour – rather, it started from a realisation that my actions didn’t agree with my ideas. I either had to change my ideas or change my “lifestyle.”

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Hey Paul – thanks for the words and the good humour. With the postman example, I was remembering some experiences in India that really found out the limits of my commitment to peace-making.

But, I am very glad to hear the blog is thought-provoking.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Brodie – that’s exactly on my wavelength. There’s a swag of ethical issues here that I’ve never been able to hurdle.

grace 16 years ago

Hey Fernando,
For me, I first had to realize that as a believer my life should consist of something more than serving at church, thus my comment that my thinking changed first. At that point, my actions then no longer matched my thinking and it became necessary to change my actions. That’s just how it was for me. I didn’t have a missional clue for many years as a believer.

I hope that makes sense. I quit caffeine this week and seem to be having a little trouble communicating. 😉

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Grace that makes perfect sense – thanks for putting it that way.

lynn 16 years ago

Working alongside someone who commented here ::::smile::::::::: I agree with all that has been written about choosing your subjects carefully and watching the detail with which you blog. My blog is hopefully not narcissistic but it does offer some reflections on being a working mum and a working mum working with (other people’s) children.

I find that really frustrating sometimes (like just now) but often that signals a time where I need to vent off before God (how I love the film The Apostle for that very reason) and not give it out on a blog………..

lynn 16 years ago

NB any comments about feeling frustrated are at my own life and not at Fernando’s blog 🙂

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Lynn, it’s interesting that you say that, because I find blogging most frustrating when it does mesh easily with what I happen to be doing. Often it’s a sign that I’m drifting from what I’m meant to be doing on this earth.

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