A Living History

A writer and a pastor are, in my mind, two very similar vocations.  As a pastor/writer, I welcome you to my official webpage!  Here's where you will find what I'm thinking and doing so that all you fans out there can oooh and aahhh and take a journey with me as we all try to figure out how to live better.  And that, you'll see, is the whole point of my life, and thus the whole point of my official page.

Now, What is a writer (or pastor)?  Soren Kierkegaard, in his masterpiece, Either/Or, said through a pseudonym, "What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music.... And people flock around the poet and say: 'Sing again soon' - that is, 'May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful."  And Alexis de Tocqueville, in his seminal and very famous, Democracy in America, claimed, "Poetry, in my view, is the search for and depiction of the ideal.  The poet is one who, by suppressing a part of what exists, by adding some imaginary features to the picture and by juxtaposing certain actual events which do not in fact happen at the same time, completes and elaborates the work of nature.  Thus, poetry will not aim at the representation of reality but its adornment, by offering a loftier image to men's minds."  For the most part I agree with both these great writers.  A poet suffers in the reality we live through and cries out for the ideal, the cry of which sounds lovely to others because it seems to complete what the world should be.  And "poet," really, is synonymous with "writer" these days.

My job as a writer is to try and see the ideal and then portray it to you, the reader.  A writer engages the hearts, minds, and souls of an audience to challenge, encourage, and provoke people into reflection in the hopes of creating a better world--planting thoughts and attitudes in "the garden of your mind," as Mr. Rogers would say. By doing so the hope is that all of us will be able to live more deeply into the ideal life: for many of us that means a closer, more meaningful walk with God; for others it means a more reflective, intentional life, but without any type of a god included.  Whether we believe in God or not, there is an “ideal life” out there waiting for you.  My great suffering, in Kierkegaard’s words, is that you and I are not living into that ideal life, and because of that we are all missing out on a whole lot of joy, peace, and success. 

South Africa
So this blog is, hopefully, designed to provoke you into thoughtfulness that leads to our ultimate hope and joy. 

As such, this website/blog is dedicated to the journey of life.  I am writing to live—to live better, more deeply, more joyfully.  I am writing so that you might live—live better, more deeply, more joyfully.  You see this picture of my kneeling next to a baboon?  This was taken in South Africa while a van of my colleagues were yelling at me and a friend to get back in the van.  But I said, “Hey, this would be a fun experience that I’ll never forget.”  That’s one example of how we have to approach our life journey: to right now start living more adventurously.  By adventurously I mean more intentionally, more ideally.  We set our dreams and hopes, or what we believe in, and then live our entire lives formed around what we believe, dream, and hope.  Many people may think we’re being outrageous or crazy, that we’re not living by the wisdom of the world if we do that, but we’ll know that we’re living a better life. 

Essentially my life, and thus my writing, is dedicated to helping all of us live.  That’s why the URL of this website is writinglive.com.  I live by being who I am, and who I am is a writer and a pastor.  Who are you?  Are you alive?  I am writing so that we may live, and living happens every moment of every day by forming an identity and living into that identity. 

Please do comment and ask questions.  Your comments and questions could very well find themselves written into my work.

One last thing.  I want to explain why the website is designed the way it is.  I’m particularly proud of the design, especially because it was done by my friend, the artist Alexandra Sherman.  Here’s what she has to say about it: "I think it looks clean and sophisticated - befitting of a serious writer such as yourself. I was going for a fountain pen look with the title. I have one of your letters here and that font looks similar to your handwriting. The slightly blue color reminds me of fountain pen ink, which is of course a writers tool. For the overall text I chose Courier, which looks like a typewriter, which I am well aware of your penchant for typewriters. The paper in the background represents the amount of paper a writer discards while trying to create the perfect piece (in short, the hard work and struggle that writing requires at those times the muse is not present.)"

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