My wife is trying to persuade me to start writing blogs. “Writers write blogs,” she says,” so start doing what writers do”. But am I really a writer? I’m a retired pastor. I do admit that I have always enjoyed crafting and writing sermons. But surely people don’t want sermons as blogs.
My grade 12 English teacher saw no hope at all in my writing ability. I thought I had written a cute, creative piece. It came back covered in red. Likewise my first essay in college. I must have been sleeping through all the classes where I was supposed to learn the rules of grammar and good English. And yet there has been an urge within me to write, to express myself in words, to find a way to push myself to try to articulate feelings and ideas and faith.
Last week I was asked to preach the sermon at our church. My first impulse was to go to my file of old Advent sermons. I have some dozens of them – over 50 years worth. So much easer to select and repeat. I couldn’t do it. I realized again that I love the writing – the wrestling with a text and a context, finding words and stories and images and emotional tones that might connect with a particular worshipping community. That is exhausting work, but also deeply satisfying.
I thought, when I retired from pastoral ministry, that my serious writing days were over. There was a sense of relief that I no longer needed to face the rather daunting task of writing sermons to meet Sunday morning deadlines - no matter that in the long run this had energized me. Now I could put my brain into neutral and just relax, and - do what?
'Tis my wife who reminded me that I have always enjoyed writing – she claims I am even rather good at it – and that I have considerable experience and insights into pastoral ministry and about what makes for a healthy relationship between pastor and congregation. These might even be worth writing about. “Why don’t you write another book”? If writing a sermon is always daunting, writing a book is just crazy daunting.
My emotions forcefully resisted the idea of starting another writing project. “Retirement is for relaxing – and doing nothing”. So, I relax and do nothing – and can’t stop thinking of scattered ideas that I might want to write about. Eventually I plunge into it, and a book eventually emerges. It even gets published.
And now my wife is encouraging me to start writing a blog. And I resist. And yet. . .?