Back in the early 1990s a popular quartet of crooners sang, “We’ve come to the end of the road.” For some reason, that swan song rings in my ears as I tell you, my faithful few readers, that my regular blogging has reached its end.
Writing to Think
I began filling up this space with ruminations on all things related to ordinary ministry back in September 2013. The main reason for starting the blog was sheer selfishness—I wanted to write. Not necessarily because I thought I had any peculiar wisdom about praying, preaching, and pastoring. In fact, quite the opposite was true: I was eight months into my first senior pastorate and needed to figure out what I should be doing. I count myself among those who write to know. It’s only when I write that I figure out the logic and look of a particular truth.
And so I wrote. And certain convictions found a home in my ministerial heart.
Now, 649 posts later, I’m putting down the pen. Why?
In Search of a Ph.D. and Permanence
My essential reasoning for stepping away from this here blogosphere is due to requirements at The Institution. If I’m ever going to write a doctoral dissertation, well, I need to start writing one. For some reason—probably due to the exhaustive nature of research writing—I gravitate more towards writing in this space than in those hallowed halls of academia. Excising blog writing means gaining back several hours each week for dissertation writing. My family rejoices at the reception of those hours for, Lord willing, that means a husband and daddy will graduate sooner. And “The M’Cheyne School of Pastoral Ministry” rejoices because someone finally gives them the academic treatment they deserve (assuming, of course, the Lord or my advisor doesn’t change my dissertation topic).
Although it’s the paramount reason, writing about 19th century Scotsmen is not the only reason for this here notification of termination. I’m longing to finish the Ph.D. and direct my writing efforts to matters of permanence.
If I’ve learned anything over the last two-plus years, it’s that blogging is the quintessence of ephemeral writing. Like vapors in the wind do blog posts fly. That’s not to say blog posts have no merit. If Mr. M’Cheyne weren’t ringing at the door each week, I’d be happy to keep up the mutterings and the musings. But, we must admit, blog posts don’t—by their very nature—have the sustaining power of books. So when I speak of permanence I speak of writing more for the printed page.
Writing with [More] Permanent Ink
I have a folder full of book projects, and the first is—you may have guessed already—that lovely dissertation. The second one may surprise you, though: an autobiography. Yes, all you misters and madams, I’m writing an autobiography! And I don’t expect any of you will see it.
A long-offered prayer of mine is that the Lord would exalt His Son in unusually powerful ways through my family. I long for the gates of hell to quake at the mention of a Stone son or daughter rising with the gospel. I want the demons to say, “Jesus I know, and the Stones I recognize” (Acts 19:15). Four years ago I began an autobiography that I hope will not only encourage generations of Stones to “go and do likewise,” but will also show them where they should “go and do otherwise.”
Should the Lord be kind to let me finish the dissertation and catch up on my first thirty-one years of life, I hope to turn then my attention to a few topics and truths burning in my soul. The best writers burn from the truth and for the truth and strive not to burn out in the labor. I don’t want to burn out here and not be able to burn there. So, I tender my resignation.
A Ghost in the House
I imagine I will still haunt this space from time to time. As much as my routine-driven mind would like to tell you how often (like at least one post a month) my ghost will show up, I’ll refrain from any assurance lest I bind my conscience and have to add an addendum to my resignation. The only parting promise I give is that in the next 7–10 days I will offer a post on “Favorite Books of 2015.” Just today I finished book #182 for the year, and I’m eager to let you now which ones might be especially helpful for ordinary pastors.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.