Keeping my own promises

It’s been a month since I said I was back. That is amazing reliable blogging, no?

There’s a long list of serious reasons. I won’t go into most of them. I wasn’t sure I’d come back to blogging at all; I won’t bore you with  all my reasoning for attempting to start again.

But there are three things I want to say, for anyone who might still be reading:

1. A huge sin problem in my life is pride. One aspect of this is the temptation to live well in the applause of others — to draw my identity and my sustenance not from the gospel but from its opposite; not from God’s glory lighting up my face, but from my own glory, reflected in the esteem of others. This sin goes to the root of The Fall, and has been the occasion for mighty falling in my own life. I have lived it out in preaching and pastoring and leading — and I found this blog an unexpectedly powerful furtherance of that temptation.

A blog goes worldwide in a short time. It’s a rocket-blast of people reading, and thinking about, your thoughts. Intelligent interaction on a global scale, and it’s your writing that has caused it. I got a few responses from people that disagreed with me, but an over-whelming response from people saying, “Good work! Well said! Right ya’ are! We need more of this!”

Those of you that pastor; you have people that complain about you, and people that applaud you. Have you ever noticed how ready you are to classify them as those that “don’t get it” and those who “do”? The people cheering you on are especially perceptive, aren’t they? Reliable and godly, salt-of-the-earth types. They must be, because they like you.

Take that foolishness and apply a measurable scale to it, that you can check daily. Watch your blog stats climb. You can actually look at a line-graph of readers’ perception of your greatness! And, with a young blog, that line graph is almost always climbing! See how often others refer to your words and help build your esteem! Finally, the globe is waking up to my significance! At last, the dream is alive!

And of course it’s only ego that’s alive. A sluggish idol has been revitalized. A run-down pagan temple is getting a spruce-up.

And the poison is seeping into the soul once again.

I’ve been in that prison-house of a temple before. I’ve felt its destruction; I’ve visited that destruction upon others. I’ve drunk the poison deeply, and then vomited it up on those who loved me.

I don’t want to do that again. Not ever.  This blog started alarm bells ringing. I didn’t want to come back to it until I had some accountability mechanisms in place, some clear thinking, some strong gospel reminders ready to ring and keep ringing whenever I looked at the blog.

2. Back in August, Justin Buzzard posted “7 Reasons you may want to stop reading my blog.” It was a great list, although I didn’t stop — if I only read a few blogs in a day, his is always one of them. But that kind of thinking has always made me wonder if my blog is really worth the time and mind-space that it costs me, and costs you.  More, I want to “restrain the rant” — when ranting is the most popular form of blogging (and is often totally warranted).  Blogging is an expensive enterprise (I refer, mostly, to time spent); is it a worthwhile investment for me?  I wonder.

And blogging implies some sort of responsibility to the reader; if you’re going to check my blog every so often, I should probably put something up on it.  Of course, there’s no such contract, and no sin in disappointing the reader — but how often do you read, “Sorry I haven’t posted more”?  It’s easy, especially for the people-pleasing prideful like me, to feel the guilt.  Especially in a blog about “Promises Kept.”
So I wonder some more.  Is it worth it?

3.  But that’s the last thing:  if, by God’s grace, I can be disciplined, accountable, and above all gospel-focused in blogging, it’s good for me.  I’ve seen the value in blogs, in my own heart, and in the souls of others.  It’s good for me to keep at my journal, to examine my inward life, to think about implications of what I read and hear.  It’s good for me to talk about heart-motives and the promises of Jesus Christ, always and every day.  It’s good for me to have a blog that drives me to be Christ-centered and gospel-rejoicing and promise-saturated, every day.  So this blog is mostly good for me, and so I’ll continue.

You’ll have to decide if it’s any good to you.

And congratulations for reading this far, and holding on this long waiting for the writing to come back.  Thank you.

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4 Comments on “Keeping my own promises”

  1. M.E. Says:

    While trying to not feed that which may prove a stumbling block for you, let me say this. If a Christian blogger hasn’t run into this problem yet, they will. Fundamentally, the reason to have a public diary/blog is so others will read and possibly comment on it, whatever our otherwise noble intentions. It’s particularly tempting to feel the need to constantly come up with something cool and revelant so people will keep reading. Perhaps that’s what Brant has come up against over on “Camp Krusty” and why he’s decided to take a break. I was once a part of an online story writing cooperative and finally the pressure to come up with something, let alone something I thought good enough to publish eventually killed any pleasure I had in it. Living up to my “writing reputation” was a blade that just kept whittling away my joy until none was left.

    I was once acquainted with someone who wrote and posted interesting poetry on Xanga, but his fan club went to his head. No matter how dark (and evil) the subject matter, they fawned over him like he was the second coming until I could no longer stand it. Not that I had the guts to say I thought what “C” wrote seemed like it was coming from the gates of Hell, mind you, I finally just quit reading. If you’ve never been particularly popular or cool, blogging or having your own messageboard can become an ego trip/trap, no matter who you are.

    Anyway, stay humble or the devil’s gonna get ya! 😉

  2. promiseskept Says:

    Thanks, M.E. I figured ego would be a blogging temptation; guess what I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer punch it wielded, in my case. Thanks for the fellowship in this.

    BTW, I miss Brant’s blogging too.

  3. I totally understand where you are coming from. We all have stumbling blocks. Humility is one of mine, and impatience with others when they cannot do a simple job is another. Neither am I proud of. For me- I remind myself that the blog is just a fun kind of journaling, and I try to keep it in perspective. Sometimes I write silly stuff, sometimes I write stuff concerning my thoughts on the things I should be studying in the Bible, and sometimes, I wax philosophical. It was my intention to keep it so. I enjoy the responses, and hope for some critical guidence or even debate. I also enjoy the intellectual stimulation of it. I have fun reading others blogs- for its interesting to read others ideas concerning different things. 🙂

    I just found Brants Blog- and I enjoy his posts. They are very thought provoking. Hopefully in time he will return to it.

    Anyway- I am not person to tell you to stay humble or anything else- as I said, I have alot to work on, on my own. It is nice however to commiserate with someone else- who also is working upon themselves.

    Lux Perpetua-
    Wolfgang Amadeus

    [Tom’s response: Thanks, Wolfgang. Yep, it’s a work in progress; praise God for the transforming power and hope that he gives. I’ve read some of your comments over at Krusty, and enjoyed them. Keep up the good work, and thanks again.]

  4. Hi Tom!
    Thanks for your coments. Guess we all are a work in progress of some sort.

    One thing I want to share with you is that, as a teacher, a conductor, a director, and a performer, I have learned much from those whom I have taught.

    A Blog- is a good tool for sharing the Word- teaching the Word, we can all gain from it-because as thinking beings, we gain enlightenment as we share it.

    Who knows, maybe your Blog might encourage a hard Athiest to come forward and seek teaching and become Christian- or perhaps, bring a weak Christian forward so that they can become stronger.

    Don’t give up posting.


    Pax Christie

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