Today I launch my blog, another voice in the cacophony of the blogosphere. I do so with realistic expectations. My circle of readers will always be small – for some posts maybe even nil. I do not aspire to build a following or start a movement. The explanation goes back to my birthday. This summer my wife honored my 39 years of life with the book Blogging For Dummies. She was trying to send me a message, which I hope was more weighted on the side of “You should be blogging” than “You are a dummy.”
But actually the explanation goes back further than that. Because for months Sue and I have been talking about what God wants for me. My job for the last six years has been as a retail manager. I manage a large convenience store (think 24 pumps, 15 cooler doors, and a full service deli and brick oven pizza shop). For the most part I enjoy the work, but it does not give me deep satisfaction. There is the sense that God has something more for me.
What I have realized is that what gives me the deepest satisfaction is preaching and teaching the Bible in a way that makes it come alive. I love captivating people with the richness and relevance of Scripture. Before working in retail I was a pastor for seven years. And while that was closer to hitting the mark of being satisfying, there was enough about it that I didn’t enjoy that the thought of returning to the pastorate has not been compelling.
Lately I have been contemplating the prospect of doing what I love without the baggage of all the stuff I didn’t. To preach and teach without having to chair committees, plan services, lead worship, find Sunday School teachers, counsel parishioners, do hospital visitation, oversee the budget, follow up on absentees, and on and on. None of those things are bad, but I found none of them enjoyable.
Maybe a distinction should be made between my occupation and my vocation. My occupation is my job, Convenience Store Supervisor for Delta Sonic in North Syracuse, NY. It pays the bills and provides for benefits. It offers some security that each week there will be a steady flow of income. All in all, it’s a good job. But my vocation (in the truest sense of the word) is my calling. And I think God has called me to preach and teach. With occupation securely in place, I can pursue my calling, my vocation, with freedom. I don’t have to worry about whether it is lucrative or sustainable. I’m not bound by the shackles of having to support my family with it. If God sees fit, this could some day grow to become my occupation, but until then, I can pursue it as a hobby – one that provides deep satisfaction in my life.
So I am taking steps to make this a reality. I’m starting to teach some and looking for opportunities to preach. I’ve also started to write more. For me, writing is just another avenue for teaching. I write about the intersection of God’s Word and real life. I realize that publication can be a means of gaining credibility and may open more doors for preaching and teaching, so I have begun sending out proposals to various magazines and journals. Most recently, Weavings Journal accepted an article I wrote about fear and will publish it in the May/June/July 2012 issue. All this is part of the process of pursuing my vocation while still gainfully employed by Delta Sonic.
So the blog fits into this vision as a greenhouse of sorts – a place to put some seed thoughts down, ideas that could someday be the basis of a message or article. This is what God is teaching me, in the raw. Just the process of writing things down is a discipline that helps crystallize an idea. This, even if no one ever reads the blog. But this is also a place where I can put ideas out for some initial reaction. These are thoughts that will be in need of polishing. I welcome any readers to rub a little and help bring out the shine.