"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" (James 1:19)
It has been over two weeks since I have placed a post on this blog. Many of you know that's a pretty long time for me! I typically post something on the blog at least once a week, and I prefer to post something about every three or four days, if I can. I've got to tell you, I'm going through quite a time of deep soul-searching. I have considering stopping this blog all together- even considering deleting some or all of the posts. A lot of the "whys" of what I'm saying here are quite private- but I am struggling with the fact that I am a very, very emotional person and I can be a very, very impulsive person. Some have counseled me that at times I'm really "out there": way too open and way too candid. Let's face it; if you think of the famous "Emperor's New Clothes" story (which I think was written by Hans Christian Andersen) I would be they guy to say "You don't have any clothes on!" There wouldn't have needed to be a little boy to say that! I can be very blunt. During my years of pastoring, I found that very few people were neutral about my style, personality, and ways. Some found me very refreshing and absolutely loved the way I am; but many found me inappropriate, insensitive, self-absorbed and offensive. That's also true of my writings which include this blog.
My posts on the blog actually only get an average of 1, 2 or 3 comments apiece, and many get none. But I DO get comments e-mailed to me and spoken to me. As with my pastoring days, some are very, very positive, encouraging, and even exhilarating. But many are very negative and stress the danger and damage of, well, my inappropriateness, insensitivity, self-absorbtion and (in the opinion of some) foolishness. From my earliest days, I have "marched to the beat of a different drummer". I used to describe myself as "eccentric" but even that definition was viewed as very unwise by some so I toned that down to "unconventional". Now, if I had all of these characteristics that I have and yet had been used of God to lead and build a "decent sized" and relatively successful church, I guess I could say to people, "Well, look, there's a lot of merit in being the way I am!" Instead, the past few years of loss and embarrassment admittedly have caused me to do a lot of questioning about what I guess could be called "the way I am".
Things in my private life have come to a point in the past couple of weeks such that I've STOPPED, prayed, and reflected about this "stuff". I used to put out an informal personal "newsletter" to around twenty or so people every week. A couple of weeks ago, I did not put it out. Last week I DID, but saying I may not write any more of my newsletters and that if I do, it may only be a few times a year. I also have done a lot less on Facebook and a lot less e-mailing than I usually do. The ultimate decisions of what I will do about all of these matters has not been fully decided. I will say that it's likely I will post less often on the blog than I used to. At this point I don't think I want to stop it totally, but I do think I want each piece to be something important, edifying and meaningful and not something I'd be ashamed of later on.
I started "The Blog of Bob Baril" as an AOL Journal in early 2006. I was committed to treat it just as I would if I wrote a newspaper column. I posted three times a week. If I posted more often, I'd mark the post "Extra Entry". Only about a third of my posts in the first couple of years were "spiritual" or "religious" in nature. Most were secular, a few were political, and many were light-hearted. I got a lot of feedback in private that as a pastor I should be writing more pieces that were "Christian" in nature, so it has gotten to the point that probably 70% of my posts from the last five years could be described that way. AOL discontinued their Journals feature in late 2008; at that time, I switched the blog to Google/Blogger. We got a new computer in 2008 and around that time I had a problem posting properly. There are a number of posts from 2008 in which the font is WAY TOO BIG and very difficult to read. Somehow, this got straightened out by 2009, but there are still a number of posts from '08 that are too big and difficult to read.
Anyway, that's what is going on. I've also been working more hours per week in the past few weeks than I usually do, and that's given me less time on line than I had before. (Incidentally, I have not had a computer at home since March 2010 and I do not own a smart phone so every time I post it's at a library or on someone else's computer.) So, for what it's worth, that's what has been going on!
When Did We?
1 day ago