I should begin by pointing out that I am well aware of the irony of this post. It’s a blog post that is designed to apologize for the very blog that it is written on. That said, I would like to share this with you.
It has recently come to my attention through conversations with friends that there may be some misconceptions about me and my blog specifically regarding my use of Facebook. Most of you who have read my blog found out about it, because I posted it on your wall, or sent you a message. I did not aim to keep this a secret, but I sent numerous messages and posted on several walls.
My only aim in doing this was to share what I have seen and written with my friends. If I have shared my blog with you, it is because I care what you think. The excitement of blogging, for me, is the chance to share an idea in its entirety with people, who can then give input.
If you have felt that I have simply tried to promote myself and feel used, I am deeply sorry, and this was never my intention.
My vision for blogging is this: We, every single one of us, have been given so much. When I think about where I am, the education I have, the resources I have access to I must humbly admit that very little of it is the result of “my hard work.” It is all a gift from God. This realization has pushed me to realize that I should try to do as much as possible with what I have been entrusted with. With my blog I simply wanted to create a space where a network of mutually supportive people could emerge.
There is a section on my blog called “People that Inspire Me.” If you click that link you’ll see pictures of people that I find interesting or inspiring for some reason or another. This list is horribly incomplete. The people who truly inspire me are my friends. I think about people like Sam Pullen, who has heard me share my deepest fears and worst failures and continues to believe in me, or Erik Miller and Jeff Cook, people deeply committed to loving God with their minds, Tim Coons who is always stretching creative boundaries, or my Muslim brothers and sisters at the hookah bar I used to work at who share the grace of God with each other so completely, or Pastor Judy, Pastor Jim Harrelson, Pastor Jeff King, and Pastor Rob Bryceson who have graciously let me learn what it means to be a pastor as I interned with them. I think about people like Cathy Kaminski who are gracious enough to say things like, “Ryan, I love you, but you’re being sexist,” or my LGTBQ friends that struggle every day in a culture that does not accept them, my African American brothers and sisters who continue to insist that the world needs serious healing and a new history. I think about Carlos Hughes, who I literally left stranded at an airport, but he continues to be a friend; or Ben Steele and his passion for theology and justice.
This too is an incomplete list. I continue to meet people that challenge and inspire me and dare me to imagine a bigger and more vibrant future than I was previously capable of.
My hope in blogging is to share what they have taught me and to offer a space for you to meet them, if you haven’t already.
As I began my blog I contacted several people who are doing brilliant stuff and they have prepared blog posts for my blog that will be posted in the near future, which I’m extremely excited about!
My deep conviction is that we are all better off together than we are alone. In a world where old patterns of religion are disappearing I believe a more beautiful church is going to and is already emerging. It’s a church that takes seriously the prophetic vision of the Bible. If this is going to happen I believe it will take all of us. All of us sharing our visions, talents, creativity, insight, hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
Blogging is my humble attempt at sharing a bit of what I’ve seen and experienced.
To be honest I want to share my ideas with as many people as possible. When people approached me and pointed out that it is probably inappropriate to promote my blog by posting on everyone’s wall, I was immediately defensive. Defensive, because I’m excited to share my creativity with everyone, but also because there is some ego involved in the process, and I need to confess that.
My hope is that as I journey forward there can be substantive conversation around how to be the best kind of people, and how to freshly imagine art, church, and life in our context. That perhaps with mutually supportive input some revolutionary ideas will be birthed that will catapult a fresh vision for the future and change lives for the better.
I’m tired of seeing the homeless folks that come to my church wallow in despair with few glimpses of hope, I’m tired of my parents and friends working thankless jobs and wondering if there is anything worthwhile in what they have done with their lives. I’m tired of half the world’s children dying from preventable diseases, I’m tired of my own social anxiety, I’m tired of friends thinking suicide is a viable option, I’m tired of feeling trapped in a system that routinely marginalizes people and supports the interests of a few at the expense of many. I’m tired of seeing people deeply wounded by so-called church. I’m tired of seeing local churches with brilliant ministries marginalized because they can’t afford to deliver the shiniest product on Sunday mornings. I’m tired of a world where women don’t feel safe to walk alone. I’m tired of seeing my minority culture friends and women feel like they have to fight to be taken seriously in the middle of an unjust system.
I think all of us can be part of change. No matter who we are, we have the power to start changing things NOW.
I believe in Jesus, and I believe that Jesus believes in us. With a group of 12 of the “least of these” he began a movement that has changed the world. That movement is alive today and needs to be taken seriously. Jesus says unbelievably empowering things like where two or three gather in his name, he’ll be there, and my spirit will be with you wherever you go, and that his followers will see more amazing things than he showed during his ministry on earth.
I’ve seen true forgiveness. I’ve witnessed true hope. I’ve seen true creativity. I’ve seen true love, and I’ve seen true restoration…and I’ve seen it all in my friends.
Thank you for letting me know you and learn from you. Thank you for taking time to read anything I’ve ever written, or having a beer with me, or listening to my crazy ideas. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
If I have offended you by giving you the impression that I wanted to use you for my own benefit, I am deeply sorry.
In the film Billy Madison, there’s a seen where Adam Sandler’s character sees that a kid in his fourth grade class has wet his pants and is ashamed and embarrassed. To fix this situation he throws water on his own pants and points out that wetting your pants is cool.
I think the reason why this scene is so powerful (and humorous) is because we all feel like that. We all have ideas and visions, but we’re afraid to share them, or to be vulnerable, and what Adam Sandler’s character touches on in that scene is what we all hope for, we all hope that we are not alone.
My hope for my life, my ministry, my writing and anything I’m a part of is that it will announce for anyone that comes into contact with it: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
There is a God who deeply loves you.
There is a Church that loves you.
There is a place for you in God’s kingdom.
Self-consciously I write because sometimes I feel like that kids that has wet his pants, and I share what I think because my hope is that despite the feeling of being alone, I will discover that it is not true.
Hopefully any alienation that has occurred because of my blog can be forgiven.
I have the greatest friends in the world.
I’m excited for the future and I hope that you are all a part of it.
Asking for your grace as I journey forward and ask for your help,