Wednesday 5 November 2008

I blog therefore I am? Thoughts on two months of cyber-silence

Two months have passed since my fingers last pressed the keys on this blog. Two months of absolute silence. Two months of total abstinence from LiveWriter and, equally as telling, from a daily fix of Google Reader. Two months in which I have withdrawn from the blogosphere and become a cyber-hermit, like a celtic monk alone on a wild, rocky islet, in sight of the distant shore yet profoundly disconnected from it by the ebb and flow of wild tides too rough to brave. Strangely enough over the last two months this blog has seen quite a bit of traffic too. Like a seagull gliding lazily on the on-shore breeze the thought crosses my mind that maybe I should shut up more often.

So why the silence? Why my hermit like existence cut off from the mainland? Simple: because of intense stress and pressure in my work life, the well dried up. For reasons I won't elaborate I was angry, tired, fed-up, pissed-off and not in a good place spiritually. All of this rubble blocked the wellspring. So I decided not to beat myself up about it, but to simply accept that this is how it is, and to retreat and wait for the wellspring to bubble up again. Two months on it has. The hands of those who care have helped me to remove the rubble. I want to return, am ready to return to this blog. But things are different now. Becoming a cyber-hermit has restored a sense of perspective and has allowed other things to click into focus. Why not try it for yourself? If you do not blog the world will carry on without you, and you will carry on too. I blog therefore I am? Maybe that is the hidden attraction / addiction of blogging, a reason perhaps why it is so prevalent? I think that I glimpse afresh why the Celtic saints in particular sought solitude so frequently. It is where we meet God, with nowhere to hide. Withdrawing from demands, we make space to be mindful of the Holy Presence at the heart of everything. When my creative well dried up, when becoming a cyber-hermit became a forced necessity and I left the blogosphere for that rocky islet, God met me afresh. I am because God is. And in that enchanting knowledge I have swum eagerly back to shore and this blog.

So today I put my feet on the mainland again, fire up Google Reader and look around. A cursory glance is all that is required to take in the familiar landmarks in my blog-roll landscape and to feel reassured. You are all still there.  Yet everything has changed. Two months ago the phrase 'Global Financial Meltdown' was yet to be pasted into the banner headline reality of our daily activity. Two months ago Capitalism seemed unassailable. Two months ago Barack Obama was a presidential candidate.

Today the world is a very different place. As I breathe deeply and feel the cold, wet embrace of sand between my toes the storm-force potential for an epic Paradigm Shift has made landfall and assails my senses like the pungency of ozone, the sharp tang of salt-spray, the buffeting of wind and the roar of the breakers crashing in on the beach. I just stand and marvel at the scale of it, and am awe-struck at the sheer colossal force of history in the making.

And we must make it. All of us. Now is the moment to seize the day and rise up for what we believe to be our energizing truth about God's radical love for this hurting world. Now is the moment for us to be good news for the poor and freedom for the oppressed. Now is the moment for us to break out of the church and bring the Kingdom of God into plain view, up close and personal. The so-called financial 'Masters of the Universe' must not be allowed to resume their wickedly indulgent, exclusive and self-serving greed fest. The moral bankruptcy of their free-market capitalism is no longer in contention: it is henceforth a demonstrable given, written in agony on the faces of the poor and (dis)(re)possessed worldwide and paid for with our taxes. The rise of the Emergent movement and the world-facing missional rediscovery of the kingdom teaching of Jesus, right across the globe,  means that God has been preparing us in advance to meet the challenge of these days. People worldwide have been discovering afresh what the truth of a Christian vocation looks like. Real engaged discipleship, down to earth in our communities, is a New testament fact of the Jesus Movement that is being re-written in front of our very eyes. The ink of the Holy Spirit is free-flowing and wet on the pages of contemporary life; if we will but get out of our churches and look for it we will soon see this holy text being written in the lives of the struggling, sad and hurting in our midst.


  1. I too am glad that you are back, and that you have been cared for and feel refreshed and renewed.

    This is a challenging post, and your last sentence is both beautiful and thought provoking.

    I was asked to sum up the calling of the church today, this is what I came up with:

    "The call to the church today is to hear, see an follow the signs of the Holy Spirit at work, and to interpret those signs, be they within or without the traditional structures."

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on that.

  2. Thanks for this post.

    And yes it is great to have you back in the blogosphere.

  3. Good to have you back in cyber space.

    Thoughtful post thanks.

    Graham (recovering from my own melt-down)

  4. Thanks to Duncan, Sally, Paul and Graham for your encouraging comments.
    Sally, I agree wholeheartedly with your take on the calling of the church as being to discern where and with whom God is at work and to put ourselves alongside in radical discipleship. I guess the 'missional reformation' that we are living through is a spirit-driven challenge to the church to put ourselves where Jesus is to be found and to reconnect with our charisms as a movement.
    love and peace,