Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What’s in a name- the beginnings of my blog

There is much in a name. Especially in the age of social networking, a lot of thought is poured into profile names, twitter accounts, web addresses, and even blogs. As I begin my new adventures in the wide world of blogging, I mulled over the ever important question, what should be my blog name. I thought of a few rather quickly, yet they were vetoed for a number of reasons and by a few select people…probably for the best:
One of my favorite theologians is Karl Barth, the mid-twentieth century Swiss Reformer. Some would say he is the greatest theologian since John Calvin (I would agree). I could go on and on about how much the dialectic theologian has influenced my life, but then you may never read this blog again. Nonetheless, he mentions in the opening of his Church Dogmatics that God can speak through endless mediums, be it communism, flute concierto, blossoming shrubbery, and a dead dog- we do well to listen should God do so. I figured that would make for a great title, but then I peered into the eyes of my two beagles and realized that it would just be wrong…I am still holding out for the opportunity to name a dog Karl Bark.
This one was also intriguing. Job 2:8 illustrates the blameless Job as settling atop a heap of garbage, possibly what is left of his possessions after the satan takes all that he has in attempt to lure him from obedience. Job’s wife and friends join him and begin a lengthy and poetic dialogue about how to make sense of life, faith, and their theological convictions. Job refuses to settle for their cheap systems and religious clichés and instead pursues raw, honest, and offensive dialogue with God. Maybe this is where real theology, real reflection, real interaction with God takes place…on the top of a trash heap in the wake of intense suffering and pain. But that just seemed to pessimistic…
This was my favorite. I will admit, if I was not a youth pastor of a large youth ministry, within a large congregation, and in the beginnings of discerning a call to ordained ministry, I would have gone with this one. Numbers 22:28 is a climactic moment in a great biblical story where God opens the mouth of a pagan prophet’s donkey (ass) in order to deter him from cursing the Israelites, God’s people. Surely, if God can speak through Balaam’s ass, then maybe God can speak through and use even me. But then I thought…that may not be the wisest move and could be misleading.

So here I am, writing now the first entry of Unfinished. Why Unfinished? It was two years ago that I was asked to describe myself with a few adjectives to the Committee on Preparation for Ministry in the PCUSA. This was the one that first came to mind…and it still rings true. As I begin to wrestle through life, faith, and (my) Christian experience, I do so knowing that I am unfinished. I have not, nor will I ever arrive at completion until that final day. So I invite you to walk with me, push me, critique me, and form me- even as I seek to become more and more like the One who claimed me as his own…

Grace and Peace