I've been a Lutheran my whole life, even though there were some years where I never actually went to church. My family was the type of family who went to church even on vacation; I don't remember ever spending a Sunday at home. When you grow up in that kind of family, that spirituality has settled deep.
As an adolescent, I whined about going to church. I delighted in pointing out every hypocrisy that I saw. My patient parents were willing to discuss/debate/argue for hours, but we went to church regardless.
I always declared that when I was old enough to make my own decisions, I wasn't going to church, which is exactly what I intended to do. Still, in undergraduate and graduate school, I was involved in Lutheran campus ministry. In many ways, that ruined me further for church as most adults experience it. I wanted more than a church where I just popped in for an hour every Sunday morning to get my commitment done. I longed for the community I felt in my childhood churches and in campus ministry. I wanted shared meals and deep discussions and the occasional fellowship just for fun. I wanted an outlet for my social justice aching.
In my mid-30's I returned to church for a whole host of reasons, which I won't go into here. It's not my theology blog, after all. But it is my creativity blog, where one of my many topics is my writing life. And my writing life has taken some surprising turns over the past few months. Again, Facebook figures into this narrative. When I signed up, I expected to connect with old friends. I didn't expect writing opportunities to come my way.
In late July, one of my Facebook friends wrote to ask if I'd be an official blogger on a site that the national Lutheran church (the ELCA) was putting together. I first said to myself, "This must be a mistake. I haven't been to seminary. My uncle once accused me of turning my cousins against the church. I'm not worthy."
Once I worked through all my weird emotions, I wrote back to accept the offer. I wrote one blog entry, but the site wasn't up, so I didn't announce the fact that I'd been chosen as an ELCA blogger. I wrote the second blog post, but the site still wasn't up. I began to wonder if it would happen. I didn't regret writing the blog postings; after all, if the Church didn't use them, I'd just post them on my own blogs.
Yesterday, I got the news that the blog part of the site is up and running at http://www.livinglutheran.com/. If you go to the site it looks like we've all been posting since August.
I've written two posts. My first assignment was to write about Lutheran spirituality and what it means to be Lutheran. It's posted here. I decided to focus on the Lutheran concept of grace, which I think sets us apart throughout Protestantism--and in some ways, gives us more with which to wrestle. Why be good if God will forgive/love us anyway? You can read the whole text wherein I talk about the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard: "But what if we changed the metaphor? What if instead of laboring in a vineyard, we talked about people at a party? The people who get there early get the freshest food and their choice of drinks. They get to enjoy the party for more hours than the people who stagger in late."
My second assignment was to write about vocation, so in this post, I focused on my childhood love of heroes like Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman and with feeling like I'm not living up to my full potential: "Many of us feel that some jobs are more spiritual than others. I used to think that monks and pastors enjoy more spiritually important jobs. But now I realize that we all have the same task. For many people who will never darken the door of a church, the only face of Christ they will see will be the face of Christians out in the world."
Now that the site is operational, I'll even be paid for these posts. What an amazing thing. I started blogging mainly because I fell in love with a variety of blogs, and I thought, I want to do this too. I've read a variety of blog postings through the years which talked about ways to monetize one's blog, but I've never been interested in that. Early on, I installed a sitemeter because I wanted to know who was reading, but that interest only lasted a few months. I'd blog now, even if no one read these postings.
But I can't deny the power of these new media outlets. I've gotten more than one writing opportunity from my Facebook connections. I've bought most of my poetry books in the last year because bloggers recommended them or because I like the blogger and assume I'll like their other writing too.
This has been the week of much good writing news, but this post has gotten long, so I'll save my other good news for later. In my creative life, I've been intrigued by how often good news comes in clumps. Week after week of rejections, and then suddenly, I get several acceptances in one week. Blog post after blog post that inspires no reaction, and suddenly there's the blog post that gets lots of comments. Even during my writing, I've noticed that I have a time where I write lots of poems and have lots of ideas, punctuated by times when I can't seem to get anything from idea to finished poem.
It's the knowledge of these cycles that keeps me going during the times when I'm in the slump part of that cycle. Right now I'm in a non-slump time. Strange to think how much has changed just since Monday morning. More on that later.
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