Like many of you, I get particularly reflective at the dawn of a new year. It’s really just a date on the calendar, nothing particularly spiritually significant about it from my perspective, but it is a time to take inventory, in a manner of speaking–to take a breath and get ready to go again.
This past year was a mixed bag for me, personally. Moving to New York City was a very exciting development, and I’ve experienced more awesome stuff in the past 10 months than I did in the previous 10 years or more. But it’s also been difficult, a lot of ups and downs and grappling and struggling. Trying to “make it” in NYC is tough for anyone, but for a guy pushing 50 to start a whole new life and career here…’nuff said. Watching the developments in the world around me during this year has also taken a huge toll on me emotionally. Perhaps one of the reasons why I’m not attaching any huge personal significance to the change in the calendar year is that I’m still working stuff out. A huge life shift began in 2016, but it’s still ongoing; the change isn’t complete. I’m still pushing for breakthrough. However, when I do break through, I believe I’m going to look back at 2016 as one of the most significant years of my lifetime, just simply because of the magnitude of the shift that began for me this year.
As tot he rest, 2016 was a tumultuous year for many of us, and particularly for the nation and the world. Many are expressing hope that 2017 will be better. I, too, express hope, but I’m also aware of what’s at stake. And because I don’t attach any spiritual significance to the changing of our man-made calendar year, I also don’t have any expectations that the changing of the calendar will bring better “luck” our way. I think much of what we’ve dealt with in 2016 has been the consequences of long-standing habits and attitudes, both in the world and in the church. I won’t go into it just now, but we just elected a man to the office of President that is about as ill-prepared, uneven-tempered and unpredictable as they come–and therefore, quite possibly the most dangerous. I believe this has been coming for a long time, and it will either serve as a major wake-up call or the beginning of a very rough road–possibly both.
In other words, in 2016 we reaped a harvest from a lot of seeds that should not have been sown. Changing the calendar date won’t change that harvest; in fact, we’re just seeing the first fruits now.
That’s not to say there’s no hope. There’s always hope. But we can’t rely on the dawn of 2017 to magically create change. If we want a better harvest, we must sow better seeds. If we want things to change for the better, WE have to change some things. If there’s anything in my soul that resembles a New Year’s resolution…it would be that I am resolved to be part of that change.
The turn of the year also represents a milestone for this here blog: nine years, to be exact. My first post was December 30, 2007. For the past several years, however, after my initial processing of my alienation and eventual separation from the institutional church, I found myself writing here less and less until the blog was nearly dormant. I’ve continued to post, but only sporadically. And looking back at 2016, I think a lot of what I posted turned out to be political, not because I like using the blog for that purpose, but because of what has been at stake for our nation. With the election of Donald J. Trump, these issues are still very much at the forefront of my mind. In fact, I’ve been working for nearly two months on a draft that I have never posted, simply because the thoughts have come so fast and furious that I didn’t want to blow anyone out of the water. 🙂
However, I do have some things to say in the upcoming weeks–not for the purpose of waxing political, but to put this election cycle in the context of what has been exposed this year in the evangelical church, and what it means for us going forward. That is very much in line with what this blog has always been about, and it’s one way in which I feel I can be part of the change that must now happen. And so, in the beginning of 2017 and until I feel I’ve “said my piece,” you can expect to see this blog revived for awhile.
For the time being, let me say succinctly that if you as a Christian supported Donald Trump and believe he is God’s choice, I think you’re in for a rude awakening. If you were like me and saw through Donald Trump and could not support him, I think you’ll agree with me that there are some rough times ahead–but there is still hope as we watch, pray and look for ways to model the change we need to see.
This is a very significant and revealing time for the church, and there are lots of thoughts to process in the coming days. I hope you will join me.