Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Take That And Rewind It Back

I think it’s time to get the band back together. Not that anyone cares, except for the half dozen or so people who are too lazy to delete this blog from their RSS feed after nearly 4 years of silence. But for the first time since June 2006, I think I can finally say, “I’m going to start blogging again.” (I know. Blogging is about as cutting edge as a cassette tape, but then again, I dare to think that a two thousand year old religion is still relevant. Cutting edge isn’t exactly something I care about.)

While I’ll keep the title “They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts” and the christianretail.blogspot.com address for now, I will spend precious little time mocking the kitsch of the American Christian subculture. Much like my own faith journey, I think I am ready to move past mocking where I’m from and journey into a place where I begin to ask serious questions about how my faith impacts my life.

A Little History
I started this blog to document my job at a Christian bookstore. It was funny because I was the cynical kid who hated the kitschy t-shirts and Jesus action figures, but found himself selling the very things he hated. Hilarity ensued.

Like anything founded on the idea of being against something, this blog eventually collapsed under the weight of its own hubris. Or to put it more simply, it’s not very fulfilling to only mock something. This blog reflected my faith at the time. I didn’t know what I stood for, but I knew what I didn’t want to be (the guy who made fun of t-shirts). I didn’t think anyone wanted to watch me figure it out, so I just stopped.

A lot has happened since then. I’ve found my way back home to Indianapolis. I’ve become a father. And I’ve finally embraced orthodoxy. (Well, I should say that I am continually struggling by the grace of God to embrace orthodoxy. It’s not always easy.) I’ve seen God’s grace reform my life, and I think it might be time to try and reform this blog.

That’s Great, But What Are You Doing?
While I’m sure discussions of the Christian subculture will still figure into this space, I think I’m going to focus more on the intersection of my faith with my life. Essentially trying to answer the question, “How should we then live?” I’m sure I’ll deal mostly with issues relevant to my life – fatherhood, living in the city, education (I work in higher ed), and food. There will be plenty of food.

I thought I'd start with Lent, traditionally a time when those who have left the church ready themselves through prayer and fasting to be welcomed back at Easter. I thought that had a certain poetic parallel to my desire to reenter the discussions I started on this blog with new eyes and a new heart.

My pastor in Minneapolis, Christian Ruch, often encouraged me to take on something during Lent (like a spiritual discipline) in addition to or instead of fasting. I'm taking on prayer. In addition to spending more time praying for those in my life, I am going to write a prayer for each day of Lent and post it here. 40 straight days of blogging after four years of silence. We'll see how this goes.

A Note About Prayer
The prayers will be written as if they were to be read aloud to a congregation. The Anglican church has a section of their service called Prayers of the People. When it was my turn to lead the prayers, I would often write my own opening prayer during the service. Whatever I was experiencing - the pain of infertility, mind numbing depression, or sheer joy from the realization of God's saving grace - these things always came through and lent a sense of urgency to the prayer. I hope the same thing will happen over these next 40 days.

Maybe I'll even work in a Chris Rice song, for old times sake.

3 comments:

andy said...

Glad you're back. I'm one of those who hasn't removed you from my RSS reader, but not out of laziness as much as the hope that you'd start blogging again.

Looking forward to seeing what you have to say.

cardiphonia said...

one of the first blogs I started reading. glad you're back!

Andrea said...

Ben,

I was just thinking a couple weeks ago how I miss your prayers of the people, so I'm glad to be able to read them here.

God bless you in your Lenten disciplines! We just had the youth group retreat about spiritual disciplines . . . I pray that this season brings you great joy and revelation!

Andrea