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I'm discovering that it is dangerous for pastors to blog. Just like it's dangerous for church communities to be open about their struggles. I started journalling over 20 years ago, having been strongly influenced by the famous Benedictine monk, Thomas Merton. I've never stopped. I've got stacks of black journals, the summary of all my joys, sorrows, victories and struggles over the years. So the transition to blogging was very natural. In fact, my journal writing has suffered since I started blogging because I am writing my journal publicly now.
I have news for those of you who know me: I haven't changed. Since I started blogging, I've had more people pitying me, feeling sorry for me, and being offended by me than ever before. I'm now being labeled wounded, depressed, heretical, not pastor-material, sabbatical-deprived, hedonistic, and more. I get this at least once a day it seems: "David, I'm concerned for you!" Yoohoo! It's still me. I think every pastor is wounded. Scratch away at the bandages, whether plain or fancy, and you'll find the wounds. Guaranteed! The difference with me is I'm trying not to wear the bandages. I'm trying to be open and honest about what I'm going through. I'm a very human pastor in a world of unbearable suffering and I'm telling you about it. That's all.
Some people have criticized our community: "Your people are really hurting!" "There's just too much pain there!" "You guys don't have the victory!" "The Holy Spirit has left that place!" "Your church has no joy!" Whatever. You name it, we've been called it. I don't think our church has any more problems or suffers any more than any other community. I've pastored several. The uniqueness of this community is that it is open and honest about what it's going through. We try to be transparent. This way we can effectively bear one another's burdens because we actually know what the burdens are. And we love each other enough to care and try to lighten each other's load. There's no joy more complete than experiencing love in community.
Ya, I'm wounded. Ya, we're wounded. And I'm thankful my friends know it and actually help me! And I can help them. The painting is one I completed recently.