Today I was reading a Media Bistro interview with Howard Polskin, the senior vice president of the Magazine Publishers of America, and one line jumped out at me. When asked about the blogging he does for the MPA website, he responded:
I wish there were more postings on my blog. But then again…what blogger doesn’t wish for that? I love blogging. It’s so immediate and personal. But it’s like having a hungry farm animal. If you don’t feed it every day, it dies.
Ah, isn’t it true? For those of you left out there, I must apologize for not posting anything for more than a month. I’ve got tons of excuses, the main one being that I recently changed jobs, leaving my position at Christianity Today to assume a new role at Urban Ministries, Inc. The past month has involved adjusting to a new commute, a new corporate culture, and new responsibilities. I’m now the director of editorial at UMI. In addition to overseeing the company’s adult Sunday School and Bible-study curriculum, I also will be responsible for launching new consumer products, including new media ventures. Needless to say, it’s an exciting opportunity. And I’m enjoying it a lot. But there’s so much to learn, and it’s been tough getting use to a new work rhythm. I must confess that I miss the pace of a bimonthly magazine. These days, I’m working on products a whole year in advance. It has been strange, to say the least.
Anyway, even though I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been thinking about all of you who are kind enough to drop by here from time to time. I’ve missed our conversations and felt bad that I haven’t been holding up my end of the blogging bargain. As Polskin said, “If you don’t feed it every day, it dies.” I’m hoping this blog isn’t dead yet (i.e. that there are enough of you out there who are still interested in communicating).
Last week I spoke to a small gathering of pastors at a preaching workshop sponsored by Holy Trinity Church of Chicago. Since the publication of Reconciliation Blues, I’ve been invited to speak at churches, colleges, and Christian conferences, but this was something totally different. For someone who’s still a bit shy before audiences, can you imagine anything more nerve-racking than delivering a speech to a bunch of men who speak and preach for a living?
In preparing for the workshop, I was inspired to go back and listen to a message delivered by Pastor Oscar Muriu of Kenya at Urbana 06 late last year. Many of you probably heard about Pastor Muriu’s powerful message on the global church (click here and go down six) and how the center of the contemporary Christian church has shifted from the U.S. and Europe to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In my speech, I referenced Pastor Muriu’s anecdote about a church in Congo that experienced a conflict between the Western missionaries who helped plant the church and the congregation’s indigenous leaders. The dispute became so heated that a third-party mediator was brought in to help the two sides resolve their differences. The mediator proposed an exercise: He asked both sides to prepare a message on the biblical story of Joseph and to share on separate Sundays their views on the central theme of that passage of Scripture. The outcome of the exercise was quite revealing.
If you haven’t heard Pastor Muriu’s message, it would be worth your time to check it out at the Urbana.org site. I’d love to hear some of your feedback on Muriu’s central theme and how it might relate to our discussions of racial reconciliation in the church today.