As you can see above, I had an epic weekend of hunting in and around Huron, South Dakota with my new friend, Jorge. I also preached at Grace Episcopal Church in Huron and met many of that church’s wonderful people. And if Albert looks tired in that photo, it’s cuz he is. We arrived home at noon today, and he’s not moving.
There are few things in the world that I like more than hunting. It has become a real focus of what I want in life: time in the outdoors, with my dog and friends, and soon with my kids (once they’re old enough).
Recently, Courtney asked me if there’s anything else in my life that is like hunting — that is, something that’s all-consuming of my mental capacities, something that totally absorbs me and allows me to leave everything else behind. I thought about it and said, No, nothing else has that effect on me.
As I’ve struggled to understand myself better — and the controversies on this blog have played a role in pushing me to do that — I’ve been focusing on what I can learn about being an Enneagram 8. On the drive to and from Huron, I listened to Suzanne Stabile’s lectures, “The Aggressive Stance.” It’s only a part of the puzzle that is me, but it’s been very helpful to embrace the doing center of an Enneagram 8. I’ve talked to Suzanne about this on the phone as well, and she’s encouraged me to start thinking through how my writing sounds to those in the thinking and feeling centers, and to those in the withdrawing and reflective stances.
This all comes as I am in the home stretch on a book that is due on January 1. I don’t think I’ll make that deadline, but I’ve really got to have the bulk of the book done by February 1 — more on that in a minute. The book is ostensibly about the atonement — the death of Jesus — but it’s really a book about God. Because when you peel away the layers of the question, Why Did Jesus Die?, you’re really looking deeper into the question, What Kind of God Lets this Happen? It’s a big question, and it’s going to be a big book. And I have high hopes for it. I would really like it to provoke a wide-ranging conversation about the nature of God and how so many atonement theories are so harmful.
Then, in February, I will be teaching two classes at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. They’re two classes I’ve never taught before, so that will take a lot of time and effort to prepare. Meanwhile, Doug Pagitt, Sarah Cunningham, and I are planning two large events early next year. And working at sparkhouse, and cherishing a marriage and kids and dogs and parents and friends…
A person only has so much creative energy, only so much creative output. A response to the weekly Questions That Haunt series, for example, usually takes me about two hours to write. That’s 1,000+ words of creative output every Friday, and Friday is a day blocked off on my schedule for working on my book. That means that I usually don’t get around to writing my book until 9 or 10 in the morning, and I’m running on intellectual fumes because I’ve poured a lot into the QTH post.
This is obviously not a sustainable way of life. I feel spread too thin.
Over a year ago, having been rejected by several publishers, I decided to commit to blogging in a new way. I posted twice every weekday and once on Saturday. As a result, my blog climbed in rankings and traffic. Since then, I’ve gotten a book contract, and I’ve pared down to about six posts a week — one per day, Sunday excepted. But even this rate of posting I cannot manage.
I’ve got friends who make their full-time living as bloggers, including a couple of my colleagues here at Patheos. I do not. Someday, I’d like to make the bulk of my income from writing — books and blog — but I’m a long ways off from that. In fact, I recently re-negotiated my contract here at Patheos to make less, in part because I knew that blogging was going to take up less of my life.
All of this to say that I will, for a time, be posting somewhat less. I am in no way quitting the blog; I am simply paring down to a more manageable output each week. I love writing, truly. It’s the best part of all the things I do professionally, and the medium of blogging is one that suits me. But maybe I’ll only be posting three or four times per week, instead of six or eight.
As I was driving to South Dakota on Friday morning, I was excitedly anticipating the hunt. But I was also anxious about not having had answered Tuesday’s QTH. That’s an anxiety that I just can’t handle right now. So I don’t know the exact future of the QTH series — it may be monthly instead of weekly, or maybe semi-monthly. I’m open to suggestions.
I’m also open to your suggestions, as always, about what to write about. Why do you come here? What do you want to see more of, and less of?
I am deeply grateful for your readership. I feel a community with you — even those of you who lurk and don’t comment. It is a great joy to meet reader when I travel, even to places like Huron, South Dakota.
It’s also a great joy to climb in a truck with a couple guys who’ve never heard of me or my blog, to talk about the corn harvest this year and the best hunting dog we’ve ever owned and that one time that I shot a pheasant with a Hail Mary shot at 65 yards.
Thanks for bearing with my ramble. And for reading. Much love to you, and friendship.