For several years friends have suggested and encouraged me to setup some sort of online ministerial presence, be it a website or a blog- someplace to showcase my work as a minister, a place to post audio streams of my past and future sermons, or with regular youtube videos on various subjects. They also suggested I blog regularly various topics such as sex and spirituality, metaphysics, the intersection of science and spirituality, – and other topics of progressive Christianity I am passionate about. They also offered that this is a good way to promote myself as a speaker, workshop facilitator, spiritual counselor and an officiant for weddings, memorial services and other special events.
I’ve resisted the lure of the blogosphere for a long time, primarily because I’m lazy and undisciplined, and the idea of maintaining a regular blog that people might actually follow, and expect regular updates from terrifies me. I started a blog once, spent all day making it all pretty, posted one entry and “always meant to update it” until I finally decided to 6 months later, only to find it locked out under suspicions of being a spamsite or something.
Another reason I have held out from doing it is something that I call “message creep,” when blogs start out having a central theme or idea, for example cooking, but they soon become a jumble of the author’s random musings. You initially follow it because you’re interested in one topic, and soon you rarely find any postings on that topic, or you have to wade through pictures of cute kittens or political screeds to find what you originally came there looking for.
I’ve noticed this tendency with my other social media, especially my Facebook page. My postings are a jumble of spirituality, brewing, cooking, vintage base ball, science fiction geekdom, music, my love of old movies, history, politics, and god knows what else is capturing my interest at any given moment. And my friend’s list reflects the eclectic (some would say chaotic) nature of my life. And what often happens in terms of my ministry stuff is that if I speak somewhere or post on a spiritual blog, I inevitably get friend requests from congregants or ministers expecting me to “wax spiritually” all the time, and are often quite surprised to see me posting as passionately about a new craft beer I’m drinking, or food I’m obsessed with (you should see my rants about Detroit Style Pizza, or how gourmet toppings on hamburgers are really there to cover up the fact that places can’t come up with a beef patty that can stand on its own.) And I often wonder what those people must think.
The third reason I’ve hesitated is that blogs to me tend to be incredibly narcissistic endeavors, masturbatory even… Especially whose main purpose (like this one unfortunately) is self-promotion. I suck at it, I’m uncomfortable with it. I hate tooting my own horn; I was raised to be humble, so much to the point of having low self-esteem for most of my life. But people tell me I have a good message, that I’m a great speaker, I’m passionate, I empower people, and that I should be heard. So here I am, standing somewhat naked and uncomfortable before you…Sharing myself with you.
The thing that finally had me reach the tipping point to start this darn thing is that, in a world dominated by loud, overbearing, conservative Christianity, those of us of a progressive, liberal bent need to start becoming part of the dialogue, need to let people know that we’re out here. That the homophobic, racist, anti-women, anti-poor, anti-science, ideals that have been spouted as being the face of “Christianity” for decades is not representative of all of us. In a time when people are fleeing churches that espouse those beliefs in droves, and in response they become more vitriolic there needs to be more voices like mine out there.
So I’m joining my theological heroes such as John Shore, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Naked Pastor, the Unfundamentalist Christians, and the Progressive Christian Alliance in reclaiming Jesus, the Bible, and God for that matter from those that have perverted them for their own fearful and selfish ends. I don’t claim to be on par with any of those afore mentioned people, I am but a Padwan among Jedis (told you I was a nerd.) I’m merely adding my voice to the conversation, and saying to them all, “I’ve got your back.”
So what you have here is my exploration of Life and the Universe… This is my spiritual side of things. I’ve subtitled this “A Journey into ‘Gutbucket Spirituality.’” Years ago I worked at a public radio station in Detroit. One of my many duties was assistant producer of a Saturday morning Blues show. For two hours every week I was steeped in all manner and flavor of acoustic “Lowland,” acoustic blues. To me “gut bucket” usually played by a jug band represented some of the heartfelt, and most “earthy” of all the styles of blues out there. It was also some of the most innovative music out there; raw naked passion; sorrow and joy poured forth from cobbled together instruments. The soul stirred to the brink of ecstasy or exquisite pain, originating from the humblest of sources.
My view of spirituality is much the same; an earthy, practical approach to the cosmic things we wrestle and wrangle about; Faith, Forgiveness, God (the Universe and Everything) but brought down to earth and applied on a daily basis. It is one thing to talk about forgiveness for example, and it’s another thing to actually release some anchor to past pain that we’ve been dragging around with us, or to release the emotion around some person who we perceive as harming us. Its one thing to talk about peace and it’s another thing to not flip off the motorist who cuts us off in traffic, and have that tiny, fraction of a second moment color our entire day. To me a walk with faith is earthy, it’s rugged- it’s something we roll up our sleeves (baring that heart on it) and often get dirty doing. We may have our eye on heaven, or the cosmos, or the clouds, but our feet are planted firmly on the dust.
But at the same time my theology/philosophy is still tinged with awe, and a belief in mysticism; a sense of wonder at the magic of nature, our connection to the cosmos and as Shakespeare said, “…more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies.” I’ve experienced in my own life unfathomable, miraculous things. In fact I define a miracle as simply something that science has yet to be able to explain, but until since time are still possibly and their workings mysterious.
This blog represents my “serious” (a relative term) ministerial side. It is where you will find audios (and hopefully videos) of past and future sermons. It is where I will be sharing some of the best information and articles from people who teach me, and where I will share some of my own insights and ideas on spiritual themes. It is where I will also begin to develop another project I have lately been nudged by many people to do; an exploration (perhaps a book if they’re not too 20th century these days) of the topic of the intersection of Sex and Spirituality; Sex is something that I believe is extremely important to a happy, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling life, created by God even, yet sadly has been turned into, for various reasons, something dirty, ungodly, and perverted… when it’s just the opposite in my opinion, and needs to be celebrated, not denigrated.
To combat “message creep” I have also created a “back page” or a companion blog titled “…And all that other stuff; Musings from the Junk Drawer of Life.” That is where you’ll find the lighter stuff, the non-spiritual (though when you think about it, it’s all spiritual) things I’m passionate about; homebrewing, beer tasting, movies, vintage base ball, history, food, cooking, art, books, music, old movies, science fiction, zombies (though if you check out my sermons zombies HAVE made an occasional occurrence.) And anything else that may pass through that feverish brain of mine at any given moment.
So if you’re looking for the serious stuff this blog, if you’re interested in everything else, follow that one… and if you want to get a well rounded picture of who Michael/”Revvy”/”Preacher” is follow both of them. You’ll never know what you might find rattling around here.