Archive for category Housekeeping

Welcome to Yet Another Reboot

On and off over the past couple of decades, I have had various blogs and websites that I posted semi-regularly to. Some were fairly political, others more technical in nature, and some were just random nonsense. Why? Essentially, I am a communicator. Whether we’re talking about my professional careers (of which I have had several) or my personal hobbies, communicating ideas has always been a central part of what I do.

Well, of course, everyone “communicates” in their jobs, their hobbies, their personal relationships. Human beings are quite chatty, after all, as a species. But what I’m saying here is that I not only do a lot of writing and speaking, but I do a lot of thinking about writing and speaking. I actively enjoy thinking about writing and speaking. I am most happy when I am creating something, and the kinds of things I most enjoy creating all involve words. Whether I’m telling a story or explaining an idea or exploring a theory or telling a joke, I can’t stop thinking about the how of it all. I’m a structure nerd when it comes to this sort of thing, for instance.

Anyway, that still doesn’t make me particularly special. However, I’ve been doing a lot of self-evaluation and self-observation over my lifetime, and I’ve recently been really working on honing in on whatever appears to be the essence of what I do when I am doing something well. And, well, “communication” seems to cover that category rather nicely.

So here I am once again writing a blog. Why this format? And on what topic? And for whom? Slow down, I’ll get there.

First of all, my main creative and communicative output is in other areas right now. I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking and also YouTubing (I guess that’s a verb now), and those two areas will continue to be my main professional focus for now. But I’m working on developing my overall communication skills through the building up of new habits. So I’ve decided to experiment with the discipline of a weekly blog post. Those of you that already subscribe to the weekly email I send out (typically on Fridays) about happenings at the Washington New Church may say, “But you already do that!” Well, yes, I do. But those emails have a very specific agenda, despite the fact that they sometimes drift dangerously close to mad ramblings at times. This new weekly blog post plan is something else entirely.

Instead of having a focused agenda (like letting people know what’s going on at the church I am pastor of), my Monday blog posts will be a lot looser. They could be about anything, really. If it’s on my mind, and I can generate some words on the subject, it’ll show up here.

Which isn’t a very good way to build an audience. So I guess the answer to that third question (who is this for?) is…well, no one. But if you’ve stumbled across this, then you’re more than welcome to come along for the ride. I can’t promise it’ll be enlightening. Heck, I can’t really promise it’ll be anything at all, other than weekly.

So if you’re in the market for a blog/column/whatever that has no target audience, no particular subject matter, and no agenda other than to be reliably weekly, then you have come to the right place! And as a bonus, since I have no agenda besides consistent output, you can have a big influence on what kind of out I’ll be putting. (Puting? Put-ing? Hm…) Just drop a comment here and let me know what you think I should write about, and the odds are good that I’ll be desperate enough for ideas each Monday that I’ll just write about whatever you want. Until the suggestions start to outnumber the Mondays, of course.

To conclude, here’s a nice picture, because blog posts are more visually interesting when they have pictures in them:


Tags: , , ,

Don’t Call It a Reboot

I’ve decided that I’ve been neglecting my passion for the written word far too long. I’ve experimented with video and audio, but in the end my personal expertise and also my passion are just not in all of the details needed to produce great recorded media. I’m not saying I won’t continue to experiment with recording, lighting, editing, etc, etc, etc, and trying to produce additional audio and video content. But my native land is the written word. And it’s something I do have a passion for.

By “passion”, I mean it’s something I happily and willingly spend my time doing without thinking about it. If I examine how I naturally spend my time when not constrained by outside obligations, then I can see I have a passion for the following:

  • Writing;
  • Public speaking;
  • Complex thinking;
  • Reading;
  • Listening to Music;
  • Playing games.

I do other things. I have other interests and pursuits. I have things that I have consciously dedicated myself to. But the above list is the essence of what I would spend the majority of my time doing if I were to just let go and allow myself to live completely unregulated by duty, conscience, obligation or self-compulsion. The lower half of the list, as you can see, is fairly recreational, as most normal people would see things. The upper part of the list, though, are things I know a lot of people just aren’t that interested in, and generally expect to be paid for doing. But I would do them for free. I do do them, all the time, regardless of whether there’s any profit in them. For me, they are also recreational, in that doing them rebuilds my inner self, giving me energy rather than draining me.

So anyway, I want to get back to writing in some more formal ways. Those of you that have been hit regularly with my facebook posts, tweets, and long, highly theoretical email missives on various topics may now be saying, “But Mac, you already write a ton. (Please stop?)” And yeah, that’s true. But it all feels so very fragmented, talking to different people and different groups at different times. I feel like I want to get back to talking to everyone at once and no one in particular at the same time. There’s a special kind of satisfaction for me in that sort of “broadcast” style of communication, despite everything I’ve ever said about the decline of one-to-many and the rising supremacy of many-to-many communication. In practice “many-to-many” often really looks more like “some-to-some”, and I love a crowd. And the ability to just develop my thoughts in long form.

Anyway, so I’m doing two things about this, for now:

  1. I am going to resume fiction writing, using this year’s NaNoWriMo to kick-start me again.
  2. I am going to (well, I just did) resume blogging.

I’m really looking forward to getting back on this track of my life. I hope some of you out there get some benefit from my recreational works of passion as well.

What are your passions? What would you think about, talk about, learn about, practice and do if your time were totally your own and you had no material needs to attend to?

And what are you doing about that?

Tags: , ,


I don’t know exactly what’s wrong with me. But I find I am drawn to questions around the darker side of humankind more than to those that highlight the better side of the human condition. In seminary, I wrote a dissertation on the nature and operation of falsity—how it interacts with good, with evil, and with truth, when it matters and when it doesn’t, and what, exactly, defines it. It turned out to be a rather-too-broad topic, but I’m glad I did the study I did.

I was initially drawn to it after reading the following:

Truths which are not genuine, and also falsities, may be consociated with genuine truths; but falsities which contain good, and not falsities in which is evil. Falsities which contain good are received by the Lord as truths. The good which has its quality from falsity is accepted by the Lord, if there is ignorance, and therein is innocence and a good end. (The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 171)

What an amazing idea! And let me say that it was one I personally needed to wrestle with on many levels, and in fact had wrestled with most of my life. You see, I love to be right. I mean I really love it. Being right was very important to me as a child. I was blessed with a brain that is good at fast processing, and a certain kind of recall, and so early on I found myself to be quite talented at finding the small logical and factual flaws in other peoples’ statements. I’m surprised none of my siblings killed me before I reached adulthood.

But what if being right wasn’t the most important thing? What if being flat-out wrong, even about important, deep theological matters, was no big deal to God? Well, why would it be? Is the Lord so limited that he can’t work with our intellectual flaws? I mean, if he can work with our sin, why can’t he work with what really amounts to not much more than our mental errors?

So when I read that, I knew that was a topic I wanted to dig into. Also, in that same book, I came across a sort of taxonomy of types of falsities, and that really appealed to my particular style of categorical thinking.

But there was another motivation for asking how, what and why, with regard to spiritual falsehood: the question of evil. In part, understanding how falsity works in human minds unlocks part of the answer to the question, “Why is there evil?” I have often said, by way of example, that Adolf Hitler didn’t just get out of bed one day and say to himself, “I think I’ll be evil now.” Everyone, no matter how sane or crazy, no matter how big or small, has a (to them) perfectly reasonable justification for everything they do. Whatever anyone chooses to do, by definition, on one level, is to them the very definition of “good”. Even when at the same time the same person also labels it as “evil”, there must be some level on which it is good to the person, or they (we) wouldn’t do it.

And for me, the question, “Why do seemingly good people sometimes do seemingly evil things?” is one I can’t stop poking at. It’s one of my three persistant “why”s. (The other two are variants on the standard “Why do bad things happen to good people?”)

So anyway, the question of evil has been one that has been on my mind for many years. But the more life I experience, and the more pain I witness through my pastoral care for others who are experiencing some amazingly hard things, the more important this question becomes to me on a personal level.

I’ve been meaning for years to write a book–a popular book, not just an academic treatment–on the subject of evil. Just that word, “evil”, is filled with all sorts of complicated baggage accumulated over the ages, and to a certain degree I think we have turned it into something other than what it really is. If the word is too covered in cultural barnacles for it to work for you, instead consider the question, “Why do seemingly good people hurt one another?” And it’s more personal variant: “Why do I hurt people?”

There. That’s the big one. Not everyone’s ready to go there, I know. But for those who are, I want to provide something that offers hope, insight, and healing.

And I’d like to enlist your help. This project is going to take a long time, and will require more knowledge, experience and wisdom than I can currently lay claim to. So if you’d like to help, I’m looking for three things: (1) your own insights and experiences related to this topic, (2) an occasional gentle reminder to keep working on the book, and (3) support and motivation when I hit dead ends, discouragement, and setbacks.

I’ll be posting more (and more specifically) on this topic in the future. Watch this space.


Tags: , , ,


I’m updating my technorati information, and so need to post a little bit of nonsense. Please ignore. 🙂


Facebook Profile to Twitter?

How can I send Facebook profile status posts to Twitter? No, not PAGE posts, PROFILE posts. And, NO, not from Twitter to Facebook, but the other way around.

Tags: , ,