There is nothing pretty about isolation; I feel that even more so these last 5 months. I was already pretty isolated- I have few friends out here aside from colleagues,and ministry in a time of national convulsion and fear (and I believe, hope, if white people in particular can seize it) is not a cake walk.
In times of isolation, then, what else do you do but reboot a blog! I even upgraded my account so that I don’t have any ads on the page, which is highly amusing as I am mostly saving drafts.
So it behooves me, then, to maybe work on watering my voice as I blog. When I was in that sanctuary of learning known as seminary, where I made many mistakes but gained a whole new perspective and knowledge, we were repeatedly urged by the late great Dr. James Cone and others to articulate our voice. Before you engage in a period of studying what others believe, what is your social location, voice, theology? In at least two classes I can remember, I had to hand in a short paper summarizing my theological beliefs at the outset of the course.
The summer out here has been kinda dry so far. I have been an armchair naturalist- though I love the symbolism of nature, and walking through other people’s gardens, my green thumb is not in evidence. The hose had been hard to manage, so I go out and gamble around the yard with my cheap plastic watering can, doing the best I am able. The same approach is true for a voice/words/discernment. You have to spend the time to nurture and water it for it to amount to anything. Water, water, weed, weed.
For the thing about writing a three-page essay, handing it in, and saying “here is my voice” is that it is not a long-term engagement with the world, it is a snapshot in time. And in a world where most people’s voices have gone into the digital world, where voices – and words, and any other kind of expression one may endeavor to create- seem to scroll past at a lightning speed, it seems cultivation and care will be necessary to listen properly and feel confident. And being able to listen- truly listen is key/the first step to rooting out the weeds not just in oneself, but in all one’s relationships and connections.
So right now I am just going to write and see what emerges.