1. One of the great problems I had not thought of previously, with the whole celebrity pastor phenomenon, is the problem of parrots. Most pastors want something very exciting to happen in their church. Best case scenario is true zeal for God. Worst case scenario is so others will see what is happening and the pastor’s kingdom can be built more easily. Either way, almost every pastor will be tempted to parrot a celebrity pastor. And we can see that almost everywhere now.
2. I’ve been listening to a lot of Springsteen over the past year. Heck, if my book had a soundtrack, it would be Darkness on the Edge of the Town, I listened to it so often while writing, if some lines edged its way into my work, I would not be surprised. And so I’ve been thinking deeply about why I cannot get enough of some of his albums. It’s gotta be the place of “place” in his songs. Not only do his songs have 4D characters with names. They have places. Places that really exist. You can feel the air of those places when he sings of them. At least I can.
3. The better I get at my job, the less I enjoy it. A couple of months ago, I feared depression might take over. I had trouble sleeping. I hated getting up in the morning. That is no longer the case. But I have far more good days at work now than bad days now. However, I don’t want to keep doing what I am doing much longer. My bosses already know this. And maybe that is why I fear being good at a job I do not enjoy.
4. I’ve often thought about writing a post for youth pastors. I’m one of those rare former youth pastors who would never go back but does not think youth ministry is a terrible idea. I just think most youth pastors approach it all wrong. They are looking for the eventful and hoping events will do something. Anything. They make the most zealous and spiritual kid the benchmark for everyone else. And they hope a camp, retreat, or some event will change the rest of ’em. In other words, they do not trust the week in and week out means of grace to change hearts one lesson, conversation, or meal covered in laughter at a time. And they judge by numbers. Numbers are for bankers.
5. Before I go to bed at night I’ve been spending a chapter in Middle Earth. I just started the LOTR trilogy again. If I was to write down all the great lines in these books, I would have a folio almost as thick as the original. The story is great – full of affection and adventure – but I love the language more than any of it. The way they speak to each other and have poems and songs spill out like tears and laughter in their midst are what keeps drawing me back.
6. Am I the only way who gets a number of followers on Twitter who once I follow them they ask me to go to the blog and/or retweet something of theirs? Am I the only one who loathes this practice and finds it insulting? Far too often it is a pastor or someone in parachurch work doing this.
7. This book thing seems to be really happening. I’m supposed to working up a list of people I would want to review and/or endorse the book. They want my ideas on this. The idea that someone would recommend my book is all at once sensational and surreal. I know I want writers, who are concerned about the craft of writing to endorse the book. And I know my greatest fear is ending up in the clearance bin.
8. I’m no longer in ministry, vocationally speaking, but I still get a thrill of reading the NT in the Greek. That may never leave. Some of you get this. Part of it is a love of words and their meanings and how they are used. Part of the enjoyment is how different it is from what I get paid to do. And no one I work with would care that I can read the Greek. They most likely do not even know. It’s another world, set apart from my job. They don’t know that Matt Redmond, the one who writes and is made happy by words.
9. If someone wants to make fun of social media they usually use the example of someone taking a picture of their lunch and uploading it for everyone to see, to do so. But I think it makes more sense than not that we would do this. Should we only take pictures of the wonders of the world and not the everyday meals we love and have to sustain us? There is not much more fundamental…elemental than our meals. There is something holy about eating food, satisfying a hungry stomach and entertaining our palette all at once. It’s not silly, on the contrary it may only be surpassed by our pictures of loved ones.
10. This may be the form of random thoughts from now on. So many others are now doing the short thoughts, alternately funny and serious, I might as well do something else now. I enjoy reading other people’s too. But there is too much for me to say, so if I keep it up at all, the thoughts will be more extended. Longer. Still random, though.
I like the new format for random thoughts; about at #3, I thought, “these are deeper random thoughts, richer in a great way.” Great!
I for one may be the exception that proves the rule for #1. I don’t pay much attention to celebrity pastors; I’m not sure I even know who they are or would be, in terms of who would be considered a truly “celebrity” pastor. I certainly don’t have much or any temptation to parrot them. Actually, I have no real interest in celebrity at all— particularly when it comes to my pastoral ministry. But having said all of that, I do get the sense that I’m something of an anomaly on this note.
RE: #7— the book thing is DEFINITELY really happening!