For much of the past year and a half this blog has been my own editorial page, a collections of commentaries and columns responding to news and events of our day. Here and there, of course, have been some personal anecdotes and stories, but this blog has largely been a passionate and at times argumentative pulpit for my opinions about various issues in our world and church.
But I am shifting gears slightly here at The Lutheran Zephyr. Rather than the homemade opinion section of my make-believe newspaper, this blog will begin to turn into more of a personal journal, including more of my deeply personal, raw, and mostly unedited thoughts and feelings and experiences. I think that my last two posts (Three Months and Prayer for an Obnoxious Man) reflect this shift. It might not always be pretty or proper or popular or polite or pastoral or pious, but it will be honest, personal and perhaps even raw.
Why this shift? On Thursday I attended a workshop on narrative therapy and grief – i.e., journaling. The presenter did not present a step-by-step, how-to of journaling. Rather, for nearly an hour she simply read to us various journal entries from before, during, and following her husband’s death from stomach cancer. The raw and deeply personal expression in those pages moved me – not only her story and words, but the power of giving voice to the deeply felt pain and anger that accompanies such a loss.
Also, I’m learning the value of honesty after Three Months of CPE. My hospital chaplaincy gig includes about 20 hours/week in a seminar setting with two supervisors and four other resident chaplains, while the other 20 hours are spent in patient care on the hospital floors. In those seminar hours we spend alot of time talking about our feelings in response to what we see on the floors, and we learn very quickly the value of being honest. The bullshit meter is very sensitive in our group, and there is no value in presenting a lily white, happy face version of pain, anger, sadness or sorrow. Perhaps this homogenized harmony of emotions is what the world wants, or what the church wants, or what middle class America wants, but through CPE and indeed through years of therapy before that, I am learning the value of appropriate expressions of raw and honest emotion. With a patient or from the pulpit such expression is not appropriate. With my CPE group, a therapist or in the semi-anonymity of this blog, it is appropriate.
Of course, I will still be guarded. This blog is semi-anonymous, at best, and many of you know who I am in real life. Being known can be a liability if I am expressing raw, honest, unedited emotions. I have thought of abandoning this blog and, after a hiatus, resurfacing in a new and anonymous incarnation. But I like this blog name too much to jettison it . . . So I’ll take the risk and be a little more honest, a little more raw, a little more raucous.
The Lutheran Zephyr, uncensored. Let’s see how this goes.