Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Ink and Paper are a Step Forward

Is blogging dying?

During recent reflections of the life of 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush, many people have remarked on Bush's use of handwritten notes to connect with people. Will people a generation from now remark on how good someone was at e-mails, e-cards, or blogging?

Anecdotally, blogging seems a less popular medium to share ideas these days. Everyone who is someone probably has a podcast now. I have enjoyed several bloggers and podcasts in recent years, and made my own contributions to these media projects.

One of the ways I have processed my thoughts in 20 years of ordained ministry involved blogging. It was a helpful exercise to intermittently write, pray, think, and meditate over a keyboard as I prepared for Sunday mornings. However, in the past 2 years or so, I have drifted away from typing and moved toward writing in Black n' Red notebooks. I don't mind making mistakes that come with ink and paper, and the pace of writing fits with the pace of my thought processes. My sermons have improved, I am less anxious when I preach, and with the hardcover journals, I have something that easily fits on a bookshelf for future reference.

Granted, if anyone dares to pick up one of my notebooks in the future, they won't be able to make much sense of my writing. I am neither producing crafted prose or even sentences toward a coherent speech or sermon. My notebooks are not journals. I write ideas that both belonging to me and to scholars. This mélange eventually becomes a sermon--and the same sermon could not be identically preached from these notes. Sometimes I look at these notes when I preach, sometimes I don't. The importance of writing by hand for retaining information has been worthy of study. At the very least, recognizing that typing and writing involve different brain processes says something to me about how I write and work with ideas. I have long wanted to publish short stories, but I have not found the appropriate process for me. With a developing sense of patience and improved self-understanding, I may have a story or two in me in the future.

I am glad I have opportunities each Sunday to ruminate on the stories of the Bible with my fellow people of faith. I thought part of my job was to bring the church into at least the 20th century with technology. While this may still be true, pen and paper are not going away any time soon, and have enriched conversations with people in my congregation.

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