Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why do I blog?

Does blogging count as a hobby? I sure hope so because after I complete everything I have to do sitting down and writing a few words is about all I can manage these days, though as the weather grows warmer I anticipate heading to the hills and work outside. Authoring Καθολικός διάκονος day-by-day is an adventure, perhaps it is an avocation, or maybe a provocation. I choose the latter. This August will mark four years of serious and pretty much daily blogging. I have to say that it isn't a lot of work. Blogging provides an outlet for many of the things that course through my consciousness everyday. It helps me to synthesize, to clarify, even revealing to me when I am way off base. It is easy to say that writing is therapeutic and/or cathartic, but it is really neither of those for me, though it may work that way for others. Rather, writing for me is a challenge, a provocation. I don't mind provoking others with what I write. I certainly know that I have that effect from time-to-time.

Blogging is especially good for me right now, during this Lent. Given the corrective post I was morally obligated to write because of some anonymous person's being provoked by another post and responding in a manner that utterly lacked integrity, I had intended to forego my annual Lenten introspective on blogging. Obviously, I changed my mind. It is important to me that what appears on these pages origniates from me. I almost never know what I will read, think, hear, or see that I will pull together and write about, which is not to say I am not careful about what I post and what I don't. There are a lot of things about which I would never write publicly.

There is the ever present question, Why do I blog? I think the why questions are the ones that make us human. Hence, it is important to keep them in front of us. One of the things I like about Heidegger's philosophical method was his dogged insistence over many decades of the centrality of the question of Being. He saw his life-long project as a recovery of this quaestio: Why is there something instead of nothing? Like most why questions, the one about blogging has no singular or set answer. Well, actually it does, but the way we arrive at our understanding of the answer is more important than the givenness of the answer. Kind of like when you first started studying algebra and, unlike your previous experience with arithmetic, it was not just about arriving at the correct answer, but showing, step-by-step, how you arrived at it.

Last night at School of Community, we ended by talking about how truly radical the method we follow in CL is. It is radical because experience, the things that happen to me everyday, the circumstances in which I find myself, are how I see that I am a direct relationship with the Mystery, are the means Christ uses to bring to me to my destiny, and are precisely where I encounter Him. "Our whole life is a questioning, quaestio, the quest for an answer. What's the most important condition in searching for an answer? Not having preconceptions" ( Is It Possible to Live This Way? vol. 3, pg. 119). In other words, my beliefs, which are pretty much summed up by what the Church teaches, can all too easily be nothing other than a set of preconceptions into which I try to stuff my experience instead of trusting in the One who is the answer to the questioning that constitutes my (human) being.

In the end, it is a choice between Christ or nothingness. He is the answer to the fundamental question. I understand how stark and even how alienating that assertion may seem to many. Without a doubt, it is a provocation. Nonetheless, I cannot allow even this clear and bold statement to become a preconception, a lifeless banality. I will never grasp that the choice is between Christ and nothingness by someone telling me it is so, even if I robotically and reflexively nod my head in agreement. When it works, this truth boldly proclaimed provokes you and may even have the effect of pissing you off. The truth is that it can only be verified through experience, which means, at least in the first instance, facing reality honestly. It also means not playing it safe. Life in Christ both requires and emboldens us to take risks. In other words, the truth of the provocation, at least for me, is something that needs to be verified over and over because I am forgetful. My blogging greatly aids me in choosing Christ over nothingness, which, in turn, enables me to see that I am either a protagonist or a nobody.

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis

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