Saturday, May 13, 2017

After a week away, some thoughts on life and blogging

This past week, I took an entire week away from blogging. I didn't even post a reflection on last Sunday's readings or a Friday traditio yesterday. I remember my first few years of blogging when I posted on anything and everything. I don't look back with regret on those days. I chalk it up to learning the medium and learning how to write, some might call it "finding my voice as a writer." I dislike using phrases like that in reference to myself because I am not much of a writer, despite years of writing. Being quasi-academic, or formal, and quasi-confessional, or free form, my style is somewhat odd, perhaps a bit stilted. My awkwardness stance towards life sits better with me as I grow older. The truth is, I am not really comfortable anywhere or with anyone.

More than anything, it is sometimes difficult and other times impossible to post due to my life being so busy. I work full-time, I am married with six children, and I have a very active diaconal ministry in my parish. On top of those things, I am (foolishly) pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin) degree through Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. It is not unusual for me to be asked, "How do you do it all?" The only honest answer is, "Not very well most of the time." I am not a very a disciplined person, at least I am not as disciplined as I need to be. Like the awkwardness that partly constitutes my personality, I grow easier with my unwillingness and inability to manage my life by the microsecond. I find the whole notion of a balanced "lifestyle" utterly baffling. But I know there's a balance; I see it when I swing past.

I am glad that blogging has become for me an occasional, as opposed to a daily, endeavor. I write when I have time and when I have something to write about. Usually this results in posting something a two or three times a week. Lately I have been reading a lot on theology and human sexuality. A topic that fascinates me. My fascination with this topic will likely result pursuing an aspect of sexuality for my DMin dissertation. Initially I was going to write on the constituent elements of diaconal spirituality. To address spirituality in-depth means at least touching on the subject of sexuality.

A blurry photo of my wife and I, taken by our 11 year-old son at the Conference Center last weekend

Despite taking a week off, I am more committed to blogging than ever. A lot of scorn is heaped on the so-called "Catholic Blogosphere," which I believe only exists among those groupings of Catholic bloggers who form antagonistic or symbiotic relationships with each other. Despite a few tempting invitations to move my and blog and continue blogging in a different, commercialized, venue, I remain an independent Catholic and clerical blogger. Does that mean I consider myself better than those who I would consider as part of the "Catholic Blogosphere"? No, not necessarily. It does mean I am free to ignore each and every tempest in a tea cup that emanates from it, or, conversely, to pitch in my two pennies when I see fit.

I have also been thinking a lot lately about how tempting it is for many (I admit I used to be one such person) to conceive of Christianity as a rearguard action seeking to halt the advance of (post-)modernity and defending a political order in which Christians, or at least the Christian ethos, has the upper hand. I think Christendom, on the whole, was detrimental to Christianity.

Turning to something completely different - last Saturday evening I attended a performance of "The Lamb of God," a contemporary composition about the passion, death, and resurrection the Lord by a local composer Rob Gardner. It was performed by the Davis County Interfaith Choir, with which my wife, who serves as our parish director of music, is involved. It was held at the LDS Conference Center Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, which is a beautiful venue. It was a beautiful performance that was nearly sold out. All-in-all it was a lovely evening for myself, my wife, and two of our boys. A few weeks prior to the concert, I was invited to give the invocation. A few hours prior to the performance I composed this prayer:

Lord our God,
You are Truth and Goodness.
We thank you for gathering us together
in this season during which our celebration
of Your Son's Resurrection still resonates in our hearts.

In your mercy and by the power of Your Spirit,
draw us close to You and to each other
through the Beauty of tonight's performance.

Like you inspired the Psalmists,
bless those who will make a joyful sound to Your name.
May their music be an acceptable sacrifice of praise. Amen.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Yes, in the picture above I am wearing clericals, which deacons in my diocese are supposed to do when representing the Church in public - I verified this with our Vicar for Clergy. Even so, I don't always, or even usually, wear them even when I may do so. On this occasion it seemed appropriate in order to highlight the fact, to both Mormons and and non-Mormons, that this was an interfaith and ecumenical concert. Of course, I was introduced to the almost exclusively Davis County audience (Davis County is directly north of Salt Lake County) as "Deacon Scott Dodge from St. Olaf Parish in Bountiful."

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