Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughts on context

We all know the truth that context makes a difference.  What is objectionable and unseemly in one circumstance is often appropriate in another. Judging our own context is sometimes trickier.

I wonder if I do you a disservice, Gentle Reader, when I share my blog posts without any context.  I would guess that the twenty or so of you who follow this blog regularly (bless your hearts!) know quite a bit of my context: my life situation, my struggles, etc.  But few of you are privy to the particular context of particular posts.

I wonder if, when I post a particularly spiritual or theological post, for instance, you might be thinking about me as some wise old woman spouting  knowledge from the depths of my wisdom and sharing with those behind me on the spiritual journey.  It is true that I am old, but as for the rest, let me set the record straight.  Let me give you a little of my context.

I always assume that my readers (and everyone else for that matter) are pretty much like me-- they have similar hopes and fears, even if the details are different.  I assume that we all struggle to hold on to hope in the midst of this broken world and our battered lives.  I need the truth of the gospel (the really good news) preached to me day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, or I would sink. Therefore, I preach to myself.  I read God's word, I struggle in prayer, and I process here.  I publish it because writing for you, both my imaginary and real Gentle Readers, causes me to think more carefully about my wording and content, and distill the ravings of my very verbose inclinations to something brief and hopefully meaningful.  In short, it helps me to focus.  Or at least I hope it does.

But here is the point: I do not write these things because I have figured it out and this is how I live.  I write these things because I want to live this way. Without such hope I would be lost.  I wish I were, as a dear friend has said, "a compliant recipient of the Lord's refining fires," but the reality is I fight and kick, grieve and despair, and would be lost but for God's grace. I write what I need, assuming you need it, too.

So there is my context. Thank you for wandering this road with me, Gentle Reader.  But please remember we are both pilgrims seeking the face of God in our joy and in our pain.

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