Cheap causes to put in writing a weekly e-newsletter
Photo credit: © Sparrowstock
A few weeks ago I started a new project that I had wanted to do for a long time – a regular newsletter in which I do not write to the general public, but to everyone who signs up for this conversation.
And then I was surprised by something that happened.
We also communicate in quarantine
After writing my second newsletter (which you can read here today), I added a few sentences above in the third edition about a text I had received from a friend that day about all this coronavirus disease and death . About the uncertainties and tensions of quarantines. About the economic collapse all around.
He said, "I have to say that I am mentally and physically exhausted." I just noticed that I am too. Remember I'm an Enneagram Four / Myers-Briggs INFP / whatever you want to call this personality type, so I love being here in the Shire from my hobbit hole surrounded by my family and my books without working take a plane to another meeting.
So I can only imagine how exhausted my extraverted friends are – the guy who believes that no meeting is complete without an after-meeting and a late night after-after meeting (you know who you are) .
But despite everything, I'm exhausted, not from what's happening here, but from knowing what's out there in this moaning world. I wrote that it was beginning to reach me, so we should choose not to give in to despair or meanness, but to pray for and pray for each other.
The following surprised me:
I immediately heard from people all over the world who said, "I'm exhausted too" or "I'm scared" or, not a few of them, "I'm freaking out." And then I realized – that's why I started writing this newsletter in the first place.
For me, the newsletter is not equivalent to a social media feed or an earlier blog.
Instead, I realized that the best way to think is to speak out loud what I think or feel or pray. And that meant that it was worth it for me to wrestle through everything that worked through my psyche by writing it down and asking questions to people like me, even if no one was reading the letter.
News "letter" as an ongoing conversation
For these reasons, this is really not a newsletter. I will not bring you any messages. I will not share my views on the news with you. This is not a press release or statement regarding the "right Christian perspective on …" whatever is currently being discussed on Facebook.
Instead, the newsletter is meant to invite some people to speak to me when I'm still in the middle or 2/3 of the thinking process. It is less "Here is my position to fill the gap" than "Here is what I keep thinking about" or "This is how I feel about what I have just read", followed by "What do you think?"
And that means that this is not a project or a task for me. I'm just going to write about what I'm interested in right now. I have a strange range of interests. At one point I could write about the already / not yet existing nature of the Kingdom of God in Jeremia and the next about the relative merits of Tom T. Hall and Kris Kristofferson.
So far in the first three letters I have found that I have written on topics as diverse as this:
– "less of two evils" moral thinking
– Stephen King's interactions with the book of Job
– Graduated from my sons' high school
– how to make T.S. Eliot's four quartets
– Vladimir Putin's control of a Russian Orthodox cathedral
– David Foster Wallace's views on postmodern irony
– my favorite bookstores
– white supremacy and Kain & Abel
– the effects of funerals where the coronavirus was canceled
– The Office (USA) vs The Office (Great Britain)
– Parks and recreation vs. arrested development
– why people love the new Animal Crossing game
Does it seem to you too?
Nobody will be interested in walking me through all the places I want to visit, but I realize that there are many of my outsiders. And I want to say to you: "Am I crazy or does it seem like …?").
If you are the type of person who likes to read duel Twitter feeds or YouTube comments who "own" one group or another, this is not for you. And that's okay. I should love everyone, but that doesn't mean I want to spend my evening doing this with you.
If you like it, you have it. But I don't do that. I am not going to sell vitamin supplements or (God forbid) support politicians or whatever.
So if you are interested in such things, subscribe and tell people who are like us. Some people who read are not Christians (don't be offended when I say "still"!), And of course many of us are.
An invitation to reply
And as we go I would love to hear from you. There are many signposts out there that show us in laughter and lamentation, joy and melancholy (and the joy of melancholy; you know me). Let’s help each other see them and let’s go on.
You can register here and read some previous newsletters (week 1, week 2, week 3). And you can let me know what you want to talk about – questions or observations or hints of things – by sending me an email here.