I recently decided to participate in NaNoWriMo; for the unindoctrinated, that stands for National Novel Writing Month and it starts tomorrow. The premise is that of outputting 50,000 words in one month and the purpose (of both the not-for-profit and the competition) is that of getting writers to write. In this case, the writers write fiction and while I am not particularly interested in writing fiction, I am interested in writing. And like Ben Brooks before me, I am interested in getting into the rhythm of writing consistently. However, unlike Ben, I will actually participate in the competition itself.

My father—who is a writer by passion, though not by trade—has been dragging his feet in writing his next book. Each time I would ask him about it, there would be a groan or a sheepish grin. This time around, the same progression occurred but with the realization that I could lead by example. If I finally got one of my longstanding ideas on paper, I would have something to point to when the next time I asked how his book was coming along.

Pastor’s Kid is an autobiographical novel—we can call it a memoir, but I am not sure that I will keep it entirely factual—about growing up in a church community from during my formative years. Currently, the premise is an overview of approaches and understandings of the world from childhood through adulthood within the context of the church family and pastoral family. The church community in question is one that sets itself apart from the standard norms of the church and teaches the main character everything he knows about life, the world, and Christianity. The story is partially autobiographical, while also including theological analysis and church history, as well as commentary on recent events as it pertains to the church.

I recently heard somewhere that in a forum like NaNoWriMo, you should write what you feel passionate about and while my story and my perspective may not be unique, it is inherently mine. In addition, I feel that I have something to add to this space, especially given my evangelical upbringing juxtaposed with my progressive socialistic views of just about everything. My own ideas may not be unique, but the ideas and, potentially especially, the actions of the people with whom I shared much of my upbringing, frankly, were and are.

I also have a blog and I hope to post here as I write. However, being that 50,000 words is a lot to digest in the blog format, I will likely post excerpts from various parts of the writing. Either way, don’t expect other types of writing here for the month of November.1

  1. That is probably for the best, too. Recently, I have been disappointed by tech writing in general. Sensationalism, double standards, and exorbitant expectations have meant that I read the writings of tech bloggers less and less. It is exceedingly likely that I will return to the topics of Apple and the technology industry in my own writing after November, but I hope this month off provides me some much-needed perspective, something that is continually lacking in such discussions.

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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.