Russell and Duenes

Who cares?

with 2 comments

I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work. – Clyde Kilby

I’m writing this partly because I believe that my colleague and I share an often fatal character quality, namely, to think far too long and hard about what we think our motivations are for any particular activity of significance. I could make all sorts of caveats and addendums and qualifications for my assertion, but I won’t. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Messr. Russell “feels as if this whole blogging notion is set on my desire to pursue some sort of selfish gain, to have an independent voice in my own tightly constructed world.” No doubt this is a reality in his heart. It’s a reality in my own heart. I’m not sure when or how we might get to a point where it’s entirely gone. It seems to me we ought not to expect a total eradication of our “bad” motives this side of heaven. But, my purpose here is not to go on about my colleague’s and my common struggle with our motivations. I only bring this up because I share in his dilemma and struggle. And likely, I’d struggle with it far harder if we had a thousand people reading our page every day. My gosh, I can’t even imagine what would be happening in my heart.

But my larger desire is, as Kilby commends, to stop boring into myself, trying to figure out what’s going on all the time. I certainly will never be accused of neglecting the motivations of my own heart. It’s the attending to them that drove me to the brink of insanity (and sometimes still does). What I’d like to do is just write what I want to write without thinking about my “audience” or whether I’ve got “commercial appeal.” Frankly, I know who my audience is, and the readership stats that wordpress so conveniently provides me tell me exactly what kind of appeal I have. If this were a beauty contest, they’d be saying that I have a face only a mother could love. Not only that, but when I think about trying to write it is always crystal clear to me that there are ten-thousand evangelical, political or culture-commentating blogs out there that are talking about the same things I’m talking about, only far better.

So tonight I thought to myself, “Who cares?” What’s the value of having a blog? For me, I’m not totally sure. But I think it’s this: Writing forces me to think about an issue and to have to set my thoughts down in an orderly and logical manner. Sure, I’d like it if I got more feedback and critique of my posts, so as to sharpen my thinking and expose my unexamined assumptions. But there’s a big part of me right now that is saying, “Who cares if my musings about economics, bioethics, Islam, marriage, children, education, or theology are the same as thousands of others? I’m thinking about what I’m thinking about, and I’m passionate about what I’m passionate about. That’s it.”

So I’ve decided that if I’m going to keep writing at all, I’m going to write about whatever is on my mind, even if every conservative columnist just wrote about it themselves. I’m going to share my thoughts about theology even if the top evangelical blogs just did a six-part series on it. Striving for articulation is something that I believe comes from God, is an expression of his life in me, and hopefully gives a bit of life to my small audience. I think I’m better at verbal articulation rather than literary, hence the podcasts. If I had my way, I’d do a couple of podcasts a week, rather than posts. But either way, I think I’ll take Kilby’s advice seriously, and try to “forget about myself and do my work.” I don’t want to be paralyzed by constantly checking my motivations. I think I’ll also take the apostle John’s command to heart: “If we confess our self-importance and self-assertion, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our  self-importance and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”



Written by Michael Duenes

September 21, 2009 at 4:09 am

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

2 Responses

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  1. I was just searching for “beauty contest” and “bad motives” on Google and found this post!

    Just kidding. I sometimes think too much, or often. I want to live in the moment without worrying about what tomorrow may bring or whatever else I may be missing, but that’s not easy when I’m surrounded by constant information as if I could make use of it all. I’m discovering the value and freedom of not having answers and the positive effect on my relationships as I pay more attention to what others think and experience.

    I’m still blogging, sharing my thoughts, and posting photos, and I’m not paying too much attention to my motivations or goals. But I must say that my real hope is to publish books and make documentary movies, and blogging is just a small step.

    This may sound like a contradiction (and if so you may think it’s par for the course with me). 😉

    Much of life is lived in paradox if you think about it. (Think about that.)


    September 21, 2009 at 7:36 am

  2. Sounds like a good plan.



    September 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm

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