This is my 1000th post here on Downshoredrift.com. I started this blog on December 31, 2005, because I wanted to have a space to make observations on where I saw God at work in the world around me. Downshoredrift is the phenomenon that happens when the waves along a coast line hit the shore straight, but bounce off at an angle, creating a drift or flow down the shore. If you have ever been to the beach and have been floating and you thought you were in one place, but you look up and you realize that you are in a totally different place down the shore, that is down shore drift. It seemed like a good metaphor for how God works. We think that we are just living a normal life or we experience something bad and we think that is all there is. We are surprised to later find out that God has been at work all along, drawing us closer to Him and working in our lives for His purposes. Much of God's work is in ways that we do not immediately see. In the converse, sin works the same way. The influence of the world is strong, and it will often draw us away from God without our even noticing it. In both God's work and the influence of the world, we need to have eyes to see and a heart to discern what is going on, lest we miss it. That is what the blog has been for me - the workshop of my mind where I explore topics of interest both personal and political, theological and cultural - to try and find out where God is working and how the world and its ways seek to pull us away from God's best intention for us.
1000 posts. That is one post every 2-3 days on average. If each post averages at 700 words, then that is 700,000 words or around 7 decent sized books that I have written here - more than one per year. Downshoredrift has been an interactive book for me. I love the comments and getting to bounce ideas off of others. I love the questions and discussions that we have had here. I also love the people that I have met and the visitors from dozens and dozens of countries. I have been able to spread the word about how Jesus works in the life of a small church pastor and have been able to tell stories from my travels around the world and from my experiences with my family and friends. I wrote about my son Caelan's cancer here. I wrote remembrances of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on my family and hometown. I have written about my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, and I have written about how we know Jesus - and how we miss Him. I have written book reviews, political commentary, insights from the Bible, and historical studies. Most of all, it has been a place for me to share ideas and get some good feedback. I am thankful to all who have taken the time to read Downshoredrift.
Right now, I am working on a book called When Heaven and Earth Collide. It starts with the Freedom Riders coming to Montgomery, AL and the abuse that they faced in a city full of churches and Christians and it asks the question "Why?" How could people who claimed to be Christian be so violent and so racist and not even see it? So, I explore the history of America and the church and civil religion and I also look at the church in other time periods. I ask a lot of questions and give some answers as to how we got to this point and then I bring it up to the present day to show how we are not that different today - we just act out our positions in different ways, ways that we accept now. Then, I talk about the Kingdom of God and how it is different from the world and how we can participate in it in our local churches and society so that we have better eyes to see where God is working and how we are possibly missing it. In a sense, this book takes the writing tools that I have sharpened on this blog over the past 6+ years and applies them to a historical, cultural, and theological context so that we can understand better how to be Christian in America in the 21st century in a complex, diverse, and pluralistic environment. I will finish this in the next couple of months. Really, I will. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, though, because of the focus required. Blogging is much easier because you start and stop and in 500-1000 words you have explored a topic of interest and then you move on. A book does not let you move on. You have to come back to it over and over. With a church, a family, and a very busy life, it is a struggle. But, I am going to finish.
Anyway, this blog has been a great workshop for my mind and I hope that the next 1000 posts are better than the first. Thanks for reading!