Three Candles on the Blog ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Three Candles on the Blog

To a More Serious & Wild BitterSweetLife

About three years ago, this blog came into the world at an inauspicious computer terminal in a public library. Like many newborns, the blog began its life in a meandering, Thoreau-like fashion,
posting nature photographs and musing about caterpillars. In its adolescent year, the blog flirted briefly and flippantly with pop culture (it meant nothing!) before deliberately incorporating some of the elements so ingrained in BitterSweetLife's current ethos: coffee, hoops, and a somewhat creative, experimental way of talking about unchanging, non-negotiable theology.

And so we arrive at birthday number three, and find a blog somewhat tested by time, a blog somewhat seasoned, a blog somewhat changed from what early subscribers knew, but only more sure of what it thinks is true.

Bittersweetness has been a constant thread over the last three years. Sometimes it was reveled in more consciously, thus appearing with greater hit-you-over-the-head obviousness. (If you're relatively new to the blog, you might want to check these classics: Bittersweet What? The Bittersweet Life Unpackaged The Terms of Bittersweetness) But it was always there.

At defining moments like this, it's typical to look back over your shoulder and reflect, and this is especially true when you're dealing in blog years, which count for about a dozen human ones. So then: blogging consistently for three years has not been easy. Some weeks I've had to discipline myself just to write something. Other times I've had to resist the temptation to stay up until 3 a.m. writing the Great American Blog Post. Then there's the times I've had to buy off Lindsay with chocolate and flowers just so she would let me blog that week. But this kind of thing is secondary.

Mostly, I want to write about Jesus and his Father and the Holy Spirit, and how they have changed the world and are still changing it. This is something I often struggle to do, and as a pastime, it's become more serious and more wild over the last three years.

More serious: because we're all struggling, fighting to the death, to live out our relationship to Jesus with endurance and poise. If we know him, this means believing in him even when it seems that he has pitted the entire shape of our past and future lives against us for purposes of sanctification. If we don't know him, this means trying to consistently live as if death is simply the end of a long, complicated chemical reaction and "love" and "tragedy" are small side effects that happen at various points in the sequence. Either way, it's serious.

More wild: because the more I think about God and repeatedly beg him to give me a look at his glory, even if it's in a rear view mirror, the more I realize that looking at God would be like trying to see the Atlantic through a pinhole. Jesus, the Father, the Spirit--they're a mountain range that dwarfs the universe. This world is a pebble on the way to the trailhead. Yes, God be praised, he's given us the Bible, so we know enough about his character and his ways to fall on our faces and worship. But even so, anything we can say about him will have a cursory, half-cocked feel to it. Our words will catch mere bits and pieces of his perfection. So I think that at the best of times, it takes a courageous wildness to attempt to say things about God, and I'm trying to cultivate that.

Where does this leave the blog? More free and more deliberate, I hope. Sometimes, in a tribute to God's fierce and uncivilized glory, I would like to rip off paragraph-long posts and slap them up without any feelings of guilt. And sometimes, in recognition of the crushing weightiness of God's perfection, I would like to craft painstaking pieces that glisten with intent, they have been so carefully polished. God needs slapdash sentences and premeditated prose, both. I'm trying to learn, because I want to point people to him. And so, all this with his help. Here's the year number four.

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John B. said...

Happy blogiversary, Ariel. I keep forgetting that my own blog is a little older than yours--that's because, as your post here shows, it very early acquired its sense of purpose. That sense of purpose, expressed with such clarity, intelligence, honesty and wit, is its great strength, and it's why I keep coming back.

It's been my pleasure and privilege to visit and read and be challenged and inspired by what you do here. Thank you for this gift of yourself.

Many happy returns of the day.

Aoko said...

Happy Birthday, BitterSweetLife! Funny, May 29 is my mom's birthday too! Bless.

Andy said...

Nice, Ariel - happy anniverary, good friend.

Keep up the good writing, with the Big Guy's help, no doubt!

Dan said...

Happy Birthday BitterSweetLife! AJ, you have a gift and I appreciate you sharing it with all of us.

Will Robison said...

What is the correct term? Blogiversary? Blog birthday? Blog Season Finale? Blogabration? Blogbabbaloobopablogbamboom? Whatever it is, congratulations. Thanks for making the world a little more bittersweet.

Jamie said...

Happy anniversary, Ariel. Keep it up! I've been reading for some time and have always liked your blog, but I think you get even better with age. :-)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! May you continue to pursue Christ and writing with a seriously wild conviction and tenacity. I've been oh-so blessed to hear from God through your blog.Thanks for fighting through bloggers-block, difficult days, and moments of uncertainty by writing anyway. I know you want this blog to honor Christ and bless others- I see it happening!

Buying me off with chocolate and flowers, huh? I don't quite recall those moments... you can blog all you want if the gifts start pouring in!

Hint: I prefer fragrant wild flowers in hues of blue and purple and German chocolate, preferably with hazelnut cream. But why waste time with perishable items? Bring on the jewelery!

Your Wife

Ariel said...

Thank you all very, very much for the kind words. I'm humbled, and it makes me want to pursue blogging with more...more...well, more seriousness and wildness.

John B., if I ever write a book, I'll ask you to write a blurb for the back cover. Thanks for the thoughtful, encouraging words.

Funny, May 29 is my mom's birthday too!

I hope you told your mom this, Aoko. I know she'll be thrilled to learn that she shares her birthday with this blog. We'll call it "her" birthday because of seniority.

What is the correct term?

This is one of those parties where you win a door prize just by showing up. ;)

I prefer fragrant wild flowers in hues of blue and purple and German chocolate, preferably with hazelnut cream. But why waste time with perishable items? Bring on the jewelery!

Nice. But you're forgetting something, baby. Taking the longer view, jewelry is perishable too, right? Am I right here? Yes, yes I am. What's that? You're grateful for the sage words of theological wisdom? And you say they will pay dividends later tonight? Well, honestly, I'm just--Wait a minute...


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife