I was at church Sunday morning; a rare occurrence for me these days. As my attention span ebbed and flowed, I heard words in the Pastoral Prayer that caught me—not because they were convicting or inspirational, but because they made me mad.
The pastor alluded to our need to ask forgiveness for paying more attention to email, cell phones, and blogging than scripture, prayer, and service. I am still mad.
It’s not the first time I’ve considered it—the connection between my spirituality and blogging; but that prayer got me to thinking (and blogging—God, forgive me) in a more concise way. The two are not, nor should they be, mutually exclusive. And for me, they have served and enhanced one another in powerful, transformative ways. I would go so far as to say that blogging has become a manifestation of my spirituality—my prayer.
I have known many seasons, frankly many years, in which my spirituality has been sterile, isolated, hard work. It has been taught and understood as a discipline with specific activities and manifestations that somehow mark or define me as a Christian. But blogging has not felt anything like this. It has been a gift. The antithesis of sterile, segmented, hard work, it is messy, integrated, and life-giving. Call me crazy, but this seems far more consistent with what spirituality ought to be about, how it ought to be defined, experienced and “practiced.”
Mary Oliver’s poetry never fails to speak to me, to express something in words and imagery that I otherwise could not. Her poem, Five a.m. in the Pinewoods is no exception. Consider these three lines:
So this is how you swim inward,
So this is how you flow outward,
So this is how you pray.
She captures what blogging and spirituality have become for me: rhythm, movement, breathing, introspection, expression, ever-shifting currents. So this is how I pray; this is my spirituality—articulated and lived: I blog.
Blogging has created this vast and expansive context through which I can express my thoughts. Sometimes they are deeply profound or heart-wrenching. Other times they are silly and irreverent. And often they are just whimsical, hopefully thoughtful collections of what is going on in my head and heart. My blog posts are ways in which my spirituality is made manifest, ways in which I both speak and listen, am heard and spoken to.
“Wherever we may come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual.” (David Steindl-Rast)
Blogging invites me again and again to come alive – to live boldly, out loud, and in truth. Blogging is a space in which I can dream, think, imagine, process, lament, and grieve. That is spiritual. That is prayer.
So this is how I pray. Not like the pastor in Sunday’s service—calling me to “higher” forms of spirituality; but in the virtual world, on a screen, through my keyboard, in the heads and hearts of those who read what I write, reaching the eyes, ears, and heart of God, experiencing life—abundantly.
I’m not as mad as I was on Sunday. Writing this post definitely helped. It reconnected me with what I know to be true, what I know brings me life. Indeed, it is my prayer. So this is how I pray.
Ronna Detrick Miller received her MDiv from MHGS in 2004 and then served on staff until March, 2009. She is now launching her own business: Renegade Conversations through which she offers coaching, spiritual direction, consulting, and speaking on ways that women and the systems within which they live and work can be reimagined, recreated, and restored.