Earlier this week, I started looking through my old bookmarks to see what I could delete. When I got to the folders with a lot of Christian blogs, I decided to go through and make another visit to make sure the blogger was still blogging. It also gave me the chance to remind myself why I had bookmarked them in the first place. I'll probably have to redo my blogroll soon.
I was a little surprised how many blogs I came to that had been abandoned. Some had final posts of explanation, while others lamented that they hadn't been posting much but would be soon. And while I can't say I'll miss them all, there are a few that I really wonder what happened.
Of course I understand the fact that lives change, time constraints are placed upon us, and all the while we feel like we're cheating someone with our lack of attention. I've said for the last two years that this blog wasn't going to make me it's slave, and I think I've stuck to that. But at the same time, I know there are areas of my life which could use more attention. So when I click a link to a blog I used to read and find a blank page, I feel some sense of happiness for someone who decided to devote more time to something or Someone else.
At the same time, I know there are many who just grew tired of the fad. It was cute to have a blog for a while, but soon it became more trouble than it was worth. Guilt over the gaps between posts would sink in, then a feeling of desperation or failure would hit. And no blog is worth that, right?
I've been getting on my congregation about the way we do ministry -- as individuals and as a church. With so many demands on our time, carving out an hour or two for actual ministry is tough to do. And in a small church, if only a couple of people make the time, so many needed things are left undone.
At our church, we have to learn to think outside of the traditions and habits we've developed. Offerings are way up and Sunday School attendance is plummeting to new depths. It's like we can give our money, but keep your grubby mitts off my time.
I'm trying to do some weeding out of my own life. There are a ton of things on my plate and a few more side dishes which need to be crammed in there. So I'm trying to do a little Spring Cleaning -- tossing out what really isn't productive time. Blogging stays because I know God is using that to speak to us. Well, mostly me. And I don't feel like I should shut Him off.
TV is going by the wayside. Outside of football games (GO BEARS!) I rarely have time for it anymore. And most of it isn't worth the trouble. In December I discovered that the satellite receiver wasn't working. I called the fine folks at Direct TV for advice on how to fix it, and they wanted to send a repairman to collect $75 to fix it for me. I declined semi-politely and told them semi-politely that I would try to fix it myself first. Well, for three weeks, the TV sat dark except for my daughter's Strawberry Shortcake DVDs. Until the one day I started checking cables only to find that one cable had come disconnected from the set. Fixing the problem took approximately 1.84 seconds. But once I got it up and running, I realized how much I had enjoyed the silence. Maybe God used a pulled cable to get something across to me.
I realize the same thing could be happening at my church. We hold tightly to something because we are used to it, not because it is effective ministry. Giving up a ladies missionary group or a particular hymnal is a big deal if someone has invested a lot into it... sorta like as much as I have in a satellite dish and TV.
The Bible tells us that as fruitful disciples (which are the only kind of disciples to be), from time to time, God will clean our vines to make us even more fruitful. But when it happens, do we sit and mourn the grapes we lost, or do we look forward to the new fruit?