Welcome to "Written Without Ink." For our first entry, let's talk about the reason we are all here. No, not in the philosophical or theological sense - I simply mean the purpose of the blog (such a trendy word). Why am I writing this? Why are you reading it?
The reason I am writing this is becuase there is no room in the bulletin. Let me explain this: I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful ministry team at the West-Ark Church of Christ. All of us bring our unique talents and experience to the team. David Chadwell has served as preacher, teacher, writer, and all-around servant for over eight years. He is still here. My role is to be a preacher, teacher, writer, and all-around servant too. Sound redundant? It would be if David and I were automatons following a mathematically detailed program. Thankfully we are not, and God has given each of us our own way of participating in his mission in the world. I know that it defies the typical model of a "senior pastor" leading a single congregation, but this is God's work and he creates his own models.
Early in my work here David and I would try to discern just who should be doing what in our individual roles. (I often commented that we were "off the map" because we aren't following the typical model of southern American churches in the last fifty years. Yet, I believe we are following God's model for kingdom relationships). That sort of reflection is good for us, for the church, and for the community we serve because not only have we focused on our own talents but we have paid attention to how we compliment each other. That spirit of teamwork has, I hope, spilled over into all the relationships of our ministry teams.
Anyway, let's return to the bulletin comment. David writes the front page of our church bulletin. It's always a good read. Even though he has graciously offered many times to give me the front page I have to admit that I don't feel right taking it. David's a good writer. It is part of his calling to write. (See it for yourself http://www.davidchadwell.com/) Of course, there are other pages in the bulletin and I certainly don't have to have the front page (I ain't no Pulitzer writer!), but pages two through four are taken up with good material also. Our youth and family minister, Brad Pistole, has a columnn there and from time to time our new campus minister, John Priester, includes news about the Lions for Christ. (You can find out more about all of these at the West-Ark website, http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/indexf.html) No one should be deprived of these in the weekly bulletin. Though the printed bulletin only has four pages, the webpage has no such limitations. Since we are and have been using our website so well for communication, I decided to move my literary real estate to cyberspace rather than the printed page.
Of course there are other reasons I am writing this blog (still a trendy word), and it is not simply because I can set my own deadline. I have felt the need to do this for quite some time. That interest has only increased since my sermons have been published on the church website. Yesterday I received a most interesting call responding to one of my sermons that confirmed the value of this communication forum. Maybe I will share that with you sometime.
Another reason I am writing this blog (trendy, eh?) is suggested by the title of this journal (this word is not so trendy). "Written Without Ink" is not simply a reference to the fact that this article has not been printed on a risograph or offset press. The title is inspired by 2 Corinthians 3:3 . . .
"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
This journal is an extension of my ministry - not just to the West-Ark family but my ministry to the world God loves. It is intimidating for me to consider that I am a letter from Christ. If I take that seriously, and I do, then I want to open the envelope so you can read the message. My hope is that when you read this blog, you will read the story written by God in his excellent prose even though he is writting it on a rough chunk of brown paper bag like me. My other hope is that in reading this journal you will consider the message that Christ is writing on the tablet of your heart.
Which leads to the reason you are here - reading this blog I mean. Maybe you are a friend, a family member, part of the West-Ark family, or just a wayfaring cyber-stranger, a believer in Christ or one who doubts. All are welcomed to read. I will write it, you can read it, and perhaps you will write back, but we will all reflect on the reason we are here - and this time I mean it in the philosophical and theological sense!