An Introduction

After being told by several people I should, and being inspired by my brother-in-law’s recent efforts, I am officially throwing my hat into the proverbial ring known as the blogosphere.  My primary goal in this endeavor is purely personal and selfish.  I need a place to let some stuff out.  It has been a rough couple years and I am really good at holding things in.  Two things that tend to be destructive when mixed.  I figure it’s time to be really good at letting some stuff out.

But fear not, although that is my primary goal, it is not my only one.  I would still like people to actually read what I have to write.  So I will not be the blog equivalent of that person that decides you should know everything about them, no matter how personal or awkward, within the first minute of meeting them.  Causing you to express compassion on the outside while inside you are looking for any exit strategy possible.  I believe we should get to know each other first before I make you feel awkward and want to run away.

My secondary purpose for doing this is reflected in the blog’s name, Fallow Grounds.  I believe we are all living on a landscape that is full of areas of fallow ground that we have convinced ourselves will never bear fruit.  When we look at the world around us it can feel hopeless.  It can feel like there are certain things that will NEVER change.

Maybe for some it is something far away like global poverty and war, perhaps something a little closer to home like the economy, or even closer like a loved one’s alcoholism or an unrelenting loneliness that has made its home in your heart.  Whatever your fallow ground might be, I believe it’s possible for that ground to bear fruit again.

To do this all you have to do is pray for Jesus to come into your heart and you will have hope and a happy life.  He will cause you to ignore your past mistakes so they do not have to be dealt with.  And if you happen to repeat old patterns, always remind yourself it was the devil’s fault.  Also, read your Bible and pray.  This one is really important.  And remember, when reading your Bible, understanding and retention is far less important than just doing it… Just kidding.

Although I do have hope, it is not a naive hope that ignores the harsh realities in our world.  Fallow grounds are not easily made into fertile soil.  Sometimes as we start to dig through the rough dirt and find it to be deeper than we expected.  But if we truly desire a more fertile landscape both in our own life and in the lives of others, we must choose to pick up the proper tools and get to work.

A good place to start is open and honest conversation.  Conversation that does not ignore biases but embraces them as a celebration of another person’s individuality and uniqueness.  Too many times we use a person’s biases to demean them and create division.  We exist in a culture that seems to thrive on justifying opinion by demonizing opponents.

This is why the subtitle of my blog is Incomplete Thoughts on Life, Culture, Scripture and God.  I view the world through this particular set of lenses: life, culture, scripture and God.  None of us are immune to the lenses of life and culture.  We all have personal biases based on family dynamic, education, class, race, etc.  We also are not immune to culture’s influence on our worldview either.

There are, however, some lenses that are unique to us personally.  Lenses that we do not all have in common. Scripture and God are two of my unique lenses.  These things are always going to weigh in when I am evaluating any issue.  They are two things that strongly influence my worldview.  Sometimes they we will be displayed prominently in the fore front and other times they will be subtle.

There are times, however, when the unique lenses we view life from will be inadequate.  Which makes conversation so important because without it we will never learn to see through the lenses of someone else.  Many times the reason we have convinced ourselves that certain things won’t change is because we’re looking at the same problem through the same lens.  Doing that will always lead us to the same conclusion, and you know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same result.

Maybe if we all stopped trying to change the world and instead tried more to be open to change, things might seem a little less hopeless.  So what  if no one ever reads a word we write or listens to a word we say.  Maybe just being an active participant in the conversation will help break up some of the fallow ground in our own hearts.  At least then we’ve accomplished something.

– Breaking Through The Surface


7 thoughts on “An Introduction”

  1. “Maybe if we all stopped trying to change the world and instead tried to be more open to change…”

    It is so much harder for me to open up to change than to force everything around me to conform to my lenses, but opening up is probably less stressful and, like you said, more hopeful. I think this is what education does for me intellectually, but I’ve found little ever changes on a personal level.

  2. Jeff, I am thrilled to get in on the very start of what I know will become an excellent ongoing dialogue! Your statement, “We exist in a culture that seems to thrive on justifying opinion by demonizing opponents,” is so true. Too often, we don’t hear the pros and cons of a topic thoughtfully challenged or defended. Instead, asking questions just leads to personal attacks. It is such a shame that even in the church, questions and debate are so threatening to some. I am currently reading, “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller and was pleasantly surprised to learn that he held question-and-answer sessions after his services for anyone who wanted to stay and engage (or just listen). What at refreshing idea!!
    I was also challenged by your statement, “Fallow grounds are not easily made into fertile soil.” It just so happens that composting is a recent interest for me, so that statement has fresh meaning. You are absolutely right! I was rather surprised to learn just how difficult and labor-intensive it can be to bring fallow ground back to fertility. Why should hearts or lives be any different? Somehow over the years, I have gotten the idea that simply praying for “more fruit” should be enough. But clearly not, it takes work! However you’re also right in saying there is hope!! Your statement has given me much to think about. You have such a unique perspective; I look forward to seeing more of the world through your “lenses”!! Thank you!

  3. I dig it. (sure, pun intended.) I’d be up for having some conversations, even face to face eh? Glad that God has brought you guys into our sphere for this season.

  4. Many times the reason we have convinced ourselves that certain things won’t change is because we’re looking at the same problem through the same lens.

    I’m really glad you are doing this.

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