You said you had a big announcement coming today. What is it?
The announcement is this: Right now you are reading the final post on this blog. Ever.
So you’re shutting this blog down?
Well, I’m going to stop writing any new posts for it. But the blog will still be here. There’s no deletion or anything. If, at some date in the future, you want to know some stuff about Harold Camping or what I think about the “Farewell, Rob Bell” carnival and/or Love Wins or why one of the most controversial things I did was when I blogged about taking back a snap judgment, you will always be able to find those posts. As long as Beliefnet stays around, I guess.
Well, that’s good news. Because I like to start each day by reading your “Family Portraits with Jesus” post.
So are those photos.
Why are you shutting down the blog?
Three reasons. The first is that I started this blog — in fact, I joined up here at Bnet — around the time O Me of Little Faith released. I wanted to support the release of the book by blogging about it. So I did. That was last May, and it’s been a year. No one wants to spend his or her entire life writing about doubt, so it seemed a good time to bring this season to a close.
What’s the second reason?
Being a religious blogger is tiresome. I love religion and theology and all those things, but it’s such a divisive topic. Regardless of what you say, people start yelling.
You don’t like when people yell?
I don’t mind the yelling in general — bloggers need to develop a thick skin for that kind of stuff — but there comes a point when I’ve begun to wonder if it’s doing any good. A friend of mine on Facebook compared religious chatter with a dog she used to know who barked non-stop at the wind. THE WIND. Sometimes religious blogging feels like a big pile of barking at the wind. All light and no heat. (To mix metaphors extravagantly.)
At any rate, I’m not just closing the door on doubt-blogging but blogging about religion in general. It’s probably not permanent, but I need a break from it. I’ll keep doing some stuff at FaithVillage and will likely contribute to On Faith on an infrequent basis, but not so much here at Beliefnet.
And…now you can commence with the weeping?
No one’s weeping. You said there were three reasons. You’ve only listed two.
Oh. The third reason is that I’m starting a new blog.
Your personal blog at jasonboyett.com? That’s not news.
No, not that one. It’ll stay around, though. Actually, I’m starting a new blog about an entirely new subject.
Cats? Ferrets? Michael Bublé being stalked by a velociraptor?
No. It’s about fatherhood.
Gasp. A daddy blog?
Well, it’s about being a dad and a writer. My kids are almost too old to call me “daddy.” Instead, they call me “Captain.”
I’ve never read a Captain blog before. Is that a Star Trek reference?
I’m just kidding about the Captain thing. The new blog is called Dadequate: Ordinary Adventures of a Write-Brained Dad.
What’s it about?
Me. Being a dad. Thoughts on dad stuff. Things I try to do. Miscellaneous daddage. And maybe some writing-related stuff, based on the subtitle.
Why the fatherhood topic?
Because blogs are only good when you’re passionate about the subject. And you know what I’m passionate about at this stage in my life? It’s being a good dad.
And ferrets. Don’t forget ferrets.
True, but ferret blogs are a dime a dozen. Also, there are bajillions of mommy blogs in the world but a much smaller number of fatherhood blogs. Beliefnet and I thought it would be a good fit.
Ugh. You’re staying at Beliefnet? Everyone hates those ads, remember?
Yes, but the new leadership at Bnet are good people and they are working hard to make it a better destination online, including making the ads less intrusive. I am cautiously optimistic.
When does the new blog start?
Today. Here’s Dadequate.
Do you have any closing thoughts?
Just that I’m very grateful for so many readers who created a fun, fulfilling community here at OMOLF. I loved getting to know you and sharing your stories. The thing I’m proudest of is having created a safe place for people (including believers and non-theists alike) to ask hard questions, explore the topic of faith and religion, and be encouraged. I’ll miss that.
But I hope you’ll follow me to the new blog, even if you’re not a dad. If you do, you’ll probably get to know me a bit better.
Will the new blog have self-interviews?
Of course. Why would it not?
Watch it, buddy. I’m the one asking questions here.
Fine. See you at Dadequate.
On Monday, author Adam McHugh delivered a guest post about the “snarling 8-headed monster” of the writing process. Today I return the favor — sort of — via an interview at his blog, Introverted Church. We talk about how my introverted personality has impacted my faith and doubt, and how the extroverted nature of the evangelical church can be a challenge for people like me.
From the interview:
How do you think that introverts might process doubt differently from those who are more extroverted?
I think this goes back to your descriptions of introverts as possessing a thoughtful temperament and a slower, deeper interior life….Most of my doubt is intellectual–not the relational doubts of “Can I trust God?” or the experiential doubts of “Where was God when…?” but the even bigger questions of logic, anthropology, literary influences and science. That’s an analytical kind of doubt, and once it takes up residence in your brain, it’s tough to shake. I think extroverts may process doubt more on a relational level — “I don’t feel close to God” — and those are feelings that can resolve and seasons you can grow out of. You get better over time. But when you process God on an analytical level, feelings have nothing to do with it. You don’t grow out of or away from knowledge. Once you know something you can’t just ignore it or let it go, and so many of these intellectual doubts then become a constant challenge to your faith. And, being an introvert, you’re not always likely to want to talk through them, so it becomes a private burden, a daily argument in your intellect. It can lead to an even deeper level of isolation from the rest of the church.
And thanks, Adam, for turning the spotlight toward us introverts.
When the rapture didn’t occur as predicted on May 21, 2011, Harold Camping had a few options. Here is how he could have responded to the failed prediction, in descending levels of crazy:
1. He could announce that he was wrong. This is the most reasonable option and was therefore unexpected. I would have been shocked had this happened. Failed prophets rarely do this.
2. He could announce that God, in his great mercy, had intended to bring judgment on May 21 but decided against it as a result of the faithful efforts of Camping and his followers. This is the so-called Jonah scenario — based on God’s plan to destroy Ninevah but then backing down once Jonah gave warning. Disclosure: this is what I expected Camping to announce.
3. He could inform us that he got the math wrong, recalculate, and come out with a new date. Camping has done this before, when the rapture didn’t happen according to his first timetable, having predicted it for September of 1994. That was an option then, but let’s face it: It’s hard to get away with this too many times, as Edgar Whisenant found out in the late 80s and early 90s.
4. He could announce that his prediction was right, regardless of how it appeared. That’s right: it DID happen, we just didn’t see it. The predicted judgment day happened right on schedule, only it was invisible or spiritual. This is by far the weirdest option, taking a page out of the old Charles Taze Russell rapture playbook. (Russell gets credit for first coming up with the yes-in-fact-it-did-happen-only-it-was-invisible scheme back in 1874. This strategy went on to be appropriated a number of times by the Jehovah’s Witnesses for their failure doomsday predictions.) It’s insane but very very convenient, and this is exactly what Harold Camping did.
Last night, in an address on his Open Forum program on the Family Radio Network, Camping spoke about how he felt when the May 21 scenario seemed not to have occurred:
“I can tell you very candidly that when May 21 came and went it was a very difficult time for me, a very difficult time,” said Mr. Camping, 89, a former civil engineer. “I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind, I went back through all of the promises God has made, all of the proofs, all of the signs and everything was fitting perfectly, so what in the world happened? I really was praying and praying and praying, oh Lord, what happened?”
Thankfully, he figured out what happened. In the same program, Camping announced that May 21 hadn’t been the expected visible judgment day but an invisible, “spiritual” one. God’s judgment really did begin on May 21, he says, but on the down-low. Which means the end of the world will still occur on October 21, 2011 — only our “merciful and compassionate God” will spare us the chaos and tribulation of the next few months. So maybe there’s a little of #2 in there after all.
“We had all our dates correct,” Camping insists. And though it was spiritual this time around, the cataclysm won’t be spiritual on October 21. “The world is going to be destroyed altogether, but it will be very quick.”
“The world,” he said, “has been warned.”
“Yes, we have,” the world answered back. “Multiple times, thanks to you.”