How are you, friend?
The last time I wrote to you, it was 2017.
Now it’s 2020, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
Surviving a pandemic wasn’t one of my goals for the year. It probably wasn’t one of yours either.
As one religion professor told his students last month, nobody signed up for this.
Nobody signed up for this.
The assumptions many of us held for the first 120 days of the year, assumptions about the right places to be and the right people to serve and the right priorities to pursue—a good grip of those assumptions no longer stand.
We can’t call people together in person anymore. We shouldn’t be calling people together in person anymore, even when we still can.
Many of the people I might be gathering online are online all week far more than they’d prefer, and they’re pulling back now.
Even I’m pulling back now, and I’ve been very online and happily so since 1998. I’ve been drawing on my crisis resilience reserves for the last four weeks, and if I ever had unusual patience for garden variety people doing the usual range of nonsense, I don’t have it now.
Because these aren’t usual times. Nobody signed up for this. We're going to be in "this" for longer than we first thought, and there are so many adjustments to make.
Lots of folks are pushing out content right now.
The pandemic’s spreading, so much changes day to day, and there’s plenty of news and commentary to stay abreast of. As leaders and organizations have shifted from in-person to digital, too, more people than ever are posting, podcasting, or publishing.
I’ve been unsubscribing from that content about as quickly as it comes in, even when it’s content I’d typically like.
I do enjoy good work, whether it’s technical, analytical, artistic, or spiritual. But I’ve been freeing myself from high volume newsletters left and right and will unsubscribe from a few more before this month is out.
It’s the right time to trim, decline, and consolidate so that good options can get more of the attention and energy I have.
I’m giving myself back a little more mental room while I’m managing an abrupt transition to full-time remote work outside of the state I’m usually in and taking on more daytime responsibilities in and out of work.
Surviving this pandemic is a full-time effort for me. I can imagine it is for you too.
So I thought: before I come back into your inbox again, I should check in with you one more time.
Do you still want to be on this list?
I started writing again this year. A few of you are subscribed so that I can share my latest devotional and meditation series with you (more on that in a minute).
Others of you came onboard back when I was writing and publishing every day, in 2016 and 2017. Though I won’t be writing daily now, some of my new posts will be publicly accessible. Others will locked and available only to people who have signed up and want to dig in with me.
That means two things.
First, if you no longer want to be on this list, this week’s the best time for you to unsubscribe.
You’ll get a new reflection if you’re still on the list this time next week.
Second, there are now a couple of paid subscription options to support my research and writing, but you won’t be in or out based on whether you can pay. It would be a trash move for me to throw up a hard paywall during a global crisis!
So if you want to receive all of what I share going forward, not just the public material, let me know and I’ll make sure that you can, no questions asked.
If you do stay on the list, thanks, and we’ll connect soon.
In the meantime, I wrote a week-long devotional and meditation series for Our Bible App earlier this year. The series builds on Bible stories and poetry to explore qualities like grounding, will, expression, and connection.
The series is embargoed until June, which means I can’t share it outside the app until then.
What I can offer is an annual subscription to Our Bible App for the first five of you who want one. Subscribing will get you access to my series as well as a library of thoughtful content from writers all over the U.S. The editors post new writing every week.
Let me know if you’re ready to read that now!
More from me here next week.