Twentieth reunion reflections…part 1

I forget that this little ol’ blog is out in public on the internet.

I had several people from my high school class say, “Hey, I found your blog!” John even said he reads my blog, as in, more than once. I wonder if they saw the look of panic on my face when they said it to me.

See, here’s the thing: I started this thing in secret, all for myself, to push myself to write instead of just moaning that I wanted to be a writer and didn’t have the time. Then, of course, I wanted to write for an audience, so I let a few select people know about it. Then I started finding Quaker blogs and Emergent church blogs and commenting, which led to links to my blog, which led to blog conversations and friendships with what felt like a small circle of people with a narrow range of interests…so I started writing to that target audience. Last January, I became aware that the blog got more widely “discovered” at church, so that caused the intended writing audience to broaden…a little. But with this reunion, I got jarred: what in the world could it be like for old friends, who may or may not care about Jesus at all, to read this?

I went to high school with a great bunch of people. I am totally serious: high quality, fun, great people that I respect tremendously. I’ll probably write more about that later. In fact, now that the party/gathering/mingling is over, I’m finding this desire to re-connect with some at a deeper level. I’m surprised at how easy it feels for me to slip back into those friendships, how easy it would be for me to open myself up and be real, beyond the “pastor figurehead” that I’m sure they don’t know quite what to do with either. I’m not sure if that feels as easy for the rest of my friends, but it does to me. I want to get to know them again, and be known by them…to talk about what they find truly fulfilling and inspiring, and vice versa.

Over the 48 hours since the reunion, I’ve realized a lot of things. I would really like to be able to talk about all of life in a real way with people outside of the little Christian sub-culture. Yet even with that desire, I realize past choices I’ve made that have added to the “bubble” atmosphere, this parallel culture or universe that we Christians create (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.)

This blog has been, I’m afraid, an unintentional bubble-blowing experience, assuming too often that those reading know and like Jesus. That caused momentary panic and minor feelings of guilt when I thought of high school friends reading it. What’s worse, though, is looking back to the first 5 or so years after high school, and thinking about the intentional barriers I built.

I chose to go to a Christian college and aimed toward a life as a pastor. And I bought into the sub-culture that said I had to be different, I had to cut ties, I had to separate from “worldly” things. Looking back, I think I consciously pulled back from my high school friendships, afraid that I wouldn’t have anything still in common, afraid perhaps of judgment from other Christians if I [gasp] hung out with people who drank or [shudder] listened to Van Halen. The sub-culture makes these weird rules about what’s ok and what isn’t. My world began closing in at the same time as it was expanding, narrowing its focus to the world of people who choose to follow Jesus.

I find myself at a much different place now, 20 years after Clackamas High School. I’m sorry for the walls I’ve built, intentional or otherwise. I’d like to tear them down, or at least find ways to climb over them, and just talk. I don’t judge by the same standards any more. I’m not threatened if you think differently than I do. You won’t offend me if you question my beliefs, or even if you don’t care about them. I’d like to hear what you think, what’s important to you, why you do what you do with your life…because many of you inspire me with the choices you’ve made to try to impact the world in a positive way. I still love baseball and The Nylons. I care more now about the injustice in our world, about the silent suffering of so many people. I have three girls and struggle to know how to raise them well. My wife and I wrestle with time pressures just like so many others, and there are many things I love about my life, and some things that I wish I could balance better.

So, Cavs, if you’re reading…I’m up for re-connecting. I’m sorry for sometimes acting like Christians don’t live in the same world as everybody else, and I’d like to change that. Drop me a line, or at least post a comment if you pop by again. (Digger, John, Doug, Jim, Aaron, Sandra, Bob, Todd…you included!)

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5 thoughts on “Twentieth reunion reflections…part 1

  1. Gregg:

    It was great reconnecting with you at the reunion. I would really enjoy getting together for lunch sometime. As for the blog, no need for panic. I find your entries insightful, thought provoking and yes, courageous. That’s what keeps me coming back.

    Your friend,

    John

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  2. Hey, I used to live in minor fear that one day my mother would read my blog. Not that I’ve written anything embarrassing about our family. Or that she wouldn’t love me no matter what I wrote. But let’s just say she’s not a religious fanatic like me. And really, there wasn’t much danger because she’s just not all that tech savvy as to be reading blogs. But then I happened to tell her that I had written an article and that it was going to be published in a big Quaker magazine. And she asked me to send her a copy. And I said sure, great. But then I realized it’s all about my blog, and my religious tendencies. So now she knows. It’s all for the best really.

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  3. I just want to take a moment to celebrate some things you wrote:

    1. Honesty doesn’t kill us, even with our parents.
    2. You’re a religious fanatic! 😉
    3. YOU PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE IN A BIG QUAKER MAGAZINE!!

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  4. Okay, so I’ll out you too. My article, “A Convergence of Friends” was just published in the October issue of Friends Journal. In it, I wrote about my new and cherished friendship with this evangelical Quaker pastor guy. Even before I came to Newberg.

    The theme for this issue was “What Are Friends Called To Today?” It also features an article by the Quaker blogfather. The whole thing is really well done, and I am honored to be in it. The two articles you can read online are also excellent, thought provoking, deeply Christian, and well worth clicking the link and printing out!

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