I am trying to do the #Blogging101 course led by WordPress. Although I’ve been blogging for some time (since about the time that I was undergoing the events that would lead to my first book, Reborn on the Fourth of July), I have never tried to improve my short form writing, at least not determinedly. I can’t say with any certainty whatsoever how consistent I will be, but there’s no excuse like a bad excuse…
The #Blogging101 question today is “Who am I and why I am here.” I actually ask myself Why quite a bit, at least in terms of the Blogosphere. In 2005 I started out just posting updates, like a personal email, but on Xanga instead. Since that time it has kept a kind of archival quality to it, but it has never really been my intent. To be honest, I probably posted because I could, because I thought I had something to say. What that usually centered around, being as I was still on active duty but trying to think theologically about war, was the ideas surrounding military violence and the people who undertook it, like myself.
The reason I am here is to help make sure that conversations and ideas about war are never severed from the people produced by war. Very quickly, as I started reading and studying, I felt quite alienated from war by those calling the thing they do “theology.” The questions and concerns I brought to theology were not those being pursued by theologians. I am here, as someone affected by war and committed to theology in its many forms, to make sure others after me don’t feel the same alienation between thought and practice, between ideas and people that I did.
“Who I am” is much more complicated. Human beings are like that; complicated. There is no way I could get into every idea or passion I have in one little blog. Besides theology, for example, I am a bit of a coffee nerd. I’ve also skateboarded competitively, which I probably should leverage to think theologically, but it is just not meant to be. Though this blog will continue to have a certain archival character, I have identified three callings that represent critical vocational aspirations I have, as an Author, an Advocate, and an Academic. I will try to keep to these three vocational callings central to the blog and not veer to far from them.
Finally, the #Blogging101 prompt suggested students reflect on what “success” would look like for their blog. It is important to me that the conversations I have witnessed as a student, scholar, and professor be improved. I don’t want others like myself, trying to think critically and theologically about war because they are trained to wage it, to feel the same alienation I did. Fortunately, I have had the privilege of seeing success already as some veterans and family members have expressed their gratitude for what I write and do. I have already ‘succeeded’ and I hope to continue to do so.
With that in mind, success would also mean that all those senior faculty members and esteemed theologians, who have had to ask me how to interact with soldiers and veterans, do not have to ask me any more. Success means the conversation itself has shifted away from abstractions and speculative theology to a careful consideration of ideas about war that begin with its lived experience (rather than the other way around, of forcing people to conform to ideas disjointed from lived experience).