A Blue Room Reboot

Here's a note I sent to my email subscribers yesterday. I won't always post emails here, but this was a special one because it represents the re-launch of the email list. So if you'd like to be part of it, subscribe here so you won't miss a thing. Dear friends...

It's been a long time since I've been in touch with you, but changes are afoot and I'm excited to share them with you.

A few months ago I stepped down as pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church. It's been a wonderful 12 years in parish ministry, with the last five at the place many of you know as "Tiny Church." For the past few years I've been balancing pastoring with writing and speaking, and over that time the writing/speaking vocation has grown by leaps and bounds. Now I see my ministry as one to you all--church leaders, or not; seekers; the religious and the spiritual--those who are seeking to live authentically and wholeheartedly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.29.25 PMI'll be honest and say that this period hasn't been easy. Life feels strange untethered from a church. Being a "free-range pastor" has felt a little like Inigo Montoya at the end of The Princess Bride--he was so singularly focused on the path he was on that when the quest is over, he's not sure what to do with himself.

Unlike Inigo, I don't intend to become a Dread Pirate.

But I don't know quite what the next chapter will look like. I'm improvising it as much as possible, saying yes to opportunities and doing "the next right thing." I've got a few different book projects in development and am scheduling conferences and retreats for 2016. But it's the day-to-day rhythms that are all off. What does my "work day" look like? Who is helping hold me accountable? How do I decide what to focus on when so many of my deadlines are self-imposed?

I don't know.

One thing I do know, however, is that I want to keep in better touch with you all through this email list--not to promote my work (though when big things happen, you'll be among the first to know), but to share things I'm excited about and struggling with--bits of life and culture and faith--and to hear back from you about the things that make you wonder and struggle and celebrate.

This space is a work in progress, in other words. But here's what I do know.

This space will be a place for beauty. And creativity. We all get emails asking for our time or our money, yelling and clamoring for our attention. The Blue Room email will not be that. Instead it will be nourishing words, thoughts, links, and images that provide a little exhale in the midst of an electronic space that too often seems to pulsate with urgency and stress.

This space will seek to engage the world thoughtfully. One of my favorite questions posed by a professor I knew: would you rather be wrong or boring? I'd always rather risk being wrong (which is good because I frequently am), in the service of thinking about things in a new way and helping others do the same. There are plenty of places where you can get click-bait, pithy "listicles" and bumper-sticker platitudes. This is not the place for that... (though I do love a good listicle now and then).

This space will help nurture community. Yes, an email list is a mostly one-sided forum. But I love it when you respond (and replies to the email go directly to me), and I want to share the good work that friends are involved in.

What's the catch? There is none. This is my offering to you in gratitude for your support over the years. It's also way to nurture my own spiritual life, since I too need beauty, nuance and community.

But one note--I will be sending these messages a bit more frequently than once in a blue moon. I'm thinking 1-2 times a month. If you're in for that, do nothing and the emails will keep coming. [Or if you're reading this on the blog, subscribe!] If you're not, I totally understand--and you can unsubscribe easily.

Several years ago I named my website The Blue Room after the dining room in our house. We had three tiny children at the time and weren't using it as a formal dining room. So we transformed it into a study and an arts and crafts space. For me, "The Blue Room" symbolizes taking something that doesn't fit and doing something new and authentically "you" with it. That's the kind of journey we'll be on together. Who knows where it will lead? I hope you'll be along for the ride.

With a blessing, MaryAnn

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