I mentioned before that I subscribe to 88 other Christian blogs. I am ashamed to admit that since that post (only last week!) I’ve added three more. I don’t expect others to be as interested or to read that much. I barely expect myself to be able to follow everything. But with so many voices online, all with similar interests if dissimilar doctrines, I often wonder if I am adding anything to the conversation.
In other words, if I filled this space with bullets for everything I’ve read (that I think is worth passing on- only a small fraction of content from those 88 sources I share either through my Facebook page or via a RT in Twitter) would what you get out of this site be any different than what you get out of it now? (Assuming of course, that you’re at least getting something from my 600+ posts)
I recently got an e-book to read on my commute (as if I need something else to read!) and was checking out its reviews on Amazon. There were a couple of negative reviews, noting that the content was unoriginal and was derivative of another blogger’s work. Those reviews prompted the response that the works are similar because the two authors run in the same circles (or swim in the same waters if you prefer that metaphor), and it soon became an accusation of this blogger versus that blogger (the 21st Century version of he said she said).
I’ve attended a few writers' conferences and my insecurity going in is always questioning myself whether I have anything worth sharing, a story worth telling. And I always come away with the same encouragement- my story is not your story. Even if we witness the same event, my experience- how I perceived the event and what I took from it- is unique to me. You might tell the same story, but you will tell it differently. And chances are, the people I tell my story to are different than the people you will tell your story to. So there is value in both of our stories, as similar as they may be.
I wonder if the Gospel writers had this same insecurity. Imagine John Mark writing his account of the life of Jesus: “Geeze, no one has ever heard of me and I’m only riding on the coattails of Peter. Maybe someone else should write this, like that Q guy from Star Trek” (kudos if you get the joke) Or what about Matthew: “You know, Mark already got most of this down. I don’t need to add anything. But Mark was missing a lot of Jewish theology and Messianic prophesy, yet I don't want to come across as critical of his work. Not to mention I’m not a writer, I’m a former tax-collector. And it’s clear from what Mark wrote that no one liked me in the first place. Who would read what I have to write?” Or Luke: “Dammit, Theophilus, I’m a doctor not a historian! (two Star Trek references in the same post?) There are already other accounts of Jesus’ life, I don’t need to add to all of that. And who wants to read about what happens after Jesus dies? I mean, that’s pretty much the end of the story isn’t it? I don’t think anyone would really be interested in all the times I was hanging out with Paul. He killed Christians for a living, I’m not sure I want the world to know we’re friends on Facebook.” Or what if John was insecure about his book being so much more radical (pun intended) than the other best-sellers on the shelves?
Can you imagine if these writers remained silent because they felt the story was already told?
So my story may not be unique. My insights may not be that innovative or original. But this is my story, and it's worth being told.