Pens Have Eyes

I woke up and it was still dark outside. Through blurred vision I made out the three numbers on my phone… 2:30 in the morning. I gave a mental fist pump that I still had several hours to sleep and then rolled back over and closed my eyes. Sleep didn’t come. Instead, a singular, peculiar thought kept creeping into my mind, “I need to start a blog…”

To realize how odd this is you must know two things about me. First, I  have recently come out of a season of life called “grad school,” in which I was required to read and write a seemingly inhuman amount. Let’s just say that papers and I were not always the best of friends during seminary.

Second, you must know that I am a bit of a technophobe, especially when it comes to social media. At the time of posting this blog I have literally never used Twitter or Instagram, I check Facebook five times a year, and really only frequent a small handful of websites. So believe me when I say that no one is more shocked about this blog than I am.

What’s in a Name? 

But let me delve a bit deeper into my motivation.  In Psalm 119:130 we read that “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” I love this idea of unfolding. It reminds me that the words of God are not meant simply to be read, but pondered, explained, and mediated upon. It reminds me that even when I cannot yet see it, there is a luminous treasure in the meaning of the text waiting to be discovered.

Here’s the crux of the matter. When it comes to unfolding God’s Word, one tool has aided me in my quest more than anything else– a pen and paper. That late night epiphany from a few nights ago would have come to nothing if it were not for the conviction that I see further with a pen in my hand. As I write, far off concepts are often thrown into sharp relief on the page or screen in front of me.

John Piper puts it this way,

“I know not how the light is shed,
nor understand this lens.
I only know that there are eyes
In pencils and in pens” (When I Don’t Desire God, 124).

This poem describes my hope for this blog– to peer further into God’s word and world by wielding the magnifying power of the pen and keyboard.

In Need of a Dance Partner 

I said earlier that writing papers in grad school often felt more like a burden than a joy. But nevertheless, I simply couldn’t help but notice the benefits. As I wrote, I found my thought life flourishing. My all too familiar fogginess of mind seemed to be blown away by the winds of the written word.

That season of life was unique because I knew that my words would actually be read by someone else, which is not the case with most of my writing. When I journal I don’t expect my words to be seen by others. Sure, there’s the remote chance that someone will invade my privacy or pick up my ponderings after my death. But for the most part, I journal in such a way that really only needs to make sense to me. And often this kind of writing requires less care.

This isn’t the case when writing with others in mind. Writing that will be published is akin to a dance for two. Whether it’s swing or square dance, each partner needs to account for more than just beat and genre. There’s actually another person there with real live toes waiting to be stepped on. Dancing with a partner requires a special kind of precision and so too does published writing (yes, even if its a blog).

So, I’m inviting you into the dance. I’m praying that as we read and write that God’s Spirit would give us insight. That we would find grace to peer further into the mystery of Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). And that as we share these good things together that God would allow our sight to give rise to delight.

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