What’s in a name?

I named this blog at two in the morning on New Year’s Day.  In retrospect, this was probably not the best decision I could have made.

I spent New Year’s Eve with a friend from high school.  We had dinner and a few drinks, watched an old movie, and gossiped about our lives since August.  Her husband and sister came home from work around 11, and we counted down to midnight together.  I hung around long enough to make sure I was sober and headed home.

I’d been thinking about blogging all day.  I’m terrible at daily commitments.  It’s one of my least favorite things about myself.  I struggle with routines.  I get bored with sameness.  But even the most adventurous of us need some sort of ritual, some stability in our lives.  So I keep trying to become the kind of person who can do the same things over and over and over.

Because I’m so bad at this sort of thing, I didn’t have much faith that I would get very far.  So, I thought I would use a stupid, throw-away name that I didn’t really care about.  Something about words or writing, something that I wouldn’t be attached to.  I thought maybe I would stick with this long enough to get some practice in, but when I eventually failed, I wouldn’t be losing much.  Unsurprisingly, all of the unoriginal names I could think of were already taken.

At this point, I should have gone to bed.  I should have put the project aside and picked it up in the morning.  It was late.  I’d had a bit more to drink than I usually do.  I was tired and fuzzy and generally not on top of my game.  So instead of doing the reasonable thing, I decided that I couldn’t possibly go to bed until I had a name for my blog.

A few days after I got home, my family was discussing some aspect of modern church life, and my father quoted a piece of a poem.  Looking it up later, I found this:

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees

I’m honestly not sure why I used this as the title for my blog, except that maybe I feel like I’ve lived that way too long.  Certainly, there have been times when I’ve asked God to challenge me, to roust me out of my comfort zone, and he has generally answered that prayer with an enthusiasm that made me regret praying it, but there are some lines I’ve never crossed.  There are some curtains I’ve never really looked behind because finding a man instead of a wizard would have been too inconvenient.

Maybe that’s my real goal for the year.  Maybe it’s time to stop be unhappy with the church or with myself and to start being uncomfortable.  Maybe it’s time to stop avoiding those questions I’m afraid to ask.  Maybe it’s time.

Lord, help me to learn to live with the uncomfortable questions and to seek you as I seek their answers.


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