Things have been quiet around the blog, but not around our house. Just a few weeks ago, we welcomed Alice into the world and became a family of 5. This isn't the usual theological post, but I thought we should have some pictures of the growing family.
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In the coming weeks, months, and year, I have a variety of new projects that I have in the works that I want to update you on. I’m super excited about the potential of these and want to make sure you’re in the loop.
If you’ve been on this blog for any period of time, you’ve likely come to realize that I want to talk theology in the language of ordinary, everyday people. I’m not afraid of complex doctrine or difficult church-language, but when I communicate the ancient truths of the Scriptures, I want the 30-year old dad to understand how this theology affects the way he does his work, loves his wife, and cares for his children.
It’s the beginning of a new year and that has me thinking about goals, ideas, and dreams. Some of those goals are personal and others of those are directly related to this little place here on the web.
I have officially completed my first year of seminary. Last fall, I officially jumped head first into this new journey of having my nights filled with writing papers, listening to lectures, and reading books by dead guys. And now, after one year of hard work, I’m still at it.
Here are some random thoughts after one year of work.
- I’m glad that I like to read books by dead guys. Because it helps with the reading assignments.
- Reading isn’t nearly as fun when it is mandatory.
- School is school. Even when it’s learning about stuff you like. There are classes that I enjoy. And classes that I dread.
- I have learned a ton. It’s been a lot of work.
- Since I’m a Vicar (like a Pastor-intern), I get to preach regularly. And that is by far my favorite thing I get to do. I love preaching and want to keep doing it as much as my church lets me.
- My best class and also my hardest class was called the Master Narrative and was taught by Dr. Charles Arand. That man was is a genius.
- I’ve been on campus this week and I’m amazed at the knowledge and insight of the theologians we have in the LCMS. These professors are some great thinkers and have me greatly encouraged as I think about the mission and ministry of our congregations.
- I’m only a little over a year away from ordination. That’s awesome.
- I’m incredibly blessed to be at church that supports me in this journey. And even more, to have a wife that puts up with me staying up all night to do homework.
One year down. Three to go.
My blog is officially 4 years old today. After 400 of posts over the past 4 years, it has been fun to see how the blog has changed, grown, and become what it is today. This blog wasn’t the first time I had blogged. I had a livejournal back in the day and even blogged while I was an intern for a short season. But four years ago, I decided to venture back into blogging.
Here was my first paragraph I wrote on rjgrune.com:
I’ve thought about blogging for a while now; I’ve struggled with the idea of why I’d do something like that, wondered if I’m arrogant to think that anyone would care what I have to think, and ultimately put my reservations aside and decided to go for it. Since I have spent a lot of time trying to decide if I would blog, I figured I should share my thoughts going into it.
When I started blogging, I initially blogged primarily about youth ministry and technology, occasionally adding in some random theology posts. At that point, I would’ve considered my blog primarily a youth ministry blog and also a way to promote some of my app development work.
I blogged because I wanted to, had no strategy, and slowly began to have people reading and interacting with what I wrote.
Now, four years later, this blog has grown up a little bit. I’m still motivated by my love for writing and sharing my ideas. And I still love the things that I have previously spent a ton of time blogging about.
The blog has matured as I have better understand what I’m blogging about. And it has matured as the community that is involved here has grown. This blog is all about theology for everyday life. This shapes what I write, how I write it, and the new ideas and dreams I have for my writing.
I honestly believe that good theology is not reserved for the academics, pastors, and dead guys, but it is for the people living everyday life. And as a leader who believes this, I do whatever I can to translate the ancient message of the Bible into the language of ordinary people.
This affects the way I write, the way I preach, and the way I talk about my faith in daily conversations. It influences the eBooks that I share with subscribers. And even the new podcast that I’m working on. It’s all connected around this crazy idea that the core doctrines taught throughout scriptures should be translated into the language of ordinary people.
So this is just a way to say Happy Birthday to my own blog and to let you know, I’m going to try to keep working with this crazy idea that when ancient truths are translated into everyday language that it changes people’s lives.
In the words of the beloved Steve Jobs, “Here’s to the crazy ones.”
You may have noticed some changes at rjgrune.com over the past month depending on how it is that you choose to read these posts. I have spent the past couple of months trying to find a way to freshen up the look of this site and also clarifying what it is that this site is all about.
Here’s an overview of what went on behind the scenes.
It’s important to me that this site is simple. Martin Luther said about preaching, “Stand up, speak up, and shut up.” If having a space on the internet is standing up and writing is speaking up, the simplicity in the design and style is the shutting up. This site has always been simple, but it’s been simplified and clarified even further than it was before. The categories should be simple categories that make sense. The design should get out of the way and let you read what you want to read. And the writing should all be simple. I want you to read great theology that has been preached for hundreds of years and for you to understand it and apply it. This happens by being simple. And so the writing will hopefully be simple and that will also hopefully be reflected in the design.
“Creativity is subtraction.” - Austin Kleon
Good theology is compelling. It’s beautiful. In fact, throughout history, good theology has always produced great art. Some of the greatest artists were also compelled by a deep, rich theology. I believe that this is just as true today as ever before. I’m not sculpting statutes or painting the cistine chapel, but this site shares my art. Film. Preaching. Writing. Design. I believe that the stuff I am writing is life-changing, and I want the way that it looks to reflect the same beauty. And that means that the images, the videos, and even the font choices should be stunning.
You may have noticed in a few different places around the site or in newsletters the phrase, “Theology for everyday life.” This isn’t really a new idea, it’s simply a way I am describing what’s been happening on this site over the past several years. Theology is a word that sounds old, stuffy, and out-of-touch. It sounds like something reserved for academics and dead guys. But I disagree. Theology isn’t for only for classrooms, theology is for everyday life. It’s my hope on this site as we simply and beautifully share the story of the scriptures, we experience something that impacts everyday life. I believe that the Gospel shapes all of life - my parenting, my relationship with my spouse, my friendships, my work, and so on. That’s everyday life. And that’s why theology is so important, because it affects all areas of our life.
A few days ago I posted about my soon-to-be princess; yesterday I finally met my little princess. She was born at 11:57pm on February 12. And since my family shapes the way I write and think, I am going to introduce Emmy to you with some pictures. I am being reminded now more than ever of my calling as the daddy of a baby girl.
It seems surreal to now have a daughter. And I really don’t have many words right now and since she's nearly one day old, why not start her digital footprint with some pictures by my sister.
And of course, remember a King has been born.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. - Isaiah 9:6-7
You may have noticed without warning I stopped blogging for the past month or so. It wasn't something that I initially planned, but I decided to go with it once I realized I stopped for several weeks in a row.
It's been just over two years since I've started this blog. After 255 posts, I have learned a lot about myself, my ministry, and becoming a better writer.
How cool is it that we get to live in a country where we are free to publish whatever we want online?
If you're not already listening John Mayer's new album Born and Raised non-stop on repeat, you should probably start. It might just be one of the best albums to come out this year.
When Elijah was born things changed. Certainly there were the typical changes to our lives that everyone would expect, like new sleep patterns and priorities in our lives. But there were also several new things that were previously unacceptable for a grown man, but now were completely acceptable because I have a young child.
My life got completely re-arranged about 8 weeks ago. When this little man entered into the picture, my priorities shifted and the way that I understood the love of God, our heavenly father, was put into a new perspective. It's unbelievable how much love I can have for my little man. In an instant, I was overwhelmed with love for Elijah for no other reason than the fact that he was my son. From the moment I first held him and every second since then, my heart has been filled with love for my little boy. There is nothing better than coming home from a difficult day at work and cuddling with my baby. There is nothing better than getting ready for bed and reading the bible to my wife and son.