New Beginnings While Searching for the Old

I’m not blogging very often these days, but when I discovered a few weeks ago that my website had been hacked and that everything I had written had been wiped out, I decided to see if I could figure out how much I’d lost. I found that I started blogging almost 10 years ago, and as best as I can tell, I wrote close to 1,000 posts. 

This was in the days before The Facebook or The Twitter, so there’s quite a few things I’m not sure would constitute a blog post anymore. But still, most of it was lost in the hacking. I’m working on getting some of it recovered, by essentially paying a high schooler to search the internet archives to see what he can find for me, but the majority of it seems to be completely lost. 

A few people said to me, “this is a great opportunity to start fresh”, which is true and a nice way of looking at it – but honestly, I’m pretty bummed to lose what I wrote. It was a chronicle of what I was thinking at the time and how I was processing leadership, becoming a father, theology, and what I thought was funny. I was writing when I was working on my Master’s Degree, when I had my first kid, and when I became Lead Pastor. I was also blogging my flight numbers so Allison would know when I was flying, my story of inventing the Frappuccino (so that I had a source I could reference when I was changing the wikipedia entry) and pictures of Santa bowing down to Jesus Christmas Ornaments…so not sure whether or not those get to count as a loss. 

I was having lunch with a theologian today who made the comment that at the end of his life, Martin Luther said that if he could recant 95% of what he had written, he would. He had grown and changed beyond what he had written. If you’re not growing and changing in how you lead, how you understand God, how you relate to Jesus, you’re probably stuck in an unhealthy place. There has to be room, especially for those who lead and teach, to be able to process new information, to question old assumptions and to publicly adapt and even contradict themselves. 

It reminds me of conversations that I have sometimes with married couples who are having a hard time. The husband will say, “but she’s different from the person that I married…she’s changed.” To which, I’ll usually reply, “Did you want her to still act like the immature 22 year old who didn’t have responsibilities now that she’s 45?” Of course she changed…that’s a part of the maturation process. 

That’s a long way of saying that over the past 10 years I’ve come to understand some things differently. In theology, I’ve developed a more robust understanding in some areas, I’ve changed my understanding in others, and have had wrenches thrown into things I thought I had figured out. My understanding of effectiveness and success in church has evolved. My sense of humor…well, it’s pretty much still pretty much the same…I guess that hasn’t changed much. The past 10 years has seen some of the most significant amount of change in my life. 

But, some random hacker, for a reason I’ll probably never know, robbed me of the ability to go back and see all of the process of that growth. I should be able to recover some of it, but most of it will be lost. At one level, I should probably be glad, because unlike Martin Luther, I won’t need to recant what I wrote because it’s gone and no one (not even my grandma!) saved it. So, there’s several things I probably should have to answer for in some way, but never will. 

This is how we move forward. We don’t forget what was behind, but we don’t let it define our future. So we search to understand our past because it helps us to make sense of our present, but we can’t live beholden to the past, otherwise we’ll never move forward. 

So, I guess, here’s to new beginnings while we keep searching for the old…