The other night I was bugging my daughter and my husband to click on my blog (stats were really low) and mentioned that it would be even better if they actually read something while they were there. My daughter said, “People don’t want to be preached at you know!” That gave me pause. I looked up the word preach on the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and found three definitions.
1 – to give a religious talk in a public place, especially in a church during a service
I would say that except for this being a public forum, the blog is not an example of this sort of preaching. I do take services at several churches as a supply when needed but there are hours of preparation involved in this, studying Lectionary readings, selecting hymns, writing or finding prayers and then ultimately writing a sermon. These entries take some time, but not nearly as much as a service would.
2 – to tell people about a particular religion, way of life, system, etc. in order to persuade them to accept
While I do make reference to Christianity and Christian scripture, I hope that the underlying issues and values may be shared by people of any religion or even those without religion in their lives. If someone finds inspiration to learn more about Christ that would be great but it is not my goal.
3 – to give somebody advice on moral standards, behaviour, etc, especially in a way that they find annoying or boring.
I assume this is the definition that was in my daughter’s head when she made her comment. I hope this is not what is happening with my blog entries. What I write here is largely the equivalent of my thinking out loud as I deal with issues and ideas from my life and which may be similar for others.
Whichever definition was meant, I’m glad that it came up. As a teacher I am sharing information and ideas with my students all day long. Obviously I am careful not to bring religious issues into my lessons, but I don’t know that I do as good a job of avoiding a preachy tone. When we talk about issues like prenatal development and I am making note of the dangers to the fetus of drinking and doing drugs I wonder now if I break into preachy tone. It is important to get these messages through to the students so there needs to be some balance between information being accurate and just shocking enough to keep their attention.
So, in future blog entries I will continue to bring up issues that puzzle or intrigue me. I will continue to share information when I have it, and I will continue to share the source of my inspiration, my hope and my support. If that is preaching, so be it!