Whatever else might be said about me, it can safely be said that I do things for a long time.

I have lived in the same city for a long time. I have been married to the same woman for a long time, held the same job with the same community for a long time, and lived in the same house for a long time. And, I imagine 11 years counts as a a fairly long time for a blog to survive among the millions of blogs pouring an endless torrent of words out into cyberspace.

“In A Spacious Place” started on 8 July 2008 at Blogspot. After 74 posts at Blogspot it moved over to its current location at WordPress on 2 April 2010. I have been blogging in total for 11 years, during which time I have posted 2,996 times, 2,997 if you count today’s post on the 9th anniversary of my move to WordPress.

There are certainly days I have wondered why I bother with “In A Spacious Place.” But, on those days, I remind myself that, I do not write these words in the hope that they will make me famous or materially wealthy. I do not blog in order to convince anyone of anything or to prove that I am right in my opinions. I am not trying to change anyone. For me, blogging is a personal spiritual discipline.

2 April 2010 was Good Friday, perhaps not the most auspicious day to launch a blog at a new location, especially with a post that began,

Today is the day of death.

Today is the day of denial, the day of violence, injustice, and shame. Today is the day of darkness and defeat.

Today is the day when everything goes wrong; nothing turns out the way we had hoped. Today is the day when all our expectations, aspirations, and dreams are shattered.

Today is the day when the carefully constructed scaffolding of our lives comes crumbling down. We are left alone, stripped, naked, nothing but our tears for consolation.

Today is the day when everything comes to a dead-end, no escape, no way out. Today is the day of despair. Today is the day we never want to face. Today is the day we spend our lives scheming to avoid.

But, of course, I did not end with this dark disturbing vision. I concluded my blog that day 11 years ago saying,

Yet even here, some hidden force unfolds. Life stirs. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.”

Some mysterious power has been unleashed. An enclave of life has been breached in the forces of death. Defeat has begun to turn. Like a chink in the armour of despair, the lifeless body of this one man has created a crack in the hard shell of death. The “good” could not be contained. The deeper nature of the universe has begun to arise.

I have experienced this reality again and again over all these years. This blog has traversed what I called back in 2010, “rivers of sorrow.” The world has suffered unimaginable horror in the decade plus I have been observing through the eyes of this blog. I have seen communities I know experience the terrible pain of division. I have watched people I know and love go through darkness that it is inconceivable anyone could survive.

It is always tempting to look away from the pain. But, if Good Friday tells us anything, it tell us we must never look away. We must never pretend that the pain and suffering are not real. We must have the courage to stand by the broken and bear with the burdened.

“In A Spacious Place” has been my attempt to keep myself from looking away. I have used this platform to try to help me keep my eyes open. I have sought to see as clearly and as honestly as I am able and to be as authentic as I can about the realities I see in myself, in the church, and in the world we share. It is often a painful picture, but it is part of the nobility of being human to continue to behold life in all its darkness and to stand in the midst of the chaos with honesty and hope.