Weekly Blog - Andrew Grinnel - Word for Today
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Posted on: 5th October 2023
I don’t find the process of writing easy. Some days I’m struggling to find the right words to say. Take this blog post for example. I’ve spent the last hour mind-mapping ideas about what I might say. My hope is that I write something that is helpful and offers fresh insight to those who read it. Yet, nothing seems to capture my imagination. If I’m uninspired by my potential words, then where would that leave the reader?
So, what might spark the imagination? I’m wired to believe that experience is a great source of reflection upon what it means to follow Christ. I was brought up in the Salvation Army. Our worship services regularly included ‘testimony times’ where the floor was open for anyone from the congregation to witness to what God was doing in their lives. Often this took the form of recounting something that happened in the week and reflecting upon how this in some way helped their walk with God. So, as I sit here, I’m thinking through my last week, but nothing seems noteworthy enough to merit recounting.
If personal experience fails, I should consider what I see happening in society. I scan a few news pages on the internet and note things that surely need a bit of theological reflection. They are filled with questions about truth, justice, and integrity. Yet, I’m not sure whether my commentary adds anything to the cacophony of other voices.
With these initial sources of inspiration lacking, surely reading a stirring quote will help. Behind me rests hundreds of books most of which are theological in some shape or form. I turn to select something that should provide a pithy quote. Having scanned a few of them I realise that nothing is grabbing me, little is taking my attention or inspiring me to elucidate upon it and relate it to what seems to be currently going on in the world.
Surely scripture will help. Having tried the trick of flicking through and stopping on a random page in the hope that the Holy Spirit reveals the perfect verse, I turn towards favourite passages of Scripture. Isaiah 61, Philippians 4, Galatians 5, and John 1 are all re-read but the thought of rehashing a previous thought leaves me cold.
At this point I am now panicking. The deadline for this blog post is nearly past and nothing is sticking. My faithful sources of inspiration seem to be lacking and I don’t quite know why. It’s not that the written word has changed, nor that God has stopped showing up in the everydayness of life, or that theology doesn’t render some critique of society or offer an alternative way in which we may relate to one another. Rather, nothing seems to be the right word for here and now.
At this point I become aware that the issue is probably not with the external sources of inspiration but that which is internal to me. It’s possibly that life seems to have rattling along over the last few months at a ridiculous pace. Without going into detail, I seem to have had to contend with a lot of challenges on a variety of fronts. Most of these have called for my immediate attention when I have had to quickly read situations, discern what is going and try to speak and act in a way that helps bring positive change.
And now, with an opportunity to say something profound I’m struggling to know what to say. In fact, I’m struggling to know where to begin and so, with nothing left to say silence interrupts my words.
I am still.
I become aware.
For a moment, my addiction to saying things is disrupted, and the silence where God is near breaks in. Maybe it’s not my thoughts but God’s silence that is the Word for today.
By Andrew Grinnell, Urban Life