Faith seeking understanding #076: Coming face to face with yourself

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

Sometimes, all it takes
Is rounding a corner
To come face-to-face with yourself,
Face to face with your future,
Face to face with your potentials,
Face to face with your truest self.

And you realize
That you’ve been there all along
Waiting for you to drop the mask
And discover yourself anew.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

Faith seeking understanding #076: Coming face to face with yourself

Faith seeking understanding #075: A return, a recommittal, a new resolve

Photo by Taylor Nicole on Unsplash

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Folks who follow me may be surprised to see that I’m writing reflections again under the title of “Faith seeking understanding.” Although I swore off the series and thought I was bringing it to a close in #072: “Goodbye to “Faith seeking understanding”? I couldn’t envision an umbrella for another series that “felt” as right as this one.

Continue reading “Faith seeking understanding #075: A return, a recommittal, a new resolve”
Faith seeking understanding #075: A return, a recommittal, a new resolve

Faith seeking understanding #074: Give me success… but not yet!

Photo by Ian Kim on Unsplash

“Nothing succeeds like success.”

This is what we are led to believe by Sir Arthur Helps, who wrote these words in his book Realmah, published in 1868. For a long time, I had been inclined to agree with this sentiment. Then a minor success happened to me, and it really shut me down.

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Faith seeking understanding #074: Give me success… but not yet!

Faith seeking understanding: #073: Will my life even matter?

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Life is short. I think that’s true for everyone, but especially for some who aren’t “supposed” to die as soon as they do—as if we had a choice or a say in the matter. One of those persons who I don’t believe was “supposed” to die was Rachel Held Evans who died early Saturday morning, 04 May 2019. She had fallen ill with the flu, had a very bad reaction to the antibiotics she had been given, was placed in a medically-induced coma, and didn’t survive being brought out of it. She leaves behind a husband, Dan, and two daughters, aged three- and almost one-year old. She was 37.

Continue reading “Faith seeking understanding: #073: Will my life even matter?”
Faith seeking understanding: #073: Will my life even matter?

Day 001/100. An introduction to me: a queer/gay, Black, Christian intellectual writer… and the limitations of identity

Jon Carl Lewis. Photo by Cie Stroud. May 2016.
Jon Carl Lewis. Photo by Cie Stroud. May 2016.

Please allow me to introduce myself at the beginning of this hundred-day undertaking: my name is Jon Carl Lewis, and I identify as a queer/gay, Black, Christian, intellectual writer. I am cisgender and my pronouns are he/him/his. At the time of this writing I am approaching my mid-fifties and sort of smugly glad I haven’t reached the exact midpoint of that decade (I tell myself I have things I need to accomplish before then). I am transitioning spiritually from the first half of life to the second half of life, and I hope I’m doing it gracefully (see Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life).

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Day 001/100. An introduction to me: a queer/gay, Black, Christian intellectual writer… and the limitations of identity

Faith seeking understanding #071: What I learned from skipping a day of writing… or two… or three…

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Breaking my writing streak and skipping a day of writing taught me a lot. That missed day turned into a week of erratic writing, much of which produced no writing at all.

But I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m feeling okay with having broken the chain after reflection number 70, but the most important lesson I learned from the experience is that I am happier when I write every day. When I don’t have the expectation that I am going to write every day, I found that I, simply, didn’t write. Or, if I did write, I wrote sporadically. This doesn’t make me as happy as much as writing every day (or, every night, in my case).

Nevertheless, the break in flow taught me a few things that I’d like to remember going forward.

I need to write every day

First, I realized, as I stated above, that I need to write every day. Trying to write every other day, or a few days a week, or when I feel like it, just doesn’t work. I need to face the page and reflect every day.

I need to start writing even when I don’t know what I am going to write about

After I was away for a couple of days away, I became frightened of starting up again because I didn’t know what I was going to say. Of course, when I was writing every day, I often wasn’t sure what I was going to say until I started typing nonsense and somehow, magically found my way to writing reflections for 71 days in a row. I need to trust that the muse will meet me if I am faithful and let her know where I am going to be every day.

I need to remember the connection I have with my readers

I felt a special bond with my readers when I was writing every day. I knew that there was someone there listening to what I was typing, and that was a comfort to me. Of course, some days that made me self-conscious and worried about what I would produce and how it would be received. Nevertheless, for the most part, it felt good to connect with others across time and space. I need to be faithful to my readers so that we can encourage each other.

I don’t need to write a lot

I must remember that the idea is not to create perfect, long-winded essays (can they be perfect essays if they are long-winded?) but short reflections on a variety of topics. My original goal was to write two sentences a day. Most days I couldn’t stop at two sentences. In fact, I don’t think I ever stopped at two sentences. But a two-sentence reflection is quite allowed. I need to remember that it’s not the quantity that matters, it’s the honesty.

There are other things I learned, I am sure, but I can’t think of what they are.

Suffice to say, I am back to my nightly regimen.

I can sleep well tonight, knowing that I have accomplished one thing, stretched my writing muscles just a little bit, and communicated with someone from my heart to theirs.

Because the most important thing I learned from taking time off is the first thing I learned: writing on a regular basis—which, for me, means every day—just makes me happy. I hope that reading what I have written will make you happy too.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

Faith seeking understanding #071: What I learned from skipping a day of writing… or two… or three…

Faith seeking understanding #070: On the necessity of obscurity for fame

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

I am rereading Elaine Dundy’s chapter about me from the memoir that she is writing. I am reminded what a good comic writer she is; she also has a biographer’s sharp eye. For instance, she writes that while my clothes are never noticeable, Ken wears deep purple suits and Tom Wolfe’s white planter outfits are very showy indeed. They dressed to be noticed. I dressed to be invisible. But perhaps that is the difference between journalists, obliged to make a vivid daily effect, and those of us who write over the long haul, revealing, even in our clothes, the slow, dull, bovine temperament of the novelist.

—Gore Vidal, Palimpsest, p. 313.

Obscurity. It is what the writer fears most of all. Or at least most writers. Or, at least, me. Deep down, I want to be noticed, famous, lauded, preferably for my writing and, barring that, for my ideas (although I can think of few better ways to be lauded for one’s ideas than by putting them in print and publishing them). Nevertheless, as an aspiring novelist, I have come to recognize a paradox: in order to become famous as a novelist, one must spend an inordinate amount of time in obscurity.

Continue reading “Faith seeking understanding #070: On the necessity of obscurity for fame”
Faith seeking understanding #070: On the necessity of obscurity for fame