Making Changes: An Update On Spiritual Parent
If you follow this site, you might have noticed that things have been quiet around here since late July.
My intention had been to take a break for the month of August so that I could focus on simply being present with my family—which now includes a baby girl!—before the end of summer and my return to the classroom in early September.
However, after a few important realizations—none of which came easily—I’ve decided that this break needs to be extended.
First, a little bit of context. I started this site over a year ago to address a specific problem I noticed when I first became a parent: the lack of resources for parents who are progressive Christians and/or “spiritual but not religious.”
This problem still exists, so I think it’s important to continue building this online community, which I think of as a unique kind of ministry. However, after some prayerful reflection, I’ve realized that, at this time, I cannot continue to update the site with new content every week.
It turns out that parenting a toddler and an infant, teaching full-time, studying theology and ministry part-time as a graduate student, and running a regularly-updated website on parenting and spirituality is, well, unsustainable.
Or, more accurately, it’s unsustainable to try to do all of these things well.
Truthfully, over the course of the summer, I had started to feel overwhelmed in general, probably because the transition from one to two kids is hard. No doubt about that. But expecting myself to do lots of additional work on top of trying to be a good dad and a good husband is too much right now.
This realization hit me last week like a sudden punch in the gut. Not to be too dramatic, but I really did feel like I had been leveled by it. I love all of these different parts of my life, and realizing that I couldn’t do it all was painful.
When I feel overwhelmed, my instinct is not to take things step by step —to thoughtfully and methodically figure out what changes need to take place.
My instinct is to burn it all down.
I told Katie I was feeling like I needed to drop out of my graduate course, maybe drop out of my graduate program altogether, and shut down Spiritual Parent. Otherwise my life would feel like constant chaos.
Katie, always wise, encouraged me not to do anything rash. She said I should consider dropping the class I’m taking right now and maybe taking an extended break from Spiritual Parent.
I sat with these suggestions for a bit, and I ultimately decided to make two changes: first, I will stay in my course (and definitely stay in my graduate program) but recognize I won’t always be able to give my studies the attention I want to give them.
Second, I will continue to run Spiritual Parent, but I would only update occasionally for as long as it takes me to feel like I can update it regularly again.
Honestly, I have no idea how long this will take.
I have been told by friends and family members with older kids that life does get a little easier as infants and toddlers start to grow up. I know parenting will never be easy, per se, but I am hopeful that in the coming months and years I will slowly find more time for Spiritual Parent.
As I mentioned earlier, this work is important to me. The Religion News Service just published a news article last week that detailed how challenging it can be for progressive Christian parents to find resources that are not fundamentalist or conservative.
So I’m going to continue with this work, with the knowledge that it’s not going to be everything I want it to be right now. Despite this, I am feeling hopeful.
This site has had some wonderful contributors in 2019, and I’m in the process of welcoming more new contributors. My goal for this site is not, nor has it ever been, for it to be my personal blog. I want it to be a community—a community that offers articles, inspiration, and other resources for spiritual seekers, particularly those who identify as progressive Christians. The more people who contribute, the more it becomes a true community. (Side-note: If you are interested in contributing an article or a poem, you can learn more here.)
I also have some exciting interviews coming up with folks you’ll love. One of the best parts of running this site has been directly connecting with folks I greatly admire, such as Diana Butler Bass and Brian McLaren.
Finally, for those who are currently subscribed to Spiritual Parent, after today you will no longer receive an email every time a new article is posted. Instead, I will send out a true newsletter every time the site has at least three new articles published—and this newsletter will briefly preview each of the new articles and also include a personal note from me and a few recommended books, video clips, podcast episodes, and/or songs. I am just as inundated with emails as you, and I want any emails you receive from Spiritual Parents to be high quality resources—not just notifications.
So, in short, exciting new content is coming. Just not as often.
To those of you who have followed Spiritual Parent for a while, thank you. I’m glad you’re still here. To new readers, welcome. I hope you’ll join this community and subscribe to the new newsletter.
I’ll end with a quotation from Father Richard Rohr, whose daily meditations and books were part of the inspiration for creating this site. Given the personal situation I outlined above, Rohr’s words seem particularly apt:
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
Cheers to that.