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The Illusory Splendor of the Moment Now Made Tangible

Writer's hands typing at a computer. To the left, sheets of typed paper with edits and crumbled up paper. The title of the blog is, "The Illusory Splendor of the Moment Now Made Tangible."

I wrote a short story the other day.


I spend a lot of my time writing. In fact, I’m doing it right now (as of the time of writing, perhaps not true at time of publication)!


But I have never thought of myself as a “writer.” The problem being, most of my public-facing work is through written word (or reading aloud something that I wrote). Identity is a stubborn thing. It hardly exists for about a decade, then it changes every five minutes, then you hit a certain point and it becomes unshakeable. I cemented my identity at a time in my life when writing was not a huge component of my life. But something has happened over those years. I’ve changed.


But through that time, I had still never even considered that I was a “writer.” Now, you’ll find people who disagree with this characterization. Probably someone whose entire livelihood is based on what they write would scoff at my meager output. Novelists are writers. Journalists are writers. Playwrights are writers. Pastors are only writers if they’re the kind of pastor that writes books. That was the way I saw myself. “I’m not a writer because I’ve not written a book.”


But I wrote a short story the other day.


Was it good? No. Will you ever read it? NO! Was it almost deliberately overwritten to the point of being incomprehensible*? Yes.


But I wrote it.


I’ve still not written a book. But I’ve written a blog post. I’ve written a lot of them, in fact. I’ve written sermons. I’ve written prayers. I’ve written announcements and newsletters and bulletins and news updates and and and.


And I’ve written a short story.


Identity is stubborn and you may not realize that it changed until something happens that forces you to reassess. I wrote a short story, and I realized that I liked writing it. And I realized that I liked writing it because I like writing. And I realized I’m a writer.


Who are you? What do you do so automatically that you don’t even think of it as part of who you are? What identities lurk inside of you, waiting to be affirmed?


As a church (or we could also say as a Church), we’ve pretty much cemented our identity. We know who we are and what we do. Until something comes along and forces us to reassess. That time is now. The drastic and encompassing changes of the world are forcing us to look again at how what we do matches who we are. We can only do this if we’re willing to. It’s a vulnerable thing. It could mean losing parts of our identity that previously felt essential. It could mean gaining parts of our identity that we’d rather not have. But we can do it. The only way we will survive as a community is to do so.


*A sentence from this story reads, “Then, the vista felt united in its disregard for joy, as if it were a large column of soldiers clad in various shades of languor.” This is a very embarrassing and vulnerable thing to post.  There are even worse sentences, but you’ll never see them.


Peace,

Rev. Jeff Fox-Kline

Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church

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