Greetings and welcome to the first blog post of Sinner Born, Sinner and Saint Bred! I have always been intrigued by blogs and have had the desire to start my own for quite awhile. Now that I am a graduate and starting to settle into my new job, I figure now is as good of time as any! First, an explanation of the blog title. It’s a play on the mantra of the University of Oklahoma: "Sooner born, Sooner bred (and when I die I’ll be Sooner dead)" with one of the fundamental truths of Christianity commonly referred to as Simul justus et peccator, or simultaneously Saint (Justified) and Sinner. One thing that is not emphasized in the blog title that deserves some attention is the simul, or simultaneously. That is, as Christians living on this side of the Resurrection, we are not just saints in certain instances and sinners in others, but rather everything we do is infected with the disease of sin that we have inherited from birth (Psalm 51:5, Rom. 5:12; Rom. 3:9-26). Fortunately for us, we have a Savior, the very Son of God, who came into this world in human flesh, lived the perfect life, fulfilled the Law perfectly, took our sin upon Himself, and died on the cross so He could take on the full punishment of sin for us. Three days later He rose again from the dead, bringing with Him all authority on Heaven and on Earth to be the one true salvation for all sinners. His righteousness, His perfect death and resurrection is given to all those who believe and have been united with Christ in Baptism. His forgiveness and perfect atoning body and blood is given in the Lord’s Supper. His forgiveness, life, and salvation are given in His Word. Therefore, those who believe are justified, a saint, while at the same time always a sinner. Not just occasionally, but continuously and simultaneously. We are sinful in everything we do. We are forgiven in everything we do. This is the life of a Christian until the Day comes where our sin will be completely removed from us and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and join Christ in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.
As most of you in the blogosphere know, blogs take on different styles or focuses. Whether that is journaling life experiences, publicizing a portfolio, allowing future employers to see writing skills first hand, or even just sharing an opinion about a particular subject, blogs tend to take on different shapes and forms. One of my recent inspirations for starting a blog comes from Pastor Eric Brown’s post Made to Grow over at Confessional Gadfly:
One of the things I get told over and over by people is that I am to cherish these moments while my son is an infant. It seems as if I talk to folks at any length of time - oh, this is such a good time, love every moment of it.
And I do... but... well. This time isn't the point.
I was at my parents' house a few days ago, and my mom had a picture of Victor from around 7 months ago, right after he was born, and seeing it, I was struck at how much he had grown. This didn't make me nostalgic... it made me pleased.
I mean, I loved my son 7 months ago... but now, he's much more active and responsive. We have our own little customs and games that we like to play (he likes to try to eat my arm while I change his diaper... I said it was a game, I didn't say it was chess). His personality is so much more developed; I know who he is and what he is like so much more.
But even this -- this isn't the point. Soon, he will talk. And then there will be even better communication. And he will grow in wisdom and stature. First there will be toddling, and then wiffle ball, then playing catch -- then even more.
We were made to grow. We were made to mature and develop. Parents have a job -- it's to guide their kids into adulthood -- where they are functioning, responsible adults. And that's what I'm eager for. It's something I've tended to think is what parents should be eager for...but hopefully the day will come when he doesn't *need* me anymore. And that will be a good day.
We were made to grow. This is a good thing.
Pastor Brown’s thoughts here on growth and learning will be the focus of my blog. Every day I find that I am constantly growing and learning the ways of the world and the Word. This type of growth does not end at adulthood, but carries on all the way until we are called out of this world. Every one of us begins our lives with little to no knowledge of anything. As we grow older, our knowledge grows by seeing how this world and the people and things of this world functions alongside us. Even more so, we grow in the knowledge of God by what He has revealed to us in Scripture about how He has intervened in the lives of those in the past who were also in this same repetitive cycle of growing and learning.
I’m now in a job where I’m going to constantly make mistakes. The software is outdated and very hard to use (although we are getting a full upgrade next spring). The training for claims adjusters is taking 9 weeks and for good reason. This last week I began taking the first notices of loss from real people who have been in real accidents and put everything I’ve learned so far to the test. I made mistakes. I’ve learned from those mistakes and will keep making more mistakes and heck, I will make many mistakes more than once! I look back at the beginning of my job and I already see so much I’ve already learned. I’ve learned the best places to go after I get off to wait out the OKC traffic. I’ve learned that I have to discipline myself to not read on my breaks because those are the times that my co-workers are all using to socialize and getting to know each other better. I’ve learned how important it is to record everything that I am doing with the customers so I can reference it and learn from it and keep a track record so I don’t, say, pay out on a claim twice. Not properly keeping track of my claims could easily be a one-way ticket back to the job market! The only way I keep this from happening is learning how to be more organized and efficient.
I have many goals for this blog. Now that I have graduated and don’t have assignments to pressure me to keep writing, having an outlet to continuously write will allow me to retain and develop further the writing skills I’ve learned in college. One thing I have also discovered recently is that I don’t seem to retain certain lessons learned if I am not constantly reflecting day after day on those lessons, leading me into greater chance of repeating mistakes I have already made or making mistakes on things I have done well in the past. I’m hoping this blog will give me another means to reflect on these things I’m learning.
I’m also a natural sharer, so most of my blog posts will be me sharing things from people I’m reading, blogs I’m surfing, things in the news, and everything in between. I admit that I am very young in my intellectual development, so many times when I post, I simply want to let the author speak and maybe I and my readers can talk a bit about it in the comments. Other times I might have some of my own thoughts I want to add on to the thing I'm sharing. I am thinking of also starting a Twitter that will allow me to share even more things in a more concise and frequent manner. Another big motivation to starting this blog is because Facebook has become so mysterious about whether or not people will be able to see certain posts in their news feed. I’ve also discovered through my years of Facebook sharing that certain people do not wish to see any bit of what I’m sharing, while others like and comment on just about everything and have even told me they like that I post the things I do. While of course a blog doesn’t guarantee that those who like what I share will see every post every time, but blogs have a better way to be followed than Facebook. There are many ways to go about this, but I will briefly detail how I keep track of blogs through what is known as RSS feed readers. For those who don’t know, many websites and just about every blog give off an RSS feed on each post. What you do is get an RSS feed reader (I prefer Google Reader) and subscribe to the blog or website, and every time the website or blog is updated with a new news article or blog post, the new post gets forwarded straight to your RSS feed reader! Really all this does is it lets you keep track of the websites and blogs you like to follow without having to go to each URL every time you want to check. With that said, subscribe to me!
One of the challenges I face taking on this new project is time. Time (or rather, the lack thereof) is the reason why it’s taken me so long to even start a blog, and even now that I’ve graduated, time is still really hard to come by. I am working 40 hours per week, but also commuting about 7-8 hours per week as well, which gives me about 3-4 hours each weekday that I’m not working, driving, or asleep. I figure, though, that many of those whose blogs I follow are able to grow a family, minister to a congregation, speak at conferences, and STILL maintain a blog, then certainly I can amp up my time management skills and at least post from time to time. Speaking of frequency of posts, since running a blog is a new venture for me, I am expecting posts to be pretty irregular. I am also hoping to learn both Greek and Hebrew (or at least Greek) in the coming year as well, so that will also take up a lot of those few hours in the middle of the week that I’m not working, eating, or sleeping.
So, dear reader, is the beneficiary of this blog you or me? I want both myself and my readers to get as much out of this blog as possible. Join me in my goal of constant growing and learning about the eternal Word and the temporal world. A common thing heard in today's culture is that it's a dog eat dog world and individual achievement and ability to learn on one's own is what will make someone stand out and be successful. It’s just not true. We are utterly dependent on those who love and care for us, most especially our Father in heaven. Join me in the discovery of new and old things we can learn and always improve upon. Interact with my posts in the comment section. Speaking of commenting, please see the link above for my comment policy which I have mixed and matched how other blogs handle their comments sections. This will probably get edited from time to time as I learn how to interact with comments. As this is the first time for me to blog, and just like all of us in our first times to do anything, we learn and make adjustments when we err. Please forgive me in advance for the times, especially in the beginning and especially regarding comments where I make mistakes and learn and make necessary adjustments.
If you haven’t figured it out already, the content of this blog will primarily be theological in nature, but I will also share other things, especially those things I feel I know least about, like being healthy, good exercises, organization and time management skills, or even trying to develop my EXTREMELY limited cooking abilities. So don’t be a quiet reader and interact in the comments on posts that intrigue you!
Sinner Born, Sinner and Saint Bred will take largely from sources from a Lutheran Christian perspective (the one that holds a quia subscription to the 1580 Book of Concord- because it agrees with Scripture and not the one that holds a quatenus subscription- in so far as it agrees with Scripture), which if you don’t have any familiarity with this confession of Christianity, you'll find out very quickly that we don’t always say what our world wants us to say if it’s opposed to that of Scripture. Lutheranism tends to offend the old Adam in us way more often than it pleases our sin-corrupted consciences. Where the Bible speaks, we listen. For a better summary of this worldview, check out this page.
Life is about making mistakes and learning from them and being forgiven for them. Hopefully this adventure can be one additional way for me to learn more from my mistakes and maybe even make more mistakes to learn from, or maybe even learn from the mistakes others have made!
Maybe something you readers can help me learn about already are cautions when blogging and putting myself out on the Internet in such a public way. What has been your experience? What lessons have you learned? What have been some of your bigger mess-ups?
Till next time!