A little over five years ago, I stopped blogging. I had only recently reformatted my then fledgling gospel music website Restored Magazine into a blog. It was much easier to maintain that way—especially since I was having trouble reestablishing a consistent schedule with my contributors. Just a few months earlier, my Sony VAIO laptop had crashed and Restored Magazine was forced to go on an indefinite hiatus. I had great plans for the relaunch after purchasing a MacBook, but things did not go as planned.
In the interim, I posted occasionally about things that were going on in my life. Since I was a divinity school student at the time, I made a point of explaining what I believed that God was teaching me through each event. I figured that it was a good exercise in viewing my life in spiritual terms and getting accustomed to sharing my testimony. In spite of being a minister, I was still pretty closed off to people at the time, but I felt that maybe I would be able to represent myself better through text.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. A post about finding the strength to keep moving in spite of disagreeing with people’s inaccurate perceptions of me ended up being misconstrued as me badmouthing the church I attended at the time. As a result, I was temporarily relieved of my ministerial duties. I would have left that church were it not for the fact that a good friend of mine was in the running to be its next pastor and needed as much support as possible. He ended up being installed as the next pastor a few months later, but I lost interest in blogging. I did not appreciate having my words used against me—especially by people who ever quite tried to get to know me beyond surface interactions. That quickly, Restored Magazine came to an end.
Since my exit from blogging, a lot of good things have happened in my life. I graduated with my Master of Divinity at Yale and returned home to Philadelphia to pursue PhD studies first at Temple and now at Rutgers. A little over two years ago, I was ordained and installed as the Executive Pastor of a small church plant where my cousin is the Senior Pastor. I have also managed to make a pretty solid group of friends who I thank God for everyday.
By all accounts, 2012 appeared as if it was going to be a promising year. I had been offered a position on campus that would take care of my funding concerns for the remainder of my PhD studies. Normally, I would have been suspicious of such a good offer. If anything, being in church so long taught me to be a bit leery of authority figures. Besides, this professor had a bit of a bad reputation. Four weeks after I started, the professor let me go. The reasons included reading too much for a research job, staying focused on my work instead of having nonsensical and superfluous conversations with coworkers, and being too thin. Needless to say, I was a bit confused and but I understood that my position was just another casualty of this professor’s ego.
Since I had already secured the remainder of my funding for the semester through student loans, I decided to enjoy my new freedom. There were a few projects that I had been trying to find time to work on for a while. The first of these projects was this blog. My friends had been telling me that my life was too ridiculous to keep to myself. I attempted to disagree with them, but I began thinking about how many times I had found myself in situations where all I could do was become convinced of God’s sense of humor all the more. Indeed, attempting to live a normal life as a single, young minister in a major city can be challenging, frustrating, and amusing at the same time. Still, I had intended on waiting until I was successful as an academic and then writing a book about some of my experiences. Then I remembered the trouble that I experienced in attempting to get a contract for my still-unpublished novel.
Now I’m back. This post was supposed to be a greeting, but I wasn’t sure whether I should say “Welcome” or “Welcome Back.” The reality is that the great majority of you have no recollection of my prior website. To you, I say “Welcome.” However, I will allow myself to be delusional this one time and say “Welcome Back” to any of you who have been patiently awaiting my return. I can dream, can’t I?