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Moving On

This is the 777th post on BeDeviant.com. It’s also the last post on this site. There are also 777 words in this post. After seven years of actively posting, sharing, thinking, challenging and changing, I’ve decided to bring this journey to a close.

There are lots of reasons behind this decision, but I’ll briefly share three main ones.

Reason #1: Different Interests

It’s no secret that I’ve left my job working at a local church and joined the team at Monk Development. I’m also able to work with wonderful human beings like Charles Lee, Brad Abare and Tim Schraeder on a regular basis.

After graduating seminary, I realized very quickly that I did not want to be a local parish pastor. That might seem like the epitome of irony, or even that my experience at sem was negative. Quite the contrary, in fact. Bethel helped me to see, in fuller detail, the cost of being a pastor in the 21st century church. After graduating I quickly came to the conclusion: I am not a pastor.

Many of you reading this are, in fact, in pastoral roles. I cannot tell you how much respect and admiration I have for you. I’ve been in your shoes at one of the largest churches in the U.S. and can say, unequivocally, you have one of the hardest jobs on the face of the planet. The pressures, the demands, the struggles—you are most certainly gifted with a strength straight from God’s hand!

That said, BeDeviant.com was an online dialogue of the struggles I was facing as a pastor. The frustrations, fears and anxieties that I faced working for a church. Since I’m no longer on church staff, those struggles, thankfully, have disappeared. With that, most of my writing material has gone with it!

My focus is much more specific now, dealing primarily with web and online ministry. Rather than trying to continually morph BeDeviant into something it was never created to be, I decided it was best to simply stop the train.

Reason #2: Too Divisive

I was afraid this day would come because of the subject matter on this blog. My main intent through the years has been to challenge, but sometimes that’s difficult to do faithfully.

BeDeviant, by its very nature, causes eyebrows to raise. That can be a good thing until it isn’t. In the past 12 months, I’ve been asking the question if being divisive is what I want to be about. The answer, thankfully, is no. My intent, obviously, has never been to create conflict, simply reflection. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always translated well.

Some of  you have been hurt, angered and frustrated by the things I’ve written. I’m sorry for that. BeDeviant.com was started with the idea of challenging people to think differently about their relationship with God. I think BeDeviant has served its purpose in doing that, but at a price. Shutting this site down is me saying, “Holy Spirit, I trust you to challenge people where they need to be challenged. When appropriate, use me.”

Being a unified Body in this day and age, is more important than ever. I want to work towards doing that. I’ve tried to do that in the past few months, but moving in a direction is what’s need to make that happen more fully. Please join me!

Reason #3: Falling Flat

The traffic on this blog has plateaued for the past 12 months. I don’t think it’s reactionary to look at that and say, “This may be as high as the ceiling gets here.” If you know anything about blogging, you know that there are certain “niche” markets to get in to. I’m afraid the “Lutheran-postmodern-ex-pastor-theologically-generous” niche is all dried up :) .

That’s not to say the only reason that I write is for traffic, but the amount of time and energy that goes into writing a blog like this is, in a word, substantial. There are so many of you wonderful people who have read this blog since its inception and I cannot thank you enough for it. Your emails, notes, tweets and encouragement blesses me more than I can say. But sometimes, “You gotta know when to fold ‘em.”

So, What’s Next?

I’ll still be blogging. Quitting that would be next to impossible. I’ll be at JustinWise.net talking about blogging, social media, productivity, and my life (on occasion). I want to share what I’m learning in the space with all of you. I’d love it if you joined me or grabbed the RSS feed.

You can always reach me on Twitter as well. @JustinWise for those who don’t know!

Words cannot express what our conversations through the years have meant. I’ll simply wrap things up by saying “Thank you!”

May God bless you and yours.

Peace,
Justin

Intoxicating

What’s keeping your from being great? No, seriously. When you look at what you’re doing, are you satisfied with the results? Are they subpar? Mediocre? Less-than-stellar?

What’s keeping you from excelling and being great at something?

Is it fear?
Doubt?
Disbelief?
Laziness?
Bitterness?
Self-sabotage (ooh, that pinged someone right there. I can tell. Even through this computer screen.)?

Only you can say for sure. The rest of us can only guess.

What’s keeping you from being great? I don’t want  you to look back at your life and think about how you could have done things better. I want you to leave it all out on the table–for better or worse.

Don’t let the allure of the “good enough” steal you away from creating a life that you can be proud of.

 

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the last week of active posting to BeDeviant.com. It’s been a wild ride, but it’s time for newer, deeper interests! Have you ever needed to transition out of something that was good but not great?
  • CWC was this past weekend. Did anyone here go to it?
  • I had to knock down a bird’s nest by our door three times. Poor little guy kept building it on top of one of our porch lights. Can’t have that birdie flying into the house. Shoo, bird!
  • Just learned that my hometown, West Des Moines, is Forbes.com’s number one best place to raise a family.
  • My wife and I just got into Glee on Netflix. Why did it take me so long to find this show?
  • John Daker with subtitles.
  • I hope you’ll be continue to read my blogging efforts. I’ll be moving permanently to JustinWise.net. It just makes sense. I don’t work in a church anymore, I’m a dad, a husband, and I wear sweater vests. The “deviant” title just doesn’t fit anymore.
  • Palm Sunday > Easter might be my favorite liturgical season of the year. Tradition seems to be a four-letter word anymore, but the ritual of Holy Week, attached to the Spirit, is a powerful tie to the Church Universal. Does your church celebrate Palm Sunday?
  • Found some old books while sifting through seminary stuff. Two books that forever changed my life: With Christ in the School of Prayer and In Over Our Heads. If you want to get the gist of my seminary education, order and read these two books. Multiple times.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Distributing Wealth

I recently heard a pastor say something along the lines of the following:

If you were to evenly distribute all the wealth across this whole country, so that every person had exactly the same amount of money, down to the penny, in five years the people who were rich would be rich again, and the poor people would be poor again.

If nothing else, it certainly will make you think. So, what do you think about that?

Caption Please!

Caption Please!

Caption Please!

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the second to last TOMM on BeDeviant.com ever! Next week, I’ll be transitioning this blog project elsewhere. Stay tuned.
  • I had the chance to visit with the Twin Cities’ Social Media Shepherds last Friday. What a great group of servants who want to serve God through building his kingdom online! Go get ‘em, shepherds!
  • Speaking of fun groups, I beamed into Charles Lee’s social media marketing class at Biola last week. Those students are light years ahead of most people in the game. And they have a great coach at the helm. How much fun is that universities are beginning to have enough foresight to build social media know-how into their curriculum?
  • While I was up north, I stopped into IKEA. It’s easy—really easy—to blow a lot of dough in that joint. On a related note, our home office is shaping up nicely.
  • Have you seen the latest wipit video? There’s a Spanish version as well. Fun!
  • One of my favorite professors at Bethel Seminary is transitioning out of his role as a full-time prof. Seems like transition is the name of the game these days. Where are you moving to?
  • Finnegan’s latest trick is spitting. He spits everywhere–the trash can, the sink, the floor, you name it. It would be gross if he actually was expelling saliva from his mouth, but he just makes the “ptooey!” noise. Awesome.
  • Charles Lee does a nice job of breaking down the 2011 social media marketing report.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Today is the first day in seven years that I haven’t gone into an office. That is both exhilirating and terrifying all at the same time.
  • I didn’t calculate how draining leaving a job would be. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. It was a peaceful leave, but still. I think I fell asleep at 8 pm all last week!
  • That said, I could not be more excited for the work I’m going to be doing in the next few weeks and months ahead. There are a few things still under wraps, but as soon as I get the okay you’ll be the first to know about them. If you want to see an updated list of where I’ll be in the coming months, go here to my speaking page.
  • My wife is a rock. So glad I married that chick. We sat in a sports bar Saturday night and talked over margaritas. It reminded me of why we’re together—she’s fun!
  • One of the projects I’ve been working on just released their first video on YouTube. Would you consider doing me a favor? Check out the video and maybe forward it on to a few friends. It would help me out and get more people in the know about wipit!
  • I’m actually writing this post from the exact same place the picture above was taken.
  • I watched Wrestlemania last night. So sue me.
  • Have any of you ever used Gazelle.com? I’m investigating the site for myself, but want some on-the-ground opinions from people who have used it already.
  • I’ve joined the ranks of MacBook Air users. So far, so good. Blazingly fast, long battery life, super light, minimal. My one complaint? No backlit keyboard. That seems like a mistake to me.
  • Have you guys checked out the Creative Missions Tour yet? Cleve Persinger is a solid human being with a desire to do good. This project looks like a lot of fun.
  • I’m determined to read The Thank You Economy and Enchantment this week. Have you read either? What did you think?
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the third to last TOMM on BeDeviant.com ever! On April 13th, 2011 (777 published posts), I will be pulling the plug on this site. It will remain online as an archive, but I will not be actively posting here. I’m writing up a post at to the reasons behind it. Suffice to say, it’s time. Thanks for the memories!
  • Speaking of transition, I made the announcement last week that I am leaving my current role on staff at my church. Shaking things up!
  • Lil’ Jon continues to be my favorite on The Celebrity Apprentice. I mean, c’mon, the guy’s working for the United Methodist church! Not a bad gig, IMO. WHAT!
  • In related news: Big Wednesday.
  • One of our local sports reporters played horse with Harrison Barnes last year. (HB is from Ames, about 45 minutes north of the DeMo.)
  • Speaking of …. VCU! I felt a little redemption with UNI not being in the tourney this year. If you’ll remember correctly, Kansas got punked by the Panthers last year in a colossal upset. VCU = UNI part two?
  • When I broke the news that I was leaving staff, certainly I was thankful for the texts, tweets, emails and calls. But the thing that struck me the most was my online friends. I heard from quite a few of you whom I know solely or primarily through our online connection. That meant a lot to me. And they say that online relationships don’t count as “real.”
  • Follow your favor. Is there an area in your life that you seem to naturally gravitate towards and excel in? Follow it. Follow that trail for as long as you can. Even if you’re not following it now, there’s still time to make a course correction.
  • I tried Bud Select over the weekend. I know some people are keen on Mich Ultra, but I’m a Bud guy, I guess. Have you tried either of these low-calorie brews? What did you think?
  • Nike Free Runs let you run without socks. I’m training my feet right now. They say it’s the closest you can get to running barefoot. I believe it. My legs, feet, shins, etc. are exhausted!
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?
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