This is an extra special newsletter issue. While online, none of the newsletters are “counted” by issue, offline they are. This newsletter issue happens to be number 100. For the past two years, I have written and released newsletters for this community, and reaching issue 100 is a significant accomplishment indeed.
Over the past few newsletters, we have unpacked the idea of bridge building in our relationships. We talked about how to anchor in the side of the canyon where we started, how to begin planting an anchor in the far side of the canyon, and how to connect both anchors with the bridge itself.
However, with all this talk of building bridges, I came to a realization about myself . . .
I am a poor bridge builder.
This isn’t a pity party for Cam, but an honest reflection of how I see myself. When it comes to building bridges, I have some relational anchors in place, and I have anchors in place for where I would love people to come; but I have allowed a fog to cover the canyon, which obstructs visibility between both sides, and this fog keeps the bridge building from progressing.
The anchor I have in my beliefs is solidly in Adventist-Christianity. Adventism is unique enough from other denominations that one could follow all the uniquely Adventist ideas, and completely miss out on Jesus (the Christianity). However, on the flip-side of this identity, Adventism is able to bring additional understanding, significance, and practicality to the Christian community at large. Both groups have extremes, and many think that both groups have irresolvable conflicts with each other, but I am planted firmly in the common ground that these groups share.
On the far side of the canyon, I have made great relationships with lots of people (both in person and online). These are genuine relationships, and honestly, I didn’t step out with any goals or motives to lead people into my system of beliefs. I simply wanted to make friends and learn from others.
However, I allowed a fog to develop in the canyon. With the fear of being pre-judged and written off, I masked my Adventist origins and focused on blending in with the communities I am a part of. I have been in belief debates with others and like all relational arguments, winning isn’t really winning. I wanted to avoid these arguments and instead become friends; however, without being true to who I am, a fog developed and masked the other side of the canyon — in both cases/directions.
Some friends asked about my belief background, and I never lied or kept it from the inquisitive individuals, but I never volunteered it either. However, bridge-building will never work if people are unable to see or know that you are building a bridge. The fog must be cleared away.
In life, we must choose our focus carefully, or we will end up getting stretched too thin. As a new year approaches, I often will ask myself if there is anything that I can stop doing or change directions and do better for the coming year.
One key thing, especially brought to light with the bridge-building discussion is with this blog/newsletter. I have been too general with it, and it is one area that has allowed the fog to develop. So as I plan and develop a strategy for the coming year, I will be taking December off from writing the regular newsletter. Hopefully, this doesn’t cause a big hole in your routine.
In January, or right before January, I’ll repost here with some of the new plans and ideas for moving forward.
How you can help . . .
I would love to hear/read your thoughts on this newsletter. Do you think it is time for me to switch directions, and if not, why not? If you think changing directions makes sense, what direction would you like to see more of?
Thanks in advance for all your help and feedback. Your interaction is part of my inspiration! 🙂