A year ago today, I bought the domain name for this website, Humidity And Hope.
Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of that time I was threatened with arrest for feeding hungry people.
Those are not entirely unrelated facts.
In the aftermath of that day 9 years ago, my visibility skyrocketed. A fair portion of the people who read my stuff now came to know who I was in the aftermath of that day. I now had a “platform.” I was, at the time, responsible for fundraising for the small nonprofit that I had founded that would eventually serve more than 300 meals a day, and that would start what was at the time the only faith-based LGBT-affirming day shelter for people without homes in the state. A lot of people depended on me. I felt a lot of pressure to write about my work.
For the next five years, I wrote almost exclusively about faith and justice issues, especially as they related to poverty and homelessness. A lot of people still wish I would write about those things. Recently, I asked my Facebook timeline what I should write about on this blog, and more than ⅔ of the suggestions were faith/justice related.
But here’s the thing: I’m not really interested in writing about those things. But I’m very interested in doing those things. Not to say, “Hey, look at me – see this good thing I’m doing,” but because I believe that doing those things is how I want to live.
I don’t know that we need more people, especially guys, even more especially white guys – writing about what people should believe. But more than that – I am not convinced it matters at all what you believe.
I will go even further: I think that there is nothing more useless to the world than what you believe, and there’s nothing more important to the world than what you do.
I wanted a place to write about doing. Not about why you should feed the hungry, or a place to share my sermons, write about how evil the religious right is, or whatever other God-talk people would read. I don’t think in those terms anymore. I actually think it’s all God-talk.
The work I have done feeding the hungry and building the wildlife pond in my backyard comes from the desire – the mandate – to assist creation in flourishing. My time spent preaching sermons and my time walking along the creek by my house are both done in service to God. Whatever God may need from me, none of it is for me to come to God’s defense. However, the turtles and frogs are not as resilient and need my help much more.
In short, I wanted to write about my attempt to live a complete life. What does it mean to live a good life? What is required? What would that look like? I wanted to write about that.
I didn’t think it would be simple. It would be wide-ranging but centered around trying to be a certain type of person in a certain context. And for me, that context is the Deep South, which is my deepest identity.
So, over the last year, I have written about cornbread and gravy and depression and hope and birds and frogs and nature and travel and death and attempts at suicide and also about trying to live. I have published 216 posts containing over 175,000 words. I’m proud of all of them. Not because it’s the best writing I’ve ever done, but because it was all real. There was no agenda behind any of it other than to say, “Here I am. This is what I do and how I want to live. You might be interested.“ The last 12 months of publishing here have been the source of the most genuine writing I have ever done.
I’m not sure what this place really wants to be yet. But I think it’s beginning to come together. I know I’m glad I’m doing it. I’m glad I get to do it. And I’m glad you’re here.
It means more than you know.