There are many times in my life when I want to write. Some people say that writing helps them to think. I am not typically like that. I do all of my thinking first and then, halfway through, wish I'd been writing it down - or feel like I should. Yet most of those times I don't write, because of one single reason - I want it to be taken seriously.
In this light, several factors often keep me from writing down my thoughts. 1. I don't want to appear as if I have all of the answers. Many people come back from a missions trip or other cross-cultural experience with a new perspective on the world and suddenly know how to solve all of the world's problems. If I appear this way, my writing will not be taken seriously. 2. I don't like to bring up questions before I feel like I have a good answer for them. Yet in many situations, this is where I find myself. I see a problem that affects me in a very deep way, but I don't know the way to set it straight, so I don't want to write it down without some kind of solution in mind. 3. I don't want to appear overly emotional or reactionary. I have had a few incidents which have truly "rocked my world" or shaken me up in a way where I can never again be settled. They are deep and dramatic incidences that one may never understand unless he goes through it himself. While I often process my responses quickly and begin living with a new perspective, I usually won't write about it immediately. Rather I will take the time to let it sink in, meditate on it, look for it elsewhere, and develop life principles from it. Such is the case with what will be my first full post on this blog ("Tourist, Open Your Eyes"). 4. I don't want to be seen as "holier than thou." In many incidences where I want to write, I worry that I would communicate an attitude of superiority to any readers. I am an American. As such, my whole life has been from an American perspective and with a Christian worldview. Thus many lessons I learn run contrary to my American culture. My target audience (if I would say that I have one) would be a typical American Christian. I don't want to write, then, as if I am the great cross-cultural Christian preaching down at my lowly American comrades. That will not, and should not, be taken seriously. 5. Finally, I don't often write about things from which I am in a position to benefit. For example, I have many thoughts concerning mission work and missionary support-raising or deputation, but I don't write those, because my thoughts could seem self-promoting or self-indulgent. Though I want those thoughts to be shared and will preach them fervently on behalf of others, I feel it is best to wait until my family is past the support-raising stage to write them.
All of this being said, I have never taken it upon myself to write much. However, as I've thought through the lessons I'm learning, I've realized that I have an opportunity that not many people have. The Lord has led my family to serve in international missions and we will be learning many lessons along the way. I've begun to feel that, provided I can communicate these lessons clearly and carefully, many people who will not be able to experience cross-cultural ministry as we will may also benefit from the lessons we learn. Indeed, I have felt in may even be selfish to keep all of this learning to myself. God has called us to the ministry and that ministry is to people. So whether it be the people of Africa whom we are going to serve or the people in the States who are giving of themselves to enable us to go to Africa, I want to minister to their needs, impact their lives, and challenge them with the things with which the Lord challenges us.
- Jonathan St.Clair