seanlunsford.com

Blogging

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I’ve started a new blog. I’m starting to get serious about software and web development as a hobby and potential side business, and I wanted a place to discuss that—both the technical stuff, and the more macro narrative of starting into this new venture, and lessons learned. I thought a lot about whether I should continue to use this blog for that, but I’ve realized that in spite of what I said at the very beginning of this blog—more than two years ago—that I wanted to be use this blog to discuss any topic that interested me, the reality is that this blog has, for the most part, focused around matters of faith and personal thoughts and struggles and such. The people who read it have, I assume (pretty safely), come to read that content. Not about apps and code and servers. These are two very different topics with two pretty different audiences—though there may be some overlap. And this was even before I started putting “seanlunsford.com” on my ministry materials, effectively cementing the focus of this site.

So from now on, thedarkroast.com is my home for discussing the world of tech, development, and Apple. I may occasionally link to some of those posts here, if it’s something more along the lines of social issues around technology (like I’ve shared a few times before), which I think would be interesting or beneficial to readers of this blog. If you want to see all the technical stuff, follow me there.

Of Blogs and Lent

So Lent began today. I knew I’d neglected this blog a lot recently, but I just discovered that I’ve only posted twice since last Lent. What happened to the past year?

Anyways, for the past week, I’ve been thinking about what to do this year. This is only the second year that I’m actually observing Lent. It wasn’t until I came to NLCF that I knew much about it or realized that it was commonly observed outside of Catholic circles. I think it’s really valuable though. Actually, I read a really good blog post by Eugene Cho today that explains that value really well, and also voices something that’s been on my mind this past week – that doing it just for the sake of doing it is worthless and empty. The value comes from wanting to intentionally seek God in it and let him transform you through it. From surrendering your life to him. I haven’t watched the video yet (yet – I want to in the next couple days, when I get a chance.) But it’s really worth a read. Seriously, go read it and then come back.

I read another blog post last week about ways to think outside the box about fasting for Lent. This one is from a Catholic perspective, so some of the ideas aren’t as applicable to non-Catholics, but most of it is. I like to think outside the box, so this article helped get the wheels turning for me some. I think the key takeaway that shaped my thinking about Lent this year is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be giving something up, the way Lent is traditionally. It could also be taking something up – choosing to intentionally do something for Lent.

So what I’ve come up with this year is two-part. The first part is based on a couple of the suggestions in that second article I mentioned. I’m going to stop watching movies or TV shows on my own, except on Sundays. This semester I’ve been watching a lot of movies and TV in the evenings (not actually on TV, but on my iPad.) I want to spend that time reading – and at least some of that reading material to be spiritual content. To explain those two qualifiers – I think watching things with others is different. It’s about spending time with other people, not just how I choose to spend my own time.

As for Sundays, it turns out they’re not actually part of Lent at all. I discovered the other day that there are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter (I hadn’t actually counted them before.) At first, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t adding up to 40. After doing a little research, I was reassured that I really can count (at least to 46) and discovered that it’s actually supposed to be like that. There are six Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Excluding these leaves 40 days. Apparently when Lent was extended to 40 days a few hundred years after Christ, they decided Sunday wouldn’t count because it was a feast day, to celebrate the Resurrection. So fasting (remember when fasting was about food?) was kept to the other six days, and the season of Lent actually ended up being 46 days long. (This is probably all explained in that video that I haven’t watched yet. And some of you probably knew this already. It was news to me.) I’d heard that sometimes people (in the present day) don’t count Sundays, but I didn’t know that this is why. Anyways, so when I was thinking about my own fast, I decided to follow this too. Not because it’s “right” or “more traditional”, but because I feel like in my case one day a week is a healthy limit, and this isn’t something I feel the need to go cold turkey on.

The second part is to revive this blog some. I’m going to commit to posting weekly through the period of Lent about something God has been showing me. My hope is that this will make me slow down and actually pay attention to things God might be trying to teach me, that I miss when I’m caught up in life most of the time. And hopefully the extra reading I’m doing will contribute to this. They probably won’t be long posts. Part of what keeps me from blogging so much of the time is that my posts tend to be upwards of 1000 or even 1500 words and take me hours to write and edit before finally publishing them. So to start a post is to commit a significant chunk of my time to it. I think keeping them to 300–500 words will make them a little more manageable.

I’ll kick off those posts with one either Friday or early next week. We’ll see how God works in me over the next forty-six days.

Because the internet isn’t crowded enough as it is

The first thought of starting a blog came to me over a year ago. God spoke to me a couple different times, within a few weeks of each other, specifically showing me things that were meant to be shared. They ended up as notes on Facebook. But it got me thinking. What I really wanted to do was code the site from the ground up myself, as well as write the posts. It was a cool way to bring together two interests of mine. But being an engineering major, I just don’t have the time to do both. And so the idea ended up on a back burner for well over a year, coming to mind once in a while, but as something that I would just have to do one day when I have time to do it.

Then yesterday, a friend suggested I start a blog – as far as I know, having no idea that it was something I’d wanted to do for a while. The heavens opened, a shaft of light came down, angelic choir and all. Not really…but that comment was enough to make me decide to finally do this. I realized that not having time to build my own website for this didn’t have to mean I don’t do the writing part. WordPress was a good compromise. This way I can use an existing framework, and do as much or as little coding as I want or have time for on top of said existing framework. I may as well use the services that plenty of other people use so that what time I have (or make) can be focused on actually writing stuff.

Which brought up a question. Does this universe really need one more blog? It’s so easy to start a blog. Anyone can do it. The blogosphere is the place to be these days. And I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. And I don’t really want to be one more voice on the already bloated Internet. Which is why I’m going to try not to post just for the sake of posting. I have no idea how regularly I’m going to post here, but I’d rather write far less frequently, and only write things that people actually think are worth reading. (And hopefully I’ll be a good judge of that.)

Finally, there was the issue of a title. Or lack thereof. I spent a good deal of time trying to come up with some creative name for the blog. Something that would convey what this blog is going to be about. The problem with that is, I’m not entirely sure what all this blog will be about at this point. Certainly – primarily, I should say – thoughts about my faith and things God is showing me. But being a TCK (third culture kid) whose family is still living overseas, traversing the globe has been a huge part of my past, and is definitely in my future, and is bound to present plenty of things to share here. Not to mention anything else that comes up that I think the world needs to hear. Almost any name I choose could prove to be limiting in the future, as this blog progesses and evolves. And what names I could come up with that seemed to do the trick were already taken. Besides, I learned years ago in the realm of email addresses that what sounds really cool one year may not seem quite so cool a few years down the road. But you can’t go wrong with your own name.

So there you have it. I have officially entered the blogosphere. Hopefully I’m not just adding to the noise.