A year ago, I committed to developing a blog as a discipline for Lent, something I had been encourage to try but had resisted for quite some time. Since then, I’ve done some other things for the first time, like making sausage, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to try. In each case, I’m glad I did. On this last blog before Lent begins again, I’d like to compare these activities.
One obvious similarity between blogging and sausage making is that you’ve got to churn them out, even when you don’t feel like it. By the end of the sausage making day, my arm was sore from cranking the cast iron sausage maker, and I was very glad when I could quit. With blogging there have been times when I wondered what to write about, but having committed to weekly posting, I would begin churning words until they began to flow more easily. I pushed the ‘publish’ button with a great sense of relief. Blogging weekly has definitely increased my respect for pastors who preach week after week after week.
Another similarity is the consideration of content and container. With sausage making, we were careful to grind the right blend of lean and fattier strips from our naturally raised pig. Then we mixed the freshly ground pork with just the right spices. Casings had to be soaked in brine, blown up gently, and then carefully slipped over the metal tube of the sausage maker to avoid ripping. And then the churning and twisting of links began! It was a tricky operation to get just the right length of link.
With blog posting as a servant of a national church one also has to take care with the contents. Are they wholesome and personal enough for a blog called faith bytes? Are they general enough not to violate anyone’s privacy? Have they been sufficiently processed for this public forum? Are they spiced with enough humour and wisdom to be of interest to that intangible audience? Is my faith presented gently and winsomely so as to attract rather than offend? And finally, are my sentences the right length or did I let them run on again?
Finally, the real reward for both sausage making and blogging is in the response of the receiver. Once those sausages are cooked and on the plate, do they satisfy both hunger and a discriminating palate? Happily, our sausages turned out to be both delicious and nutritious. It has been most rewarding to serve and eat meat where we know the whole journey from farm to fork.
Similarly, once the blog is posted it is rewarding to see that it has been read and enjoyed across North America, but also in farther flung corners of the globe like Australia, Ethiopia, UK. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by appreciative comments from a woman battling cancer, from a Buddhist monk, from Gardening enthusiasts, respected Christian writers, other child advocates in the wider church, personal improvement specialists, as well as from my Mennonite Community. Its good to think my recorded reflections have been satisfying and spiritually nutritious.
But here’s one huge difference: With my sausage making experiment, it is particularly rewarding to know the whole farm to fork journey of the meat I eat and offer to others. With blogging, the reward is in the unknown journey my thoughts can take as they travel through a post all over the globe, wherever someone finds, and follows a connection to my link. That’s trickier, and more inspiring than getting my sausage links just right.
In closing, I owe my readers a debt of gratitude. Thank you for reading, and for sometimes responding to my faith bytes with a positive comment. Next week, I invite you to join me for another journey through Lent.