It's been pretty quiet here for a while.
The hiatus started deliberately: I had pressing projects to be getting on with! Some time ago I committed to rewrite the Testimony Magazine's website. After working on it for 6 months I lost my local hard drive and a server backup within the same 24 hours in a freakishly unlikely series of events. I was back to square one.
There is no joy in writing code that you've already written before. You know that you solved the problem once, and you're pretty sure that whatever you did last time was far more elegant than whatever you're hacking together now. The challenge and intrigue is gone. All that is ahead of you is a long, uphill slog. It's an utter grind, and all you have to show at the end is exactly the same position you were in 6 months ago.
But maybe a bit worse, because you rushed it.
Around the same period I also embarked upon a rewrite of an events organisation system that I look after, and started helping out with a few bits and pieces over at the Christadelphian. Then there are a couple of of my other projects that I'd love to spend some time sorting out too.
It was all very well-meaning. I have a talent, right? And employing it to the benefit of others would seem like the sensible thing to do, right?
It's taken me a couple of years to realise it, but it turns out that I need to employ my knack for computers in much the same way as Martha needed to employ her talent for catering.
I got caught up in Administrative Discipleship. This involves planning The Things, organising The Things, attending The Things, and generally rearranging your life so that The Things get done. However, The Things are not The Important Things.
This year my family and I holidayed in the Isle of Wight. It looks something like this:
I had two weeks to re-evaluate my priorities, and I decided they were all wrong. Spending my time wedded to my computer is not discipleship. Sitting in a church study trying to figure out an algorithm to rank Bible search results is not discipleship. Neither is cancelling all your speaking appointments in order to cut code.
If I'm honest, even a number of the committees that I help out with spend an inordinate amount of their time doing "admin" too, (even if they are more directly aligned to what you might call "community support").
The upshot of all this is that my priorities are now spending time with my Bible, my family, and generating more directly helpful resources (like this blog, I hope). I want to refocus on dealing with difficult Scriptural problems, not whether I can upgrade a website without breaking all the plugins.
I've still got a number of side-projects to wind down so I won't be posting regularly for a few weeks. However, taking some time out to "press the reset button" and re-evaluate my priorities has been a really valuable exercise.