Thursday, January 19, 2006

Methodist Blogger Profile: Bruce Alderman

Bruce Alderman of It Seems to Me...

I'm a member of East Heights United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas. I'm married to Nicki since 2002, and have a 2 ½ year old son Iain (the name means “God's gracious gift”). I've been blogging since July of 2005.

Why do you blog?
I started reading others' blogs last spring, and occasionally leaving comments. My pastor, Barry, suggested that I start my own blog because he thought I had some good things to say. I had already been thinking about doing so, but was not sure whether anyone would read it. I'm still not sure whether anyone reads it.

What has been your best blogging experience?
Writing posts about my own personal journey, including some of my struggles, and getting encouraging and positive responses.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
It can require a huge time commitment. Have an idea, before you start, of how much time you want to devote to blogging, whether it be an hour a day or ten minutes a week. Whatever you decide, post new material on a regular basis, however often that may be.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
If I could only read three blogs a day, it would take me a month and a half to get through them.

Seriously, this is probably the hardest of all these questions for me to answer. Rather than narrow it down to three favorites, I'd like to mention a few that some Methodists might not be familiar with. I'm going to list, in the style of the Hebrew prophets...
Three of my favorite blogs by non-Methodists,
Four outside the Methodist blogosphere:

Monastic Mumblings
Today at the Mission
I am a Christian Too
Melancthon Sins Boldly

Who are your spiritual heroes?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Oscar Romero for stepping out of their comfort zones when circumstances brought their faith into conflict with their nations' rulers. Martin Luther King, Jr and Dorothy Day for their consistent witness for social justice. Thomas Merton for his practical mysticism. Jesus for being all of these things and more.

What are you reading at the moment?
Naming the Silences by Stanley Hauerwas
Ordinary Resurrections by Jonathan Kozol

What is your favorite hymn and why?
The central American hymn Tu Has Venido a la Orilla (“Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore”).
In February 2000 I went to Guatemala with a VIM team to help rebuild a church that had been destroyed in that country's civil war. We had a worship service on Thursday evening in the half-finished church building, with only a string of 60-watt bulbs to light the sanctuary. The VIM team had learned the English words to this hymn to share with our hosts. As we sang, the congregation joined us in Spanish and we all sang praises to God together in two languages in a room that was almost dark. It's an experience I'll never forget.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual thesis on which you've ever changed your mind?
Several things come to mind. I guess the biggest one is the way I understand the Bible. In the past I've gone to two extremes, first taking it all literally, then taking it mostly allegorically. Now I understand it as a story, and look for ways that it can impact and influence my own life story.

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
The idea that is is more important to be right than to be loving.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
Reduce the influence of corporate money in politics.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I must admit, I'm not familiar enough with church policies to know what I would want to change.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Take calculated risks. It's better to have tried and failed than to regret that you never took the chance.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
I worry that nobody really likes me. It's a pathology I've had since childhood.

If you could relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
I would take a year off during college, and travel around the world.

Where would you most like to live, other than where you do now?
Central America

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Writing, playing chess, playing the piano, gardening, and hiking

What is your most treasured possession?
my journal

What talent would you most like to have?
The ability to start conversations with strangers. I'm very awkward in social settings.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
J. R. R. Tolkien, Bill Bryson, and Marcus Borg
Kind of an eclectic group, but they are all writers whose works I enjoy.

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