Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shrinking the Camel and Inside Work

I’ve written before about a blog called Shrinking the Camel that I follow closely. It’s done by a business executive named Bradley Moore, who lives and works “somewhere in the northeast U.S.” In addition to his own blog, he also posts on a site called Inside Work, which is all about the practice of faith in the workplace. And yes, I follow that site closely as well, and not only for Bradley’s posts. There is a whole group of terrific writers and thinkers – and they write about faith and business. They don't write about the application of business practices to the church -- an affliction in the church in America for more than two decades. Instead, the writers at Inside Work look at the practice of faith in the workplace.

Yesterday on Inside Work, Bradley posted an article called “How God Saved My Life through Writing.” And he talks about how he came to start writing the Shrinking the Camel blog in 2008. It’s honest writing, writing from the heart.

How I happened across Bradley’s blog, as well as the Inside Work site, is one of those stories about how the web works. I was reading a blog post on a writing web site, and saw an interesting comment by a guy named Marcus Goodyear, an editor and poet who's actually written a poem for his wife about the Large Hadron Collider -- and had it published. I clicked on his name, and landed at his web site, One of the things he does is serve as an editor at a site called, a collection of blogs that look at the entire world as a place to practice faith, including the culture (a shocking notion, I know). One of those links took me to Inside Work, where I found an article written by Bradley – and I clicked through to Shrinking the Camel (cool name for a blog, by the way).

And this process continues. At the High Calling site, I read a post about poetry by a writer named L.L. Barkat -- clicked through to her blogs (there are three, including Seedlings in Stone), and am now getting ready to start her book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.

In his latest article at Inside Work, Bradley writes about how he began writing – disillusionment with evangelical Christianity, a sudden skepticism about the Bible, angst and burnout with his career – and he discovered that God was creating a new work in him through the whole process (my words, not Bradley’s). Reading those words evoked a powerful sense of identification. I’ve gone through a long period of skepticism, not about the Bible, but about the contemporary American church. Having gone through a disastrous experience with a church that embraced every business fad found on the bestseller list, and wrecked anything in its path that might stop its quest for cultural relevance, I pulled back, and pulled back hard. And angst and burnout with my career? Yes, I've known that, too, a couple of times at least.

About three years ago, I started writing a novel, and actually finished it, along with a sequel and a plan for a series. Some of the partially completed “volumes” in the series have as many as 40,000 words or more. And I learned something, the same thing that Bradley has. Writing has been a means for me to begin coming to grips with what happened to my church, and what happened to my faith. In an odd way, writing is like having a conversation with God.

I’m still on that road. Finding the Bradley Moores of this world is like having a fellow pilgrim come alongside.

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