To Everything a Season

One of the mystifying (and doubtless alluring) things about Southern California is that the climate here is one of perpetual summer. Seasons in the truest sense don’t exist. Winter is a slightly cooler, rainier version of Summer, which is approximately nine months long and always around 79 degrees and sunny. In Southern California, the endless summer fits with the “endless youth” ambience of the culture: aging happens differently here, slower perhaps. Youth and immaturity reign. Death is raged against in the Dylan Thomas sense, against the dying of the light.

And yet I miss seasons. Seasons are the truest thing of all. I miss them most in the autumn and spring, those transitional periods so symbolic of life’s persistent patterns of endings and new beginnings, goodbyes and hellos, decay and rebirth. The natural seasons of life remind us of the solemnity of change and yet also the refreshment of it. The constancy of seasons is at once reassuring, unsettling, heartbreaking and mysterious. It stirs within us all sorts of emotions, not least of which is Sehnsucht, that weighty existential desire which C.S. Lewis described as as the “inconsolable longing” in the human heart for “we know not what.”

I’m in a season of change right now myself, for a number of reasons. I’m finished writing my new book (1 year and 65,000 words later!); I’m enjoying the last few months of my 20s and what is likely my last season of life as a single man; I’m experiencing new friendships and walking with some old friends as they experience their own seasons of change.

And I’m also going to be changing my blogging habits a bit.

For nearly five years, The Search has been my blogging home, a space that has become very dear to me. Before I joined Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other things, I started this blog. It’s where I’ve cut my teeth as a writer and thought through many of the topics I’ve since turned in to articles and books. I’ve made connections and friends with amazing people who have been faithful readers. It’s been a space where I–an introvert–have worked out my own thinking and found outlet for so many explorations.

I named it “The Search” as an homage to one of my favorite novels, The Moviegoer (movies have been a central exploration of the blog), in which the restless protagonist, Binx Bolling (who turns 30 in the book, incidentally), wanders around saying things like this:

“What is the nature of the search? you ask. Really it is very simple, at least for a fellow like me; so simple that it is easily overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. This morning, for example, I felt as if I had come to myself on a strange island. And what does such a cast away do? Why he pokes around the neighborhood and he doesn’t miss a trick. To become aware of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”

Binx’s thoughts have resonated with me for years, and I’ve channeled much of my own “search” into the content of this blog. That will not change. I am not abandoning this blog just yet.

I am, however, going to be scaling back my writing a bit, for a few reasons:

  • I’m increasingly aware of the overwhelming glut of opining that is the Internet and (more specifically) the blogosphere. Personally I have come to value restraint, patient consideration, and “mulling over internally” more in recent years, rather than the “quick to the draw” thought vomiting that characterizes most of the blogosphere (and which I have been guilty of too).
  • I’m busier than ever. I have a new book to launch, I’m still working full-time at Biola University (writing, editing, teaching), I have a new season of life to launch… I’ll need all the extra time and energy I can get.
  • I’ll be writing elsewhere. I’ve started contributing to Mere Orthodoxy in recent months, and will continue to contribute there. Matt Anderson has created a great space there for thoughtful, lively discussion about issues in culture and Christianity. I’m thrilled to be joining him and others in the pursuit of an elevated discourse among young evangelicals.
  • I want to read more than I write. Now that I’m done writing my new book, I’m intensely hungry to read the mountain of books that bave been piling up. I also want to find time to read some of the other things being written online on any given day. It’s overwhelming to me how much I wish I could read but can’t (for lack of time).

So, what does “scaling back” actually look like for The Search? I don’t quite know. It could still mean that I post something new every week. Or every two weeks. Or once a month. And maybe it’ll just be for a season. I’m not going to be rigid about it. We’ll see how it goes.

Whatever happens, I’m so thankful for this platform to share my thoughts and even more thankful for those of you nice enough to read them. We’re all on this “search” together, after all, trying to bring some sense and clarity to an overwhelming world. Seeking truth, beauty and goodness together with you will be something I’ll always want to do.

7 responses to “To Everything a Season

  1. Thanks for searching. I’ve quietly appreciated your voice since the beginnings of this blog, and while we’ve never met in person, there’s a sense of solidarity knowing that there is someone else searching and processing and seeking, too.

    So, thank you.

  2. I have been both entertained and challenged by reading this blog. I respect the way you think through issues and am impressed with your ability to present opinions in an intellectual and gentle fashion. I also enjoy getting your take on the entertainment industry – even when I do not agree. :O) I wish we could have been friends, but it was a pleasure to talk with you the few times I did!
    May God continue to use you to advance the Kingdom and sanctify the Church; and may He give you wisdom as you transition. And congratulations on what sounds like an engagement??!! Woot!
    Grace and Peace ~

  3. I’ve been reading now for about two years. And while I don’t chime in often, I have appreciated your take on things so very much. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts here. There’s just nothing quite like “The Search” out there. Congratulations to you on the new seasons you are entering!

  4. Brett, while we may not be graced with your eloquent prose at this address as often as before, I have no doubt we will find many new places to connect with your restrained, well-considered ideas on culture and faith. Not to mention your upcoming book. Thanks for sharing your words so generously with us.

  5. Been a fan ever since reading Hipster Christianity. Looking forward to more of your work!

  6. This is the only blog I follow. Brett, you really do a great job, and I find your choice of topics and handling of issues to be really excellent. I am sad to hear it’ll be scaled back, but understand and commend your reasoning.

    Question: for someone looking online for insightful, philosophical Christian cultural commentary such as you provide here, where are some other good places to turn other than The Search? I have never been able to find anything else up to this standard. Maybe I have just not looked hard enough.

  7. “thought vomting”

    I think you nailed that euphemism.

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