Saturday, February 11, 2012

A New Kind Of "Space"

I have been told by some that I have an "internet ministry." I understand that the term "ministry" here is being used in the broad sense of a charismatic service that helps build up the Christian community, and that reaches out to others too. I suppose my friends have a point. It is interesting that I did not intend to "set up" anything of the sort when I became more active online over a year ago.

I began using electronic media more intensely because I felt the need to promote my recently released book, Never Give Up: My Life and God's Mercy ( People were reading the book, and I was hearing about the great blessing that it was in their lives. I became convinced that I had a responsibility to make the book more widely known; it was touching a chord in so many different types of people--people with deeply debilitating chronic illnesses, people with mental illness, people who care for others, and also many people who have no particular affliction of this kind, but who are simply living real life, and who therefore are experiencing suffering.

My options for promoting the book, however, were (and remain) somewhat limited, for reasons that the book itself makes pretty clear. A grinding, "hit-the-road" author's tour was not possible--indeed not much of anything "grinding" was possible. But I could go online and post a few links, and at least get my friends to buy it. I did not plan to build large networks on several media platforms, and I certainly did not plan to write a blog that--over a year's time--is substantially larger than the book itself.

Indeed, something has grown and continues to grow, according to a plan that is not my own. "Never Give Up" has become something of an enterprise; it seeks to build a place where people can help one another to learn and to embrace love, suffering, healing, mercy, and solidarity. Its working within this new kind of "space" which is the internet world, and many of its ways are mysterious to me. I am praying and seeking to follow God's will, building with an energy that surprises me, but also fostering something that is taking shape, and trying to be faithful to it.