January 25, 2006> 1:23 PM
multiple personalities > an interview
Sort of. So, I've decided to do an interview of myself. That's kind of weird, but as long as I know it's weird, I suppose I'm alright. Alan Creech conducts an interview with pastor, abbot, blogger Alan Creech - awesome!
Q. So, Alan, how long have you been blogging and why did you start doing this anyway? (and you look quite handsome today by the way)
Well, oh, thanks - yeah, I think I started a blog (online journal) in 2001 maybe. I refused to call it a blog for a while. It just sounded so stupid. It's an ugly word. Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts and words "out there" to share and to connect with people who were thinking and talking about the same or similar things.
Q. Cool - so you've been doing this for a while. How has that changed for you and how has it effected your life? - sorry that was like 2 or 3 questions in one but they're related.
No problem, yeah, all that seems to be related. Yeah, it's been a while. Technically speaking, when I first started I didn't use blogger or any other web-based system. Since I was a bit of a web designer, I did my own and updated it "manually" using Dreamweaver. It was a bit awkward and I couldn't really blog away from home but it worked. Also, I didn't have comments back then. It wasn't as common as now. You invited people to e-mail you and vbcc had a message board I pointed people to. I like comments much better and the connections that have developed, some into real friendships, with people around the world, doing and thinking similar things, has been amazing. I'm grateful for it.
It has also been a great outlet for Teaching (meaning spiritual teaching from a charism) for me. It happens that way sometimes, as I write something, something else flows in there. I see that all over. I've talked about writing a book for a long time, even if just to myself - this is closer to that. I have lots of material now for sure.
Q. Sounds good. Well off the blogging thing, I wanted to ask you about your church, or your "community" - that's what you call it right? How would you describe it to someone who didn't know you?
Yeah, community, for a reason. At first I really didn't want to use the word "church" because of the baggage attached to it - I guess because it meant something to most people that I didn't want to be. It may have a different original meaning but that has been washed out so much we hardly know any more. Anyway, how would I describe it? Interesting question. Wow, actually it can be kind of hard to describe to someone who doesn't know me. One reason is because of pre-conceived notions about what words mean (like church, as I said). And if I said I was the "pastor," I have an idea what that might mean to people in general. So in order to explain or describe our community (your what? are you talking about where you live?) - see what I mean - in order to describe "it" I have to take into consideration where people are coming from culturally and ecclesiastically. That helps. Then I can use language that might make sense to them.
Vine & Branches is an odd little animal, not odd (bad) but odd (not typical). This is what I say sometimes to people who ask: Well, we aren't connected to a denomination at all. We meet in my home so we don't own a building and don't really plan on it. I'm the pastor but I'm not paid to do that, I have a full-time job as a graphic designer. We're a small community (church) of somewhere around 10 people - that's everyone. It has been more and less. It fluctuates. People note that we are very "Catholic" in our worship practice. You'll see candles and an "altar" and we have "communion" each time we meet using a common cup (oh, and we're serious about it like it's something real - like Jesus real). We pray some of the same prayers every time, read Bible readings from the lectionary (planned readings on a yearly cycle) and we try to cultivate among us the practice of liturgical prayer (prayer book prayer) during the week. The meeting time is important but not the only thing. We try to be open to one another and build relationships all the time. We encourage hospitality. We don't really do any programmed, planned "evangelism" as it is traditionally thought of (at least in protestant evangelical circles). We aim to be transformed and to live those transformed lives in the world around us.
See, it takes a bit to say it. Of course when I "say" it it takes much less time than it does to write it or read it. I could say what I just said in a minute or two I guess.
Q. Very interesting. You're right - that is "odd." ha! Just kidding - sort of. That's really all I had today. I know that's fairly brief for an interview but maybe we can do this again soon. One last question if you don't mind - do you think of yourself as a narcissist? I mean really, you're interviewing yourself.
That's pretty funny there. Well, I wonder. Maybe I am a bit mentally ill - like you said - the interview thing and all. And I do think I'm pretty damn cool, so maybe I am. I don't properly think so though. Seriously, if I wanted to be just all into myself without interruption, I certainly wouldn't put ME out here for the world to pummel would I? I doubt it. Have you seen some of the comments on this blog? I mean, good Lord. Of course, if I didn't think I had something to say worth hearing, I wouldn't say anything. And if I thought I was so awesome as to be unchallengeable, I would definitely take those pesky comments off. My voice would be the only one I'd want to hear. But as it is, I say what I say and offer a bit of a forum for interaction about it. It's an interesting world. Peace.