So, a few years back I opened up one of the magazines to which I subscribe to find an article that I thoroughly enjoyed.
A google search later, and I find the writer, Jason Boyett, had a cool blog and some great books - like The Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse (I laughed so hard I didn't even realize I was learning!)
I e-mailed Jason to let him know how much I enjoyed his writing - he responded - and the next thing you know, we're exchanging ideas and information on a regular basis.
Jason is a truly talented writer (check out O Me of Little Faith), an exemplary blogger, and a thoughtful and intelligent person.
Here's a few random things I've learned from Jason:
1. It takes humility and skill to have a real discussion involving people from a wide variety of positions
2. It's OK to be wrong and it's important to acknowledge it
In September of 2010, Calvin College cancelled a scheduled performance by The New Pornographers - Jason wrote about it, criticizing the move - then he got more information and posted one of the most complete, comprehensive apologies I've ever read.
3. Humor helps in almost all situations
Whether it's expressed as a snarky observation or it's used to keep people interested in what could otherwise be a dry subject or to diffuse a potentially volatile subject - humor helps communicate in ways that straight prose might not - Jason's writing uses those humor tools extremely well.
There's a lot more, but you get the idea.
Earlier this year, Jason ended his blog on faith and doubt and focused on his blog about fatherhood.
This month, he's brought that blog to a close.
I am saddened by this.
I understand what he's doing (focusing on things that pay the bills and that more people will read), and I know I'll still get to enjoy the occasional article, book, TV interview, etc. - but I'll miss the regular updates, the insightful observations, and the example of fine writing on a regular basis.
I hope Jason returns to blogging when the time is right for him and his family.
For now, I just want to offer a heartfelt "Thank You" on behalf of myself (and I assume your other readers) for inspiring, educating, entertaining, and encouraging. You've got a real gift and we appreciate you sharing it.