Clear as Mud

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve made any New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I am opposed to them. It’s just that living within academic and church ministry year cycles, an early or late summer date tends to encourage contemplative assessments and reconfigurations of how I am going to live for the coming year.

My Christmas and New Year’s holidays are usually just long enough to catch my breath from the fullness of the fall and too packed with family celebrations to afford me the reflective space required to make meaningful adjustments. New Year’s feels more like half-time in a football game: you can tweak what you’re doing, but a whole sale change of the game plan is much more difficult to pull off in such a short time.

Nonetheless, I’m making some changes this holiday season. The timing has more to do with recently submitting my thesis than anything else – and that submission just happens to coincide with the Christmas & New Year holidays this year. I find myself with time and energy that had been devoted to research, footnotes – oh! the footnotes! – and other aspects of finalizing my project. A return to structured exercise, games and outings with our kids, and walks with my wife top the list. There’s a pile of post-doctorate leisure reading that I’ll finally take off the shelf. Novels, short-stories, poetry: words that feed my heart and soul and allow my mind to play instead of analyze.

Along with these changes, I’ve also had a few writing projects in mind. I’ve been writing. Even in the midst of the academic rigor, I’ve kept a journal of sorts simply for the purpose of scribbling down ideas that I could return to after the doctorate is done. It’s been fun pulling out some of those ideas this past week. We’ll see where they take me in the coming months.

One of the writing projects, however, has been a desire to reformat this blog. For the past six years, this blog (Muddied Prayers) has served as a minor platform for me to blog about whatever was on my mind. Some stretches have been quite fruitful. Others, not as much. This past year, I hardly wrote here at all. While I was working on my dissertation, I returned to a passing thought several times that I wanted to refocus the format and purpose of this particular blog. And so, starting in 2016, Muddied Prayers will give attention to just two themes: worship and faith formation.  I’ll engage these themes primarily through posts related to prayers, litanies, devotionals, and spiritual disciplines. Along the way, I imagine I’ll add in a few reflections on resources related to these topics as well. All the past posts will stay here in the archives, but going forward expect to see the more particular focus of worship and faith formation. Alongside this change, my @muddiedprayers twitter account will also take on this renewed focus.

As the focus of Muddied Prayers transitions, I’m also launching a new personal blog:, where I will engage a much broader range of topics – pretty much on anything I happen to be thinking about, other than U.S. politics…and even that might just prove interesting enough to write about this year. The site is up and I’ll start posting there soon – so you’re more than welcome to visit and follow me there as well. In similar fashion, I’m launching a personal twitter account (@chrisjschoon). You can expect to see comments about hot chocolate, Detroit Tigers, #pureMichigan, #HamOnt, and a whole bunch of my other interests over there.

So in summary, Muddied Prayers and @muddiedprayers = worship and spiritual formation. & @chrisjschoon = just about everything else. Clear as mud? Great. If not, I blame el nino, which seems to have already left us with a warmer, muddier mess than usual this winter.

Thanks for following along with me here at Muddied Prayers. I hope that you will continue to do so. And I promise…or better yet, I resolve to write more consistently and creatively throughout 2016.

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