We’ve just sent out another prayer letter, and it’s time to take stock.
Taryn and I have just had our first-born child, and she remains on crutches for the forthcoming weeks; our pioneering Revival & Reformation DTS has come to a conclusion, and our seven YWAM trainees are now fully-qualified youthful missionaries; England have been knocked out of the World Cup, after playing only two of their three group games.
It’s time to step back, sit down, and silently consider what is what and who is who. And since writing is one of the main ways that I organise the cluttered collection of convictions in my mind into some semblance of sense, I have been trying to take stock of the various bits and pieces that I have published online over the last few years.
This Peter.Prescott.ws blog is my third attempt at an internet presence for my collected writings. (I’ve not counted the incredibly short-lived collection of angsty poetry I started and quickly stopped at the beginning of 2005.)
My first was begun in celebration of New Year 2008, as I emailed everyone I thought might be interested in my reflections on the question of What Being A Christian Meant, and wanted somewhere to put the testimony of encountering God at the November ’05 YF Camp that I referred to in that email. It was hosted on Blogspot, and titled They Don’t Make Modern Art Like They Used To. Through university I sporadically posted an assortment of things that I wanted to say publicly (or at least have Phil perhaps read). It was my little soapbox in cyberspace.
I started a second blog just as our DTS was finishing in Harpenden, primarily out of a specific sense of divine prompting: “I feel that same silent voice encouraging me to continue my occasionally unusual attempts to communicate the gospel. And in particular, to begin blogging with intentionality and consistency.” I deleted the previous blog (though I’ve now restored its online presence here), purchased the domain name MereHuman.org and started another Blogspot blog (which I’ve also imported here). My declared intention was to post weekly, but I didn’t really consider the challenge that the intensely seasonal nature of YWAM work would present to this ambition. Having said that, I was given total encouragement by YWAM leaders, and invited to contribute to be an official YWAM blogger for various summer events (this, that, and the other). Anyway, my attempt to blog about the DTS we were staffing was somewhat short-lived, and when I resumed briefly after we returned from outreach, my first post was a (nuanced) declaration that I was not a YWAM spokesperson.
It was in the holiday (at a friend’s family holiday home in Wales) following that DTS, that I purchased a new domain, PeterandTaryn.com. This was not out of any desire to become a sort of celebrity apostolic pair for the twenty-first century (though I can imagine PaulandBarnabas.com!), but rather from wanting there to be a clear unity to mine and Taryn’s online (and offline) ministry. We were emailing out fairly frequent prayer-letters (now online here) for our YWAM ministry; I was blogging on whatever took my fancy (at times intentionally controversial, in the hope of provoking engaged response; at other times whatever came to mind, in the hope of actually writing something every couple of weeks); Taryn had her music online (now here). But the link between it all wasn’t particular clear to us–let alone an outsider.
Getting our personal online presence sorted out was a secondary priority to that of putting together a sufficiently functional website for YWAM Cambridge for us to attract some students for our pioneering Revival & Reformation DTS. I managed to put something together, and we had some students apply–but PeterandTaryn.com remained in what Phil, when he admitted to prematurely discovering it online, called ‘a state of undress’.
The DTS began, and life became too busy even to keep up much in the way of emailing out our prayer-letters. I had however begun the slow and somewhat tedious job of uploading all of our old prayer-letters to a new public blog for our collected prayer-letters. This meant that when our trainees went on outreach we were able to launch this new website–not, in the end, as PeterandTaryn.com (although for the moment at least we still own that domain, so it works), but as an interlinked collection of Prescott.ws sites, allowing for multiple blogs. Not only can me and Taryn now blog side-by-side, but I’ve been able to get rid of my Tumblr and replace it with my new Footnotes tumblelog. And it allows us to have very professionally personalised domain names: Peter.Prescott.ws and Taryn.Prescott.ws.
As an aside (and before you ask), the .ws suffix stands in theory for ‘web-site’, at least according to the entrepreneurs who persuaded the West Samoan government to let them sell .ws domains to the wider world.
I’ve spent today trying to get a handle on all the different things that I’ve posted online over these last few years. It’s pretty thorough–including my formative encounters with God at school and university; the first, second, and third reports from my three grant-funded summer trips to India, as well as my pre-university weeks volunteering in Malaysia; there’s a fairly complete if sometimes irregular account of what we’ve done with YWAM; there’s a full spectrum of Christian writing from the vulnerably personal to the joyfully dogmatic to the shamelessly controversial to the eccentrically apologetic; there’s essays, poems, reviews.
I’m not quite sure where this journey will take me; I’m not quite sure how the next chapter should read. But I’m grateful to all those that have encouraged and accompanied me along the way thus far.
I’ve certainly enjoyed it.