A Blog for All Seasons

November 18, 2021 | Jim Angehr

Sometimes, I’m just full of bad ideas. Here’s one.

Pat, our new Digital Ministry Director who does a great job with Liberti Collingswood’s world wide webbing, has been working hard to get our church blog up and running. Weeks ago, he pitched a couple titles for the blog my way, but I knew that I had a better title in mind.

This was my title for our blog:

(Wait for it)

English Language Blog

Get it? English Language Blog is a delicious shaggy dog story in miniature. A casual peruser of our website would see that title and immediately think, “Wow, this church is pretty with it. They must have blogs in multiple languages.” Only for Sally Surfer eventually to realize: we only have the one blog after all! Ha ha, the joke’s on you, Sally. Siiiiiiiiiike!

Evidently one of Pat’s roles is to gently slide my walker back to the bingo table in hopes of distracting me back to settling down. (To Pat’s credit, he knows how to talk me down slowly. According to our intrepid DMD, “It seems like English Language Blog was destined for a 86 on Metacritic but a Cinemascore of C+.” Critics’ darling is kind of Liberti Collingswood’s sweet spot, after all.)

I’ve been edited! Thanks, cancel culture. Still, I believe that Pat’s picked a winner with Letters to You: A Liberti Collingswood Blog. Advantages to such a title include:
— It’s catchy, yet straightforward.
— It’s descriptive, yet not boring.
— It contains a subtle nod to a certain singer-songwriter from New Jersey.
— It doesn’t shame visitors to our website.
Pat’s a pro.

What pleasures await you with Letters to You, pray tell? In this space you’ll find mostly-weekly reflections from mostly-Jim. An outtake reel of items that catch my attention but don’t wander into my sermons. Sometimes Christ, sometimes culture, sometimes both.

I’m working through a memoir right now called Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Chinese-American author Yiyun Li. It’s a harrowing read as Li unsparingly details not only her complicated relationship to writing but also to life more generally; Li often finds herself depressed and has attempted to take her own life multiple times. I’ve never come across a letter-to-you quite like this one.

Last night I arrived at a discussion in Li’s book where she interrogates herself as to why she’s never written in Chinese, her native language. She references Nabokov, a Russian who likewise wouldn’t narrate in his mother tongue:
Nabokov once answered a question he must have been tired of being asked: “My private tragedy, which cannot, indeed should not, be anybody’s concern, is that I had to abandon my natural language.” That something is called a tragedy, however, means it is no longer personal. One weeps out of private pain, but only when the audience swarms in to claim understanding and empathy do they call it tragedy. Our grief belongs to oneself; one’s tragedy, to others.

This is why the ok-boomer side of me has been wary of social media over the years. If my inner being is, properly speaking, mine, is there any way to avoid my being lost in translation? Can people in digital spaces—we can leave the question about in-person spaces for another blog post—project themselves in such a way as to avoid projection? Enneagram Type 3, saying hi: I often fear that no language once spoken, or media once posted, is anyone’s native tongue. It’s ESL, all the way down.

Nevertheless, let’s go for it. In Letters to You, we’ll do some laughing, but also lamenting. And among other things, let’s see if we can bridge, in Li’s categories, tragedy back to grief.

So here we are, you and me. Glad you’re here. I hope you enjoy what’s in store with this English language blog.



Sundays at 11:15am

839 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, NJ 08108

Liberti Church Collingswood