Writer’s goal not influence

A couple of weeks ago, the occasion being the baptism or christening of a child, I focused the homily on “Why We Do What We Do.” In other words, why do we baptize as we do, why do we revere the sacrament of baptism, etc.? In a similar vein, today I choose to address why I do what I do in this space on Sunday.
The probability is that, barring a few syndicated cases, nobody freelances for the money. It is more akin to a story (perhaps apocryphal) about Farmer Nelson, who was a professional wrestler back in the thirties when wrestling was real. In the earlier days of his career, he had a telephone installed in his parents’ home so he could keep in touch. Upon calling home, he was heard to say “Guess what, Paw! They’re lettin’ me wrassle — and they pay me for it, too!” Guess what, Paw — they’re lettin’ me write — nd they pay me for it too!
It’s okay to begin with the negative — these are NOT some of the reasons that I write this column. I do not do it because I think I am smarter than other folks. There are plenty of columnists out there whom you can read if you want to read a highbrow or someone who thinks he is. Different people are smart in different ways and I for one abhor intellectual snobs. Akin to that, I do not write because I know anything worth repeating about world politics or national events. The time or two I have ventured into those areas, like a horse stickin’ his head under a fence, I have been zapped by those who know far more than I. I do not write because I think you should think the same way I do.
I write because it may make you think about a subject or rethink the way you think about it, and clarify your own understanding. That would be like when I write about cruelty to dogs, or to cats, or about how to show the person whom you love how much you love him or her as the case may be.
I write because it might make you laugh or be entertained, give you something fun to read with your Sunday morning coffee. That would be like when I write about the time TJ and I went digging for ghosts in New Egypt, or some of the stuff my compadres and I did when we were kids.
I write because although this is not a spiritual or religious column, it is written by a minister and one who considers himself a spiritually seeking person. So some times I write to urge you to reflect on your own spirituality. That would be like when I write about somebody making a farce of baptism, or about how to meditate as a way of dealing with serious illness, or about having integrity.
I write because this is my adopted community and community pride is important to me. That would be like when I write about the county fair or events coming up in town, because we all know if we don’t support them, who will?
Finally, I write a lot about the arts because art is an important part of my life and I think that it’s vital to promote the efforts that local people make on behalf of local arts, be they performance, graphic, sculpture, or what have you.
The gift you give me is in taking the time to read those words.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University.