As the archives of this blog will attest, I started it in December 2004 when I was still a full-time columnist at The Kansas City Star.
I've loved the daily rhythm of doing it -- as, earlier, I loved the rhythm of writing a daily editorial page column, "Starbeams," for The Star for some 27 years before I shifted to a weekly column in the Faith section.
But -- barring some major developments that I may feel compelled to comment on in the next year -- this, the 4,704th post, will be the last daily entry for "Bill's Faith Matters Blog."
The reality is not that I'm burned out doing this. I love doing it. And I've been grateful that The Star has kept access to it available on its website even though I've been retired from full-time employment there for 13-plus years.
Rather, the reality is that I have some writing projects I want to get to before my number is up, and I simply don't have time for that work if I'm still doing this daily blog. If those projects come to fruition, I'll do my best to let you know about them. You can follow me by friending me on Facebook and/or connecting with me on Twitter (@BillTammeus) to stay in the loop.
If this is your first time reading my blog, well, all I can say is that what you missed still is in the archives, to which I've linked you in the first paragraph above. My hope is that it won't take you 15 years to read it all even if it took me that long to write it all.
If you've been a regular reader for a long time, you have my thanks and gratitude. I hope I've occasionally enlightened you or, at minimum, complicated your thinking. I'm sorry if I angered you now and then, but perhaps you needed that. As, now and then, do I.
I've tried to be a voice of calm reason when it comes to matters of religion and ethics. I've tried to explain why religious literacy in our increasingly pluralistic society is so damn important. I've tried to point out not just where religion goes astray, as it often does, but also the immeasurable goodness of which it's capable. I've tried to remind readers that science can answer some questions but not the question of purpose, which is reserved for religion and philosophy, and that religion should not be relied on for answers that only science can provide. I've sought to introduce you to helpful books (a few of which I've authored or co-authored) to ponder all of this and more. And I hope I've opened your mind to the possibility of awe and wonder as the primary impulses behind religion.
Being an elder in a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has provided me a theological lens through which I tend to see the world but I have tried not to argue that the Reformed Tradition of Christianity in which we Presbyterians locate ourselves is the only or even the best way of being religious.
Although I'm stopping the blog, I will continue to write columns for Flatland, KCPT-TV's digital magazine (you can find links to past Flatland columns here), and for The Presbyterian Outlook as well as book reviews for The National Catholic Reporter. And I'll still consider and accept some speaking engagements. But, as I say, this blog is about to fall silent except on rare, if any, occasions.
At the beginning of my newspaper career, we were required to put an end-mark on our copy to indicate to editors that no more of this story or that column could be expected. That end-mark is what today we'd call a hashtag -- #30. So, in memory of my past professional work in journalism, which started in the 1960s, let me say this about this blog:
(The top left photo here today shows the last cubicle I worked in at The Star at the time of my 2006 retirement. It's where I worked when I started this blog. I was gone from that picture, as I'm now gone from this blog. The photo on the right shows my home office, where I've been writing the blog as well as other columns and books in recent years.)
P.S.: For quite a few years I have not allowed comments on this blog because when I did allow them readers turned the comments section into a theist-atheist pitched battle of nastiness. I decided I did not want to be responsible for creating one more platform for uncivil discourse in our culture. But readers could always e-mail me directly, as you still can, too. I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I'm sure you'll have worthwhile things to say, given that, starting tomorrow, we'll all have 2020 vision.
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ANOTHER P.S.: A final book recommendation, especially for white evangelical Christians, who overwhelmingly voted for Donald J. Trump in 2016: Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump, by Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch.