Yesterday, as I was trying my best to be productive with my procrastination, I realized I didn't have any of my Next-Wave (UPDATE 11/16/12: Links removed due to Malware... what happened Next-Wave?) articles saved anywhere. Yes, over thirteen years ago, when the Internet was young, I wrote for this website. I contributed 24 essays on issues related to faith and culture (read more about that here). I was even editor-in-chief for a short time. I offered decent editorial direction. I had ideas that were somewhat original at the time--made sure each essay was also available as a downloadable pdf, tried to keep submissions under 1000 words, attempted that "blog thing" with the editor/publisher section, and added a message board. I found some great contributors. My web design skills were terrible at the time, and I didn't have Wordpress to lean on. But hey, the site looks nicer now.

So, I went through Next-Wave's archives and copy-pasted everything I wrote into a Word document. It amounted to 35,104 words. Not too shabby for a young writer. In 2008, I contributed one last essay about my own "loss of faith." From that essay:

"Recently, I took time to read what I had written previously, expecting to be completely horrified by it. And you know? Not too shabby. A few of my essays had some ideas that still hold up--a little bit of wit, sloppy reasoning here and there, and a whole lot of enthusiasm. I remember the more I wrote, the more anxious I got to make Next-Wave subversive. I wanted to shake things up in a positive way. At a certain point, that anxiety probably got the best of me."

It's clear NOW that I was using those essays to work out my own issues. Occasionally, I was straight-up trying to start shit.

"If I think this way, will you still accept me? If I believe this, will you still call me one of your own? If I act different, will you still trust me? How far will the community stretch to include those who don’t fit the mold--without any pretense to conform them?"

These are not good qualities for someone wanting to be a pastor. You'll drive yourself nuts. And it's a good thing I didn't go that route. However, I wonder if it'd be interesting to go back through those essays and have a polite discussion with the younger version of me. Would anyone else be interested in reading it? Would anyone publish it?