WordPress kindly informed me this morning that I have now been hammering away on this blog for six years.
Many times I have thought it was time to stop blogging and turn my energies to something else, but each time I have found myself returning. I no longer write each day, but I still find that the process of collecting my thoughts into some kind of external offering is a useful one for me- a way of shaping my experience to something deeper, something more deliberately spiritual. I strive to be as honest as I can be, and mostly I think I achieve this, albeit with the inevitably bias of human perspective.
I had a bit of a row with a manager in work a while or so ago over a piece that I wrote reflecting on a work issue. It highlighted the blurred lines between the person/public that blogs venture into. How much of myself is it OK to share in such a public way? How much of other people’s lives is it OK to mention? It is so easy to forget that people actually occasionally READ things that I write. The manager I mentioned was an intensely private person and it was clear that s/he had no comprehension as so why I would ever spill my soul on to the internet. The whole episode was quite upsetting at the time and it caused me to step back and review again my own motivations.
Back in 2011, I borrowed and revised a list of reasons for blogging from Tall Skinny Kiwi (Andrew Jones) who has been blogging since the stone age- most of us became imitators of his style really, unwittingly or not. He suggested this list, with Bible references and everything;
1. Praise (public acknowledgement) – “publish glad tidings daily”
2. Accountability. (Eph. 5: 21 “Submit yourselves to one another”, quote from Athanasias)
3. Vulnerability (Daniel’s window)
4, Given-ness (Freely you have received, gift economy, Prov 11:24)
5. Creative Naming (Adam, Neighbors in Ruth)
6. Repentance (editing/deleting/changing our mind in new media)
7. Fellowship (hypertext linking, Koinonia)
8. Evangelism (storytelling, blogging from our lives)
9. Integrity (writing matches our speaking, design reflects reality)
10. Posterity. (store/guard what has been entrusted, writing history)
There was also another one: Watchfulness (“watch and pray”).
I think I would add a couple more-
11. Creativity- most writers would say that words shape us as we shape them.
12. Discipline and long term commitment- blogging output varies, but it demands mostly daily commitment over a long time to develop a voice.
But I think blogging should come with a little warning for introspective folk like me- it can be addictive, and it is not the only spiritual discipline- and should never become dominant in our lives above other things that carry us towards ‘the other.’
There is also physical community. Having said that, I recently had the pleasure of sharing a tiny island with several friends, all of whom I would never have the pleasure of knowing but for blogging… It is a strange new world we find ourselves in, with connections sparked by cyberspace as much (if not more than) locality, but in the end, it is still all about seeking the depth in ourselves, and the seeing the beauty in the other.