Thursday, November 22, 2007

Random Thoughts

It seems like I spend more time commenting on other people's blogs than I do writing on my own lately. I kind of have "blog envy" of those who post regular and thoughtful essays on deep theological, sociological, political and cultural themes. Me? I just seem to be wandering through life a day at a time and any thoughts I have during the day that have any "pith" to them seem to vanish by the time I get home from work and sit down at the computer. I read an article recently (I can't remember where...) that more people are stopping blogging than are starting now. I'd imagine there are a lot of folks like me who are in the middle of the road and have "blog guilt" for having a blog but not posting on it regularly after starting off in a sprint and posting every day in the beginning. Maybe most of us are figuring out that other people's lives are more interesting than ours and other people are saying what we are thinking much more eloquently than we can and other people are thinking of stuff that we aren't smart enough to think of. So, what else is there to blog about then?

At 55 and being a fairly "public" person for most of my adult life as a teacher, minister, counselor, writer, radio program host, reader, catechist, blogger, etc. I'm finding myself becoming more reclusive and quiet and less willing to give an opinion, advice and to be in the spotlight. Any more I do it because I'm asked/told, or because I started a work and need to finish it, or it just comes with the territory of a gift I have and a responsibility I've accepted in order to contribute to a bigger picture... but not because I wanted it or sought it out. In a lot of ways I'd love to be anonymous, silent and still. I look at the abbots and abbesses, priests and monks I know and all the responsibilities they have and I wonder how they keep their balance.
Even in the monasteries there is no true silence and true stillness and anonymity. After all the visits to monasteries I've made, I know the monasteries are an even more intense, busy, servile, and public life in many ways. I also know I'm not qualified to be a hermit because I'm not perfected in my love for mankind in general or even specific people.

In a lot of ways my focus has narrowed over the past few years. I don't concern myself much with "the big picture" in any arena of life... politics, Church issues, culture, economics etc. I sometimes listen to talk radio and the SALEM station's talk radio tag line is "Where YOUR opinion counts!" .... ummmm, yeah, right... it counts for Arbitron ratings and higher advertising rates. A media empire is being built on people's narcissism and the illusion that anyone really cares what they think, including the talk show hosts. The reality is, no ones' opinions really count for much of anything, even if someone asks for them. I know that sounds bleak and negative, but in the end all that matters is Truth, not anyone's opinions. I often wonder lately what our conversations would sound like if all we did was "speak the truth in love". Especially when Christ stood silent before Pilate when He was asked "What is truth?"


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

I have blog guilt too :-)

Meg said...

Don't sell yourself short. You may not post frequently, but when you do, there's a lot of substance in just a few sentences. Love your take on silence, f'rinstance, and your "expose" of the fact that, well, no one really *does* care what we think. And that's probably just as well.

Catrin said...

Very good post - and you get to the heart of why I stopped blogging myself - a growing reluctance to put myself *out there*, and a slow understanding that no one other than God really "cares" what I think anyway. There is something very freeing about that.

However, as Meg points out, this post of yours really does condense a LOT into just a few sentences, and this is important. It matters not that you post rarely, but yours is one of the few blogs I check regularly anyway :)

Don said...

Here I go, posting my opinion on a blog that specifically discusses why opinions don't matter.

That said, you do hit home with your posts, and some of us do care about what you have to say.

Anonymous said... i know where my thoughts come from....dammit. hahaha. o well.

Terry (John) said...

s-p, your excellent post is a prime example of exactly why you do NOT need to stop posting--no matter the frequency.

You are right about blogging--it can become obsessive, like anything else. Our opinions, and our desire to broadcast them, are often a manifestation of our pride. You asked what our conversations would be like if all we did was speak the truth in love. I suspect that there would be long, silent gaps in the conversation!

Honestly, I have to ask myself from time to time, why I am writing what I do in my blog. Sometimes--perhaps more often than I would care to admit--it may very well be pride of opinion. I suppose the best face I can put on it is that I like to write and I have always kept journals. I also take great pleasure in discussing things and ideas--current events, religion, politics, travel, etc. For many of us, this doesn't happen at the workplace (where all conversation borders on gossip), or necessarily even at home (where family concerns predominate, as they should). Blogging allows me to have an ongoing conversation about most anything, with people all over, whether they be in Arizona, Saskatchewan or South Africa.

This is all well and good--pretty good rationalization, don't you think? But what gives it away is when some other blogger quotes me, or links my post. That little puff of pride I get when that happens is a clue of just how close blogging can be to vanity.

Steve Robinson said...

Hi John and all,
Like all things, if we know what they REALLY are and what they can REALLY do and what they can REALLY lead to we will keep it in balance and can use it for good. The problem is, as with all good things, we get easily drawn into the downsides. The fact of the matter is, I like to read about other people's lives, experiences, ideas etc. even if they have to struggle with their egos for writing about them. :)

Anonymous said...

"I read an article recently (I can't remember where...) that more people are stopping blogging than are starting now."

Do you think blogging will go the way of the Citizen Band radio? (Come back, good buddy. Ya'gotcher ears on?)

I know this--I don't blog myself, but I learn much from reading the thoughts of others. Keep it coming. 10-4?

Anonymous said...

10-4! Do CB's still exist?