Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Direction of This Blog

Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. -- Ecclesiastes 12:12

As those of you who read a lot of blogs know, there are many, many of them out there. To paraphrase the author of Ecclesiastes, of the making of many blogs there is no end. Even if we narrow it down to blogs written by Orthodox writers, there is still a great variety of types of blogs. This is (in general) a good thing.

In my thinking, Orthodox bloggers can be classified in two main ways. First, we can classify them by how often they post. Some post daily or nearly daily, some post every few days, some post weekly or so, and some post only every great once in a while.

Another way of classifying Orthodox bloggers is by what topics they write on. Roughly speaking, most blogs either specify in discussing news items (mainly Church news) or theological or devotional topics.

A third classifier is whether the bloggers mainly write their own material, or whether they mainly cut, paste, and link.

My favorite blogs are those in which the author mainly writes his or her own material, which cover theological and devotional (particularly devotional) topics, and which post often. The one blog (at least among those that I am aware of) that best meets all three of these criteria is Glory to God in All Things, by Fr. Stephen Freeman. You’ve heard me say this ad nauseam, but I’ll say it one more time: Glory to God is in my opinion the best Orthodox blog that there is. I think every Orthodox Christian should read it daily. Koinonia, by Fr. Gregory Jensen, is also an excellent one that I try to read daily. It meets all three of my criteria for (if you will) "blog excellence."

When I first started this blog last March, my intention was that it would be primarily devotional, and that I would post something at least every other day, if not every day. Many people at my parish who had attended my adult Sunday School class (or had wanted to, but could not for one reason or another) asked me if I could post my Bible study notes on the Internet. So, I resolved to do just that. This blog, then, was to be something like “Fr. James’ reflections on the Scriptures."

However, as those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time know, it took a very different turn very early on. Although I did post a few devotional reflections, I soon felt led to begin writing about my pilgrimage to Orthodoxy. What I thought might take 8-10 posts ended up taking 30! This process took five months. Then I felt led (compelled? Driven?) to put these 30 posts together, expand them a little, and make them into a book. Again, this took much more time and effort to complete than I had originally planned for, and the blog went on hold for a while. About six months later, I was able to resume the blog.

Since resuming the blog, I have found myself not able to find the time to write very many original reflections, especially over the last couple of months. Now that I am off work for a little while, I am hoping to return to my original goal of devoting the blog primarily to the study of the Scriptures and the Fathers. I will still occasionally post news items of interest (such as my series on “This Crazy WORLD”), but my heart’s desire is to help those of you who read this (and myself too!) to better understand and love the foundational documents of the Orthodox faith.

Please pray that I will be able to do this. I know that it can only happen with a lot of help from God. This coming year, my wife will be working full time for the first time since 1993, and she will be taking two night classes. Not only that, but it will be Audrey’s senior year, and my work at the school district will be busier than ever. Needless to say, things will be crazy!

Again, your prayers will be appreciated. Also, if there are any topics that you would like me to discuss, please let me know, and I’ll try to oblige. Over the next few days, I am planning to discuss the Orthodox view of death (Stephen Covey would be proud – I’m beginning with the end in mind!).

May the Lord bless you all.


Sophocles said...

Father bless,

I'm thankful for your efforts and pray your heart's desire may be accomplished on your blog.

Looking forward to seeing the Lord's hand on you and this blog.

In Christ,


Clint said...

As long as you remember to sharpen the saw...

Sorry, couldn't resist the Covey reference.

I certainly enjoy reading your blog. Had you not started it, I probably wouldn't be where I am in my Orthodox journey. I am looking forward to the discussion on Death. Really.

Anonymous said...

Blog reading can be time consuming...thanks for suggesting discrimination guidelines!
I, too, look forward to the "death" talks. Time being what it isn't, we are all close to death - our own or anothers - and some guidance here is sorely needed.