Sunday, November 22, 2009

Post #500! (And now, I need your help!)

Leading the rehearsal of the wedding of my goddaughter Megan Owen and her now-husband Greg last July

This is my 500th blog post, and in light of that, I thought I would stop and reflect for a minute about the blog itself.

The number of people visiting this blog each day has grown from only a handful (mainly my own parishioners) back when I started it nearly three years ago to an average of about 125 (with about 175 page views a day) now, with people from all over the world checking in. I feel greatly blessed by this, and I thank you all for your participation in this humble blog.

I know that this is not even close to being one of the best Orthodox blogs, nor will it ever be in all likelihood. I just don't have the time that other bloggers seem to have, nor do I have the creativity (and, to make matters worse, I have to have my sleep!). But this blog is what it is, and I am thankful that I have been blessed with the time to do what I have. I don't get a lot of feedback, but from the little I have received, I know that this blog has been helpful to at least a few folks and that it has blessed them. For this I am especially thankful. That's why I do it.

Now, I need YOUR help with something, dear readers. Since I have so many posts, it must be a little overwhelming to a new blog visitor to know which posts to read first. So, I thought I would do something that many other bloggers do: start a "top posts" sidebar, so that new (or long time) visitors can quickly and easily find the best posts (or series of posts) on the blog. But which ones are the best? I can hardly evaluate this myself.

So this is where you come in. I would like as many of you as possible to leave me a comment and tell me 2-4 posts (or series of posts) that you think should be included in the "top posts" list. And while I will welcome input from anyone, I defintely want those of you who are long time readers and frequent commenters to please weigh in. Clint, Debbie, Steve, Charlene, Paul, Isabel, Eddie, Elizabeth (all of you), Rachael, Dn. Michael, Michael F., Joseph, Bill, Terry, Skip, that means you! (I'm sure I'm forgetting a few of you, but even if your name is not listed, I solicit your input).

So, what say ye? Which posts do you think are the best? I'd love to hear what you think. So leave me a comment with your "faves" 1, 2, 3,....go!


elizabeth said...

Hmm, I think I am one of those Elizabeth's. What an honour to be included in such a question.

Your question, Fr. James, is hard to answer in the sense that people are coming to your blog for different reasons.

For me, the blog world is a community I live in to connect with others, be encouraged, including spiritual encouragement and, to be honest, also I find blogs, but they are also a form of relaxation and dare I say, entertainment while still having a strong relational/personal context.

With this preface to my answer, my favourite posts of yours are your more relational posts. I would consider grouping your posts about your conversion (posted in 2007 I believe) as well as Clint and the current MK convert story. Also it would be easy to group your Lenten WOA posts and your Bible Book posts in categories.

Your posts about Courtney and autism are also worthy of being noted.

I think my favourite posts of yours though, which I would call a top post, would be the two you wrote on humility, where you talked your own experiences over the years. ( i.e. ).

I have also always enjoyed reading about your life and your kids. This includes your vacation posts, etc. The person I see in your relational posts is someone I not only like but care about. You and your Courtney are on my prayer list under my icon shelf...

Clint said...

I agree with Elizabeth. I love to read the "real life" stories the most. (And not just because I have written several of them). The problem with trying to choose 1,2 or 3 is that many of the relational posts are in series format. I suppose it would be best to choose the whole series as one entity.

Fr. James Early said...

Clint, you are correct. I meant that a series counts as one entity.

charlene said...

Father James,
You have given us an impossible task. Like potato chips, you cannot eat just one (or three or four. That said, Ilooked over at my office bookcase and found 2 quotes hanging ther to be read frequently that have profoundly touched me. The first is from Lossky, (column 8/22/08):"The perfection of self..." The second is from a column where you quote MetropolitanPaulos Mar Gregorious, "When we pray with love and faith..." The WOA series was brought me closer understanding my place in God's world. Last, but not least, your powerful series on Courtney and autism which had such power to educate people on this topic that is so dear to my eart.
Thank you, Father for all the time you spend on us, helping us grow closer to God, and in my case for answering my endless questions with patience and kindness.

Clint said...

Well, I will leave out my own stuff - that is just too weird to try to include it.

I liked:

1. Your whole BBB story
2. The series on Autism
3. WOA series

John said...

Okay, here's my list:

1. WOA Series
2. The Hale's Journey
3. A Metropolitan Reflects on Prayer
4. Real Life Preacher/Another Baptist Preacher series
5. A Missionary Kid series

I did not include your conversion series, as I read it in your book, rather than the blog.

(I am at #483, btw)

Paul said...

Since you are calling us out by name Fr. James...

1)BBQ song. I know you did not write it, but I loved that song and for that matter all the Funny stupid things people do from that magazine.

2) Series from Tito Corriander (sorry for misspelling his name)

3)The series on the Jesus movie that came out a couple of years back. I never saw it but your explanations shed light on the movie.

4) Your conversion story "BBB"

and of course what everyone else is saying.

Congrats on your 1/4 ton achievement

elizabeth said...

Yes, I agree, each series as one entity each!

James the Thickheaded said...

I'd echo the suggestion of the posts on your family... especially move-in day with your daughter, autism, and your Dad. These form a core of what more of us experience in our own lives, and the strength in our own faith needed... even when we struggle with it. I'd also add some of the things you've written about working (two jobs), as many of our priests do... as it helps us to relate to our own priests, and may be things not shared by them.

Convert stories are good... and your collections here, too. And none of this should be taken as saying the teachings on the Gospel of John and others aren't good. They are.

Mostly... let me take this moment to thank you for writing! Happy Thanksgiving!

charlene said...

Sorry Father,
I MUST add to my list of favorites. Last year you listed movies, music, books for beginners (ones you had read on your journey)and books for those not-so-new to Orthodoxy. All of them were so helpful to me as I learned about our faith. Please include them for the catechumens who read this blog.
And now for the $64,000 question: This blog has had 500 columns as of yesterday, November 23, a 5 01 as of today November 24. But look at the blog listings for each complete year and months for this year, and the list totals to 497 as of the 24th. What happened to the 4 unaccounted for blog titles? Did some blogs piggy-back on others in the same day so that titles do not show? Or did the author delete 4 blogs after posting? Could he have written 4 that we never got to see? - treasures hidden from our view? Father, this is a cry for full disclosure.

Fr. James Early said...


lol!! I have no idea why there is a discrepancy! That's pretty bad for a guy that does math for a living! If I get time, I'll try to figure it out.

s-p said...

Hi Father, I think YOU should pick the posts. When I put up my "Best of..." I picked them because I wanted them to represent what I wanted people to know about me and how I communicate my life in Christ and what is important to me, not to them necessarily. Its YOUR blog about YOU. What do you most want people to know about you?

Daniela Hendea {PurpleD} said...

Hello Fr. Early,

My name is Daniela. My husband and I had one of our few fights over who gets to read your book first. We both come from a baptist background (also orthodox, I was born Romanian) and the book was very relevant to us.

About the posts, I saw on other blogs an application from Blogger that displays the most searched posts and the post with the most comments. I'm not sure if that is what you need, but I thought I would mention that here.

Isabel said...

Thank you, Father, for requesting the input. I am not much on lists. Many times an "article" is inspiring to me, but I have no comment to make. Please don't rate by number of comment responses.
As others have said, the true life tales, the family stories, and the lessons are all useful. I have to admit I love the occasional humor, but don't have much interest in the "wacky news", but that is just my view.
I do especially like that you have guest bloggers, and articles from other blogs. I appreciate the memorial articles, reminding us of saints/sinners who have departed this life.
Also when you comment on movies, books and current culture.

Grouping could be useful for those of us who like to browse archives.

May God grant you (and your blog) many years!

Rachael said...

Okay, I'm finally putting in my two cents...

I really liked the series about Audrey. Also, as others have said, the one on autism and the WOA.

But then I keep thinking of others, and I think I could include most of them in such a list. :) It's hard to decide! I'm gonna go browse some more and see if anything else MUST be mentioned!

Rachael said...

Okay, here's another one that I particularly appreciated:

Rachael said...

Okay, the ones on fasting, too. It seems like people always want answers about that and you have some good posts on it here, I think.

Ha ha...I just ran across your list of most hated Christmas songs. Awesome.

OH YEAH...the series on the Orthodox view of death should be on the list, I think.

Okay, that's all for now. It's fun looking through the old entries though. :)