Seven Years of Blogging.
I know. It amazes me, too…
My first post was made on Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 and it was a crude introduction to who I am and what I wanted my blog to be all about. You can read it here: Introductions.
According to my blogger dashboard, I currently have 1,517 post entries including this post. A good deal of them are fluffy things like links to videos or news items.
According to my Sitemeter account, I have at this writing, 381,344 hits averaging around 205 hits a day. Of course, because I initiated my Sitemeter account in August of 2006, that reading doesn’t take in the first year. My current visits are up from about six months ago when I was maybe averaging 150 visits a day. More importantly, the average visit is around three and half minutes, which means a lot of folks hang around to read some of the stuff I wrote.
I began blogging for two specific reasons: I loved to write on theological subjects and I wanted the ability to control my web content and publish it immediately.
But of those two, writing on theology was what really drove me.
Good writing is slowly becoming a fading discipline. It is regrettable, especially among God’s people. The one thing I can recall my professors in seminary drumming into my head is to pursue excellence with theological writing. A pastor, they often argued, must be able to articulate difficult theological concepts in writing so simple lay men can understand them.
Such an effort is certainly a challenge. Not everyone does it well with consistency over a long period of time. There is a bit of work involved, but I do my best to excel with my writing, and I have repeated the challenge to others. A person truly owns a doctrine when he is capable of expressing it in writing.
But blogging is much more than “just writing.”
A blog is supposed to be a reflection of an individual’s personality. That is seen in the web design, illustrations, subject matter covered, sidebar links, etc.
A few months or so after had started blogging, I received an email with a link taking me to some fancy-pants website where writers pontificate on how a person or business can improve on-line etiquette. The article in question was exploring the then “blogger” phenomena and spelled out the rules on how to be a successful blogger by generating traffic to your site. The writer exhorted bloggers to do such things as write short posts, link to as many other websites as you can, keep your blog articles organized around just one or two themes, don’t plagiarize, etc.
I read those suggestions and realized my blog pretty much did the opposite of everything mentioned in the article. On my blog, I jumped from topic to topic, sometimes talked a lot about myself, and some of my articles were like 2,000 words or more. According to the logic of this article, my blog should have failed six and half years ago. But here I am seven years later and I have no thought of losing interest or slowing down in any fashion.
I once noted in a blog article how I had been reading of more Christians quitting the blog-o-sphere because blogging allegedly brought out the bad in people. They argued with each other, cut one another down, there were no restraints on anything a commenter could say, except maybe turning off comments, and blogging could be spiritually detrimental to a Christian’s sanctification. What spiritual good could possibly come from blogging? – plus, it wastes your time anyways when you could be spending it with your family. I have encountered bad folks commenting at both my blog and others I frequent. I can also say that when I began blogging, for a while I was probably a bit more snarky in my writing and I could dish out the sass mouth in the comments. I hope I have matured some since then.
Rather than being a detriment to my spiritual health, however, my overall experience blogging has been extremely satisfying and helpful to me as a Christian. It certainly has helped me think through subjects, especially when I get the push back from critics. Blogging has definitely improved my ability to communicate clearly and concisely with my writing.
Probably the one thing I do struggle with is blogger envy.
There is always someone out there who writes better than I do; whose articulation of an issue is more witty and to the point. Their blog is also much more fun to visit because their photoshop skills are off the charts compared to mine.
However, the ones who truly get to me are those bloggers who are well known and have big followings who really don’t offer much substantively (I’ll refrain from naming names). Oh, of course people cite them and link to them incessantly, but I sit back and marvel at how these folks can gather such a following. Meanwhile, other bloggers I read, who craft some of the best material a person can read both with pithiness and entertainment, will labor in virtual obscurity. I would much rather hear that little guy interviewed at some blogger conference than the ones who usually get the spot light.
Over all, I believe I have stuck with my stated purpose of being a theological and apologetic oriented blog. During the last 7 years I have covered a myriad of topics. Early on I started to respond to a now defunct liberal Christian organization called The Christian Alliance for Progress. They once had a website hosting their “seven values” available on line here. I began responding to each point with an individual post starting with this one, but I only made four entries on the subject before I abandoned it. I got distracted by other items I found on the internet, but I also had to deal with finding cancer in my neck near the end of 2005 and a surgery in January of 2006.
After my failure to follow through with finishing up my critique of the CAP, I did begin to focus more on completing any of my series I would begin. The first long series I did was a study on the subject of KJV-onlyism. I remember when Frank Turk was a nobody before he became a big shot blogger at TeamPyro, he would stop by here and leave comments. After one post I did interacting with gay Christian arguments, he told me that I should buckle down the hatches because the flood of angry comments were about to fall upon me. I responded by saying, “wait until I start blogging about KJV onlyism".”
My series of articles examining KJV-onlyism began with my testimony of leaving KJV onlyism, which was posted in September, 2005 and continued a full year ending on September, 2006. Keep in mind I didn’t blog on KJV-onlyism every week for a year, just that I posted regularly on the subject for a year.
Other series I wrote: 20 ways to answer a fool (an interaction with atheist arguments), apologetic methodology, answering gay Christian argumentation, occasional readings from British historian, Paul Johnson, studies in the subject of eschatology, a response to Sam Waldron’s lame book against my pastor, a defense of premillennialism which is in progress, and three studies on biblical books, Job, Daniel and 1 Samuel, which is also in progress.
Out of all my posts, there are two that are the most searched and read.
First is my treatment of fake Bigfoot pictures, and then second is my evaluation of youth evangelist Louie Giglio’s laminin molecule evidence. The Bigfoot article was written in the fall of 2006 and to this day some six years later, there is at least one visit to it on a daily basis. As of 2007, when I activated Google analytics, I have had 2,300 page views of that article. My article critiquing Louie Giglio’s evangelistic methodology was posted on May 22, 2008 and has had roughly 11,800 making it the number one most read article I have written.
I will confess my blog is not all that pretty to look at. It's very plain and simple, and I guess one can say boring looking. I have attempted to learn some basic photo editing skills over the years. I did down load GIMP, and I have the how-to GIMP videos bookmarked, and one of these days I intend to watch how I can learn the basics.
However, I like simplicity, but more to the point, I hate change. I guess I can understand the need to upgrade the appearance of a blog for necessity sake. Say for instance, to organize your online content in a more concise fashion for the newcomer. But I know of some bloggers who think they need to change the appearance of their blog every year and that just annoys me. I mean, I get use to where stuff is, how it looks, what to expect every visit, and then BAM I come the next day and a whole new template exists. There was one blogger I remember from a couple of years ago who changed the appearance so much I stopped visiting.
But my main goal is to have good content for readers. Though I occasionally blog on current evangelical trends, other bloggers do much better at critiquing them than I do. I focus my writing more on subjects I figure every Christian will encounter at least once in their Church going experience. Some time, every Christian is going to come across some person arguing that God doesn't condemn homosexuality. Or that modern Christians are bigoted for denying gay "Christians" the right to marry each other. The flummoxed Christian will want to know what he or she should say in response and in God's providence, come across some things I have written. The same could be said about the KJV-only issue or eschatology.
I realize I address mundane, out of the ordinary topics, but I have received many, many emails over the last 5 years thanking me for tackling them. I may not have a massive review of the Shack available, or the latest commentary on something Rick Warren said on CNN, but if some confused soul wants to know what his response should be to a bizarre conspiracy theory advocated by a fellow church member, I hope I can help the guy out.