“So, how is your blog going?” I’ve been asked that question a few times lately by real-world non-blogging friends. It hasn’t been a straightforward question to answer, since I’m well aware that both my output and quality have been below normal (though I’m not doing that bad compared to my goals for the year). It […]
“So, how is your blog going?”
I’ve been asked that question a few times lately by real-world non-blogging friends. It hasn’t been a straightforward question to answer, since I’m well aware that both my output and quality have been below normal (though I’m not doing that bad compared to my goals for the year). It seems I’m not alone in being self-critical about the health of my blog; Steve at Spanglish Gringo, John at Smulospace, Scott at Theopraxis and Jason at DelhiBelly have all reflected on breaks, lower outputs and the strains of trying to navigate life and a blog.
I’ve always felt that blogging flows best when the content is already being created through exisiting patterns of work and thought. My most productive spells of blogging come when I’m working on ideas in real-world and email coversations and writing drafts for papers, essays and the like. In fact, that’s the whole point of this blog, to process. organise and make public the ideas and words that flow across my desk.
When blogging just becomes another activity to add to an already overcrowed “to-do” list, another stand-alone duty, then it becomes hard to sustain – at least with any quality.
The problem, of course, is that the stuff of life doesn’t always overlap with the stuff of blogging. Over the past few weeks I’ve been travelling, fighting off food poisoning and going through a busy spell of parenting. All that means time away from the desk. Moreover, the other tasks I’ve been focussed on, music, investment, cooking and reading fiction are things I’ve never managed to blog about.
Music in particular is something I’ve struggled to intergrate into this blog. The answer might be a podcast – playing samples and talking about how they were recorded and written. But, there are already so many podcasts out there.
The main reason the blog output has been inconsistent is that church and theological conversations are at a low point, perhaps my lowest ebb ever. The email inbox doesn’t fill up like it used to, we’re not that involved with church on a local level, and I’m not meeting with many people, or attending any conferences/seminars. Back when I started blogging in 2001 (I can’t believe I started before Andrew/TallSkinnyKiwi) I was coming off the back of a highly productive Academic season, involved in Chaplaincy and helping churches think missionally on a local level. There was a lot ot blog about. My first attempts at blogging were inconsistent, mainly due to being primary carer for our then baby daughter and a series of three house moves, over two countries, within two years and a fair amount of writing fatigue. In a lot of ways I wish it had been possible to blog (and develop the blogging habit/skill) back 1998, when I was pastoring in a church and lecturing at theological college.
Perhaps the drop in blog output is a sign that a period of extended reflection is over. From 1991 to 2003 I was on what felt like a high-speed train, from short-term mission to theological college, to pastoral work, to chaplaincy to PhD and finally into the oncoming train that was living in India. From 2004 to 2006 I was in a deep season of reflection, coming to grips with the era of change and mission and realising exactly how much of the identity I had accreded during that time needed to be jettisoned. But, from the beginning of 2007 that contemplative spell has yieled into a new, somewhat undefined, season of life.
It’s not that theology, church and mission are behind me – far from it. I feel strongly that I will write extended pieces of theological work again in the near future; but without either a clearly defined audience, or a working sense of academic community, it is hard to find a focus. I’m sure that in time we will intergrate again into a ecclesial community, but I’m coming to realise that might happen during our sojourn in Hong Kong. This is a very odd place to be an expat and an even weirder place to be a Christian expat.
So, for now the blogging continues, but in the slightly random, disjointed and eclectic pattern you’ve seen so far this year.