Do I Have Anything Whatsoever Worthwhile to Say

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I don't know.

I go to Disputations and there are always interesting points and arguments there--cogently considered and pertinent to our lives.

I go to Video Meliora and I am, at a minimum, amused, often intrigued, occasionally piqued.

Summa Mammas and Two Sleepy Mommies tell me something relevant and interesting about family life, dealing with children, and everyday practice of faith.

I could continue down the list of places and comparisons. But they all lead to one inevitable conclusion--what I have to say is for a vanishingly small audience of people--a loyal and faithful audience, but one that could as easily find these things elsewhere. There is nothing new here. Anyone can read the documents I read and come to similar (or wildly different conclusions. So what is the point?

The point is I write, not because I have anything to offer that isn't better said elsewhere, but for two reasons:

(1) I cannot do otherwise.

(2) In writing I learn what I cannot learn from merely reading. In writing I begin to play with ideas and shape them--however awkwardly and clumsily, until they begin to mean something to me. Much of what is here is exploration, investigation. It isn't even really meant to be definitive. If I could speak definitively, i certainly would not be in the messed up spiritual realm I am in.

It is this second reason that is an important reason for continuing to blog despite the lack of originality. Ecclesiastes in its world-weary way tells us that "There is nothing new under the sun." And that is so true. I couldn't come up with a "new" truth because Truth has been established from Eternity--it is timeless and always present. I might provide a way of looking at the truth that provides insight or provokes questions--but I'm not going to tell anyone anything they don't already know.

So while I despair of being so great a servant as those I have mentioned and many others, I continue to write. Even if for an audience of one, it is a necessary part of who I am and how I need to approach and understand God.

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In writing I learn what I cannot learn from merely reading. In writing I begin to play with ideas and shape them--however awkwardly and clumsily, until they begin to mean something to me. Much of what is here is exploration, investigation. It isn't even really meant to be definitive.

That in an of itself is a reason to keep blogging. You might need a break, but it is always good to keep thinking and writing. It does help to form opinions and thought.

I try to blog on things Catholic, sports, and personal. I stay away from politics for the most part; the discussions just dishearten and anger me when I have posted political writings.

Hang in there, there are people reading!


For years I wrote as prayer. Processing what I read and reflected on helped me to be transformed by it. I am not doing that now for five short reasons: the children. And, my transformation/conversion is continuing albeit much more slowly.

So, keep on blogging. It is good for you and it is good for those of us who read it.

Here is a quote from the Nobel Prize lecture by Wislawa Szymborska. It refers to Ecclesiastes. I thought of you and your poetry and blogging:

"I sometimes dream of situations that can't possibly come true. I audaciously imagine, for example, that I get a chance to chat with the Ecclesiastes, the author of that moving lament on the vanity of all human endeavors. I would bow very deeply before him, because he is, after all, one of the greatest poets, for me at least. That done, I would grab his hand. "'There's nothing new under the sun': that's what you wrote, Ecclesiastes. But you yourself were born new under the sun. And the poem you created is also new under the sun, since no one wrote it down before you. And all your readers are also new under the sun, since those who lived before you couldn't read your poem. And that cypress that you're sitting under hasn't been growing since the dawn of time. It came into being by way of another cypress similar to yours, but not exactly the same. And Ecclesiastes, I'd also like to ask you what new thing under the sun you're planning to work on now? A further supplement to the thoughts you've already expressed? Or maybe you're tempted to contradict some of them now? In your earlier work you mentioned joy - so what if it's fleeting? So maybe your new-under-the-sun poem will be about joy? Have you taken notes yet, do you have drafts? I doubt you'll say, 'I've written everything down, I've got nothing left to add.' There's no poet in the world who can say this, least of all a great poet like yourself.""

I'm just finishing Seven Story Mountain now. I'm reminded of how Merton struggled with his writing, thinking it was something bad; yet he brought the writer-side of him to the monastery too. Merton the writer was inseparable from Merton the monk. When he was struggling with whether or not to continue writing, he took it to the abbot who said - keep writing.

So please, keep writing! And remember, it's not a contest, it's a reflection of your self on your journey.

Given the price of analysts, writing is a cheap form of therapy for me. But seriously, Bill White said it best in an earlier comment - that you don't realize the good you do. Would I have Stinissen's book now but for you? I agree with the "Do No Harm" sentiment, but I can't even fathom how you think you might've done harm.

Dear TSO,

When the doubt enters, I always dread the admonition, "Whosoever leads one of these the least of my little ones astray, it were better that a millstone be hung about his neck and he were cast into the sea." I do not deliberately mislead, but what if I have said something that someone misinterprets and goes astray as the result of what I have said?

That's one form of harm. And then, of course there is the enormous problem of discourteous behavior to another, the less that is said, the better. But I have of recent date been somewhat less than charitable in some of what I have posted and need to restore a sense of decorum and courtesy. At least so it seems to me. But then, it's one of those things I'm extraordinarily sensitive to.

So, in fact, probably no harm has been done, but that is one of the doubts that assails me. Fortunately, God provides a bracing remedy and specific in the form of some of the better thinkers who pass through here correcting where I may get off track. So, in reallity, I have very little to worry about.

But thank you for your encouraging words. They help a lot!





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 23, 2004 1:50 PM.

Carlos Mester's Hints for Reading the Bible Prayerfully was the previous entry in this blog.

Oh, Kiddies, Do I Have a Treat in Store for You is the next entry in this blog.

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