Blogging and Presumption

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I don't know what drives most people to blog. To make any statement about the matter is simply presumption on my part, in both the positive and negative meanings of that word. It is also presumption for me to think that I have anything new to tell anyone. Ecclesiastes said it thousands of years ago, "There is nothing new under the sun." True.

And yet I blog. As I stated above, I cannot speak for other bloggers nor for their feelings about the form of communication--only for myself.

And when I get to thinking this way, I also begin to think about giving up blogging. (That's not a threat, simply a reality.) At that point I remind myself of why I blog, or why I don't really blog.

True blogging is all about linking and commentary--showing people what you are interested in on the web and commenting on it. Now, it has subsequently developed a great many facets and variations--as many variations as there are people.

My blog is more like an open journal. I write here about the things that concern me most. I try to explain them to myself in a way that makes them new and comprehensible to me. If this is a service to others, I am grateful to God for the inspiration. If not, I am grateful to God for this chance to extend prayer into the blogworld. Because in a very real sense for me, writing is prayer. Writing is the way that I make sense of the world and bypass the interior censor.

So, blogging is presumption. Yes, I thought (note past tense) once again about quitting, but once again I find that there is sufficient reason to blog in what I learn as I write. There is sufficient reason in whatever little praise God may receive through these writings. There is sufficient reason in that while I blog, I do think (most of the time) about God and I do engage in extended prayer. Admittedly, it is merely vocal prayer. But as St. Teresa of Avila noted, vocal prayer devoutly and completely engaged in can lead to or become contemplative prayer. If so, pray for me that it might become so. Then this blog, presumptuous as it is, would have a great purpose for at least one soul.

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I, personally, don't think that true blogging is about posting links and commentary. Since the word comes from web+log, and a log is a journal, I think that keeping a weblog is, indeed, a sort of journal. The fact that you can then publish it online is a way of meeting people (maybe), find other people with your interests, discuss such matters with them, &c.

Weblogging is the modern town square, except that thanks to bookmarks and RSS feed, one doesn't have to walk past insufferable fools braying their nonsense in order to find what interests him.

I like Jack's point about blogs being journals. It is a mark of a utilitarian society that blogs must be seen to carry some sort of freight in order for them to justify their existence. Our society loves those who pull their weight, and puts to death (unborn babies) those who don't.

Dear Jack and TSO,

I agree with both of you. My definition was to address the overly fine distinctions that some make between weblogs and online journals. I suspect this is a difference that is more semantic than useful and in any case, my own blog would come closer to the online journal side of things anyway. A distinction that is not useful is also not much of a distinction, so I will humbly retract my definition of blog in favor of what you all have said above.




As someone who has blogged, then quit, then blogged again and quit again and blogged someone who has always felt the need to justify my inane blatherings, I felt good reading this post,Steve and even moreso, the responses.
Particularly, "It is a mark of a utilitarian society that blogs must be seen to carry some sort of freight in order for them to justify their existence. Our society loves those who pull their weight, and puts to death (unborn babies) those who don't. " by TSO.
Thank you!

Alexa, while I stand by my statement of blogs not having to serve others, I'm at times concerned whether they serve us. Since I haven't quit blogging yet, you are in a unique position to tell me: is blogging good for our soul? Amy Welborn recently wrote, "We start out intending to use the blog, but too often the blog ends up using us."

Dear TSO,

When I started blogging, it was nearly compulsive, having to write every day no matter once--it instilled a certain discipline. Now i can contemplate not blogging without concern because it has assumed proper proportionality as one of many possible tools. What is interesting is the truth of what Amy has said. It can become the dominant factor rather than the subsidiary it is meant to be.



I think the reason I started to blog was to express myself...sort of like a journal - I find typing faster than handwriting and I liked being able to put pictures up, etc. I then found out when I opened blogger, how it works to have people read what you write and comment, which I thought was a nice way of getting feedback about my thoughts and feelings...from people I'll probably never meet...which has its plusses, I think. The blog, I think everyone agrees, has a certain amount of psychological addiction to it for some people, myself, for instance.
I find I get wrapped into certain posts I write and am all too eager to see what/if anyone comments about them and "check my blog" a zillion times a day as I walk by the computer while cleaning house or just doing the Domestic Excellence scene...
I think what Amy says is true.
I think some, like Steve here, intend to help others more than someone like me. I'm just using a blog to express myself.
I find that other blogs help me, at times, and I appreciate it...but that's not my blog's "calling".
It think it's me who often times feels "blogs must be seen to carry some sort of freight in order for them to justify their existence", but I direct that only to myself, not others...for some warped psychological reason I suspect...
I don't know if this made any sense....I've had a few interruptions in the writing of this post...I'm in the middle of cleaning an oven/kitchen and getting a 3 year old ready for school...

Well, since you have blogged for stretches and not blogged for stretches that would seem to indicate it's healthy for you, since, as Steven says, it appears to be in its proper subsidiary place.

What blogging has taught (or is teaching) me is that we have to be who we are. I've learned how little I know and that I ought not be wading in things way beyond me.

Dear Alexa,

It is interesting that you should say that because I view this blog as primarily self-expression and self-tutelage. If others benefit, I am deeply appreciative that God has used me to help them, but I don't really set out to help anyone in any deliberate way--I just bring up the questions and the puzzles that are part of my inner workings and hope that someone can offer some insight or additional thought that might help me move further along. Every few posts or so someone does so, either through what they say or through the nature of the response. But this is a blog about addressing questions of tremendous importance to me. Most of what you read is me talking to myself and saying--"Look dummy, here's what you read, this is what it means, here's how to apply it." The thing people must be careful us it that while the doctrine might be universal, the application to any case is always personal--so I might share my view or application of a given doctrine, and it may or may not help others, but it should never be taken as instruction per se. I don't know enough and I am humbled in the presence of those who do.

But we are much the same--we write to hear ourselves think and to see what others think of it. I do so with an aim to approaching ever closer to the goal I cherish--perhaps as a result it seems somewhat more didactic. But it really is about prayer and offering to God. Writing helps me hear Him in ways that I don't seem to be able to process otherwise.

Thanks for giving me the chance to say this.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 2, 2005 7:56 AM.

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