Metablogging: July 2004 Archives

Two Important Notes

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I realized that the post below about how NOT to read scripture implied that I would deliberately misuse scripture, and that is not quite the truth. I elided the essential elements to get on with the post, but let me fill in the background. When I first discovered the quote from Romans I was delighted to find yet another scriptural source that resoundingly defended the point of view I held (or so it seemed.) But I thought about it for a while, and knew that Romans is one of those books that everyone in the world comments on--it is a basic doctrinal source for all sorts of things. Perhaps I should consider what other leading exegetes have to say about this. Consulting a number of them, including Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and William Barclay, I discovered that my interepretation was never really central to understanding the intent of the entire chapter.

It would be intellectually dishonest to hide this (one of the advantages of not bothering to check) and it would not be the best use of scripture. While I do believe that it [forbidding judgment] is a valid and challenging interpretation of the passage for modern times, I also must admit that almost no one heretofore has thought so. So, perhaps this is just a gift of the Holy Spirit to me. By that I mean that perhaps this understanding underlines a certain sense of mission or direction that is tailored for my path alone. God will do those kinds of things. Perhaps I am to call more attention to this element so that we may begin to focus study on the issue of what really constitutes righteous judgment--a point that I do not know has been carefully considered in times past.

However, if I gave the misapprehension that I would ever deliberately consider warping scripture to suit my purposes, that was not the intent. As a former Baptist and a devout Catholic, such a thought is absolute Anathema. The Scriptures are sacred--both as the Word of God and His presence. To so use scripture would be to damn myself and to harm those who would come afterward, and it cannot be countenanced under any circumstances. And for this very reason I felt the need to be truthful and to say that it was a momentary temptation to be intellectually dishonest and to pervert scripture to my own end. I am grateful to God for preserving me from this path.

Item 2--On a much more serious note--I cannot fail to have noticed that many of you have not considered with all due gravity the Sanskrit puns in John Gay. Shame on you! Certainly this must be one of the burning issues of the day. How could you think to hide yourselves away in ignorance of these tremendously important facts? Now, hie thee to the article and study the Sanskrit etymology of Sukie Tawdry.

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Below you'll find a plethora of posts dedicated to the quarterly agonizing as to whether I shall continue to blog or choose to retire to the parlor before I'm overcome by the vapors. At least I spared you all the public agonizing until after the inevtiable decision has been made. Enjoy, or not, at your own discretion.

Later: And, oh, what an incoherent babble it is!

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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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Descent to Silence

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Friday I implemented restrictions on my site that amounted to showing only two days of posts and not allowing comments on any of those. This was prepatory to saying goodbye--to seeing if it would be possible for me to let go. And appears that it may well be so. Only time shall tell. But I'm thinking that by Monday whatever traces of desire to blog remain will have been extinguished and I will vanish off the face of blogdom. There's a part of me that wants to wallow in the "unseen, unheard, unlamented" melodrama, and part that doesn't really want to quit, and part that urges me to get away from this arrangement completely--I needed only the appropriate impetus to get me moving. My foolishness earlier in the week provided this and it may be well for me to delete the entire blog before the weekend so it will be unremembered. Who knows?

I wish things were more clear to me--that I were better able to sort out the competing desires and impulses. How can I begin to gauge whether or not I have done anything worthwhile here? Honestly, I don't have a clue. And since the first duty of a Christian is to "first do no harm and bring no harm to His name," it would seem better that if I am unable to determine this, I should just desist.

And yet part of me rails at this, insists that I should continue to blog. Perhaps that part is called "pride." And perhaps I should not so readily lend it my attention.

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Most Profound Apologies

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Sometimes, unthinkingly, I do something shockingly stupid or hurtful. It is usually not my intent. Such is the case with a recent set of posts I have made regarding the heresy of Americanism. Both posts have been removed.

The problem with them was that it was suggested that Mr. Akin, a fellow blogger, might have fallen into this heresy. In my excitement over the discovery and the interest of the "new" heresy, I stupidly allowed that reference to pass through. I owe Mr. Akin and all who were hurt or offended by that post the most profound apologies. I hope that anyone so harmed will find it in their hearts to forgive me for sinful stupidity. My intent was never to harm to bring harm to a good name. Mr. Akin and I may have a disagreement on the role and nature of contemplation, but such a disagreement is only that. Any implication or statement that Mr. Akin's position on the matter was heretical was both wrong and unfounded.

Once again, my apologies for this offense against the reputation of a good man. As my own imposed penance for so thoughtless an act, I will post only the morning prayer requests for the remainder of the week. Further, I will carefully consider the wisdom and merit of continuing blogging. If I cannot offer courtesy and respect and a comfortable place for all to come, then I accomplish nothing.

My apologies to Mr. Akin and to all of St. Blogs.

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Not that you care, or should care, but I thought it would be nice to say some things that are complimentary of blogging as an exercise and as a discipline. Too often I hear all manner of critics of the art or craft, and there are, admittedly, some strongly negative elements in blogging. In my estimation, these negative elements are more than compensated for by the positive accomplishments that can be a part of participating in blogging.

While I may not compose my very best prose for this blog, I am composing prose daily. The nearly daily discipline of writing has much to be said for it. No, I'm not writing the novel, the poem of the century, or great and timeless essays. Nevertheless, I have an opportunity to say things that I think are important or fun in a forum that invites readers to contribute to the ideas.

I have learned just how little I actually am. Like many, I've thought a good deal too much of myself. I've taken for granted that I am capable and fairly intelligent. In the face of others I have realized my own incompetence and my own smallness in both intellect and spirit. There are those far brighter and more capable than I am--people who reason better and have a better grasp of certain matters that are of importance to me, but which I sort of walk by in a haze. I assume God's mercy will not hold me culpable for things I do not know, but I sometimes am desolated at the depths of my ignorance and my own inability to grasp what seems to others to be the simplest of points. Perhaps I am neither so bright nor so capable as I thought. And this is perfectly all right. It is good to see you as you really are, rather than as you think you are.

In reading other blogs I have been more informed, more inflamed, more engaged, and more interested than I have in years worth of magazines. I am hearing from people, not pundits. Admittedly not all have the same reach and capability, but blogs often allow me access to the opinions of people I can respect, admire, and like. I may disagree--and I try to do so as respectfully as possible. Blogdom has been an arena of learning and refining perceptions of self.

Blogging may not be high art; however, I believe it a valuable and important enterprise. It deserves more respect that the outside gives and and more respect than many of us give it. Will it last? Probably not. Most of us are not Shakespeares and Austens. But I don't think that is the point for most of us. There seems to be a sufficient understanding of the limits of the medium, but only a very poor understanding of its virtues. And there are a great many of them.

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Future Entries

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Having shown to my satisfaction that there is no interest whatsoever in either paleontology or Nathaniel Hawthorne, what new depth shall I plumb as a potential source of all that is dull? I haven't considered it thoroughly yet, but don't be surprised to hear from Father G-L again.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Metablogging category from July 2004.

Metablogging: June 2004 is the previous archive.

Metablogging: August 2004 is the next archive.

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