In an interesting turn of events, though it may not be interesting to anyone but me, Christian Blogging has become commonplace. Krista linked to this page, on which she is featured, and I realized that blogs are very much a Thing now.
I know what you’re thinking. “Matthew, blogs are old. This isn’t news. Where the hell have you been?”
Let me take you back in time, dear reader, back when blogs were new. Back before WordPress existed. Back when the Internet began to show signs of what it would become when the Eternal September began, and when AOL and Compuserve and Prodigy became our means of seeing honest to god graphics and pictures and blink tags. I was online around 1998, and have been active in only the way someone from my generation can be, by which I mean we think of being on the Internet as something distinct from, say, breathing, or eating, or going to work. Mine is the last generation to grow up in the United States without the ubiquity of the Internet, when every office wasn’t necessarily connected, and you had to go out of your way to interact with others via the tubes that connect us.
And for whatever reason, that place, which until recently really did seem like somewhere else as opposed to everywhere-including-right-here, was fairly anti-Christian. There didn’t seem to be many Christians online, despite them being a large percentage of the US population, and instead you had a surprisingly large demographic of atheists, non-Christian religious, and anti-theists. I began blogging in 2003, and in 2004-2005 I wrote literally every day, usually for 3-4 hours a day, on some topic of theology. I sought out others doing the same, and almost no one else was back then. I tried to jump start blogging circles of Christians, to get people to engage online, and it didn’t happen.
As I have anecdotally tracked the development of blogging, it looks to me like blogs about how to make money, and how to blog, and food, and parenting all propelled people into the blogosphere. And then, where their faith touched their passions or hobbies, they talked about their faith. And from there, it wasn’t long before we had a great many blogs devoted solely to faith and to sharing stories and experiences, not just apologetics and theology but actual lives.
This both fascinates and dismays me. I am excited that it exists now, and there is some amazing stuff being written. I currently have 262 unread articles in my Blog – Internet category on Feedly, and a decent chunk of those are Christian blogs that are really fantastic.
It dismays me because I am not a part of that community. I was there before it existed, and now that it exists, I don’t really live on the Internet anymore. I still view it as a place to go to, a thing to engage with actively; where I have to go out of my way, instead of being the water in which I swim. I don’t blog much anymore, and as Feedly (and before that, Google Reader) very succinctly points out, I don’t often read blogs either.
I am busy with my job, and with my church, and with the stuff that I define as Real Life. That’s almost shocking to me, because I used to live my life more on the ‘Net than I did at the University, or the Church, or the Job. I was defined by my online presence, and engaged almost solely through that medium. But I don’t prioritize online interactions anymore. They don’t seem as real to me as they once did. I have reached the same point with most long distance friendships, and instead invest my time and energy in nurturing and growing a handful of relationships with people I see regularly.
So I want to engage with this beautiful, vibrant community that has so many well-educated, intelligent, passionate, wounded, healing, awesome people. I want to write often, and to have something to write about that is cogent and relevant to the Church. And instead, I am filling my time by studying project management, and working as an IT administrator, and being part of the worship and speaking teams at church, as well as taking care of our website and groundskeeping and building and other stuff.
To be clear, I feel no regret about my life. That’s the weird spot I’m in: I have no regrets whatsoever. I love my life and what I’m doing with it. Things are phenomenally good. I don’t understand why God has given me such a wonderful life, but I praise Him daily for it. It’s an odd place to be in, to want to do something, and to be doing something else that prevents you from doing the thing you want, and yet to be completely happy and content.
We can’t do everything. I’m OK with that.
I’m going to subscribe to several of these blogs, maybe in their own Christian-centric group in Feedly, and probably not read them often, if at all. But I love that they exist. I missed the boat by being a decade too early and then moving on with my interests and hobbies, but I am exceedingly glad that the community did finally develop, and that it is thriving, and that it glorifies the Kingdom of God.