Like many others, no doubt, I have thought for some time about having a blog. It’s up for debate, but I think starting a new one makes sense. And so here I am. But before I go on, I feel a need to explain how I’ve worked through my reasons for starting what many others seem to be stopping. This apology is more directed at myself than anyone else, but you are welcome to join the ride.
One reason often given for writing a blog is publicity and/or extra income. I don’t think these are bad things at all. In my PhD there were many classmates who did this sort of thing to showcase themselves for potential jobs. The job market for theological studies PhDs who want to teach is pretty dire so anything that helps your chances makes a lot of sense to me, though showcasing one’s ideas can also turn off potential suitors (I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing either). In the publicity vein, I also had a friend encourage me start a site like this and build my visibility so that I could get free books to review. I like free books and everybody needs to work, but those aren’t really my motivations (though you can still send me free books).
On a couple occasions I spent time looking into blogs and seeing how to do them well and weighing different options and features, etc. I found that sort of exploring tiring. Which will probably explain the many blogging “errors” that this site has and will have. I am also a fairly inconsistent and finicky blog reader. Some blogs that write regularly are still part of my habitual reading, but most are not. Same for most blogs that rarely or irregularly post. I’m looking for content and so I evaluate certain blogs (or journals or websites or papers) that I feel I can trust to give good content. If I get something from it, then I keep reading. When it comes to friends’ blogs I generally follow irrespective of content because I simply want to know what their minds are up to. All that to say: I am not really starting this so that I can become anyone’s regular read, but I hope some will read this. Also, I have no intentions of following a regular schedule. Posts will appear for other reasons.
A better (for my defense) reason often given for blogging is that it helps encourage regular writing, which is an excellent exercise in and of itself. In this regard, I am indebted to my dad who saw a similar need in his own life as a pastor several decades ago (well before blogs were a thing) which led him to write and disseminate a monthly paper. He would often quote Francis Bacon who said: “Reading makes a broad man, writing makes an exact man.” I find the sharpening value that only regular writing supplies the most convincing reason to start a blog.
But I haven’t started before. Probably the reason that pushed me over the edge has more to do with the station of life I find myself in right now. I’m done with my schooling (theoretically), which has left a hole. While I get the opportunity to teach and write on occasion, I don’t get to sit in a classroom (or library or office) with my prof and classmates like I used to and digest material regularly and, more importantly, informally. That is what I miss the most, especially in the areas of my specific academic interests. I still have research projects along with teaching and smaller writing opportunities, but I’m looking for something a little different. My hope is that a blog will help to fill this perceived need. I work at a seminary right now and so I get some opportunity to do this, but my primary responsibility is to recruit students, not to teach. And so, I hope it gives me a good place to do some informal (though hopefully still serious) musing. And having my own blog gives me freedom from various constraints. Which is good, because I would rather make this open ended.
And so, in an effort to force myself to sharpen and in an effort to create space for cogitation I am giving this a shot.