Why do I Blog?, they asked, at the UU Bloggers gathering at GA.
Well, I started to give my congregation a way to follow what I was learning and thinking about during my sabbatical. It was something of a shock to discover that more than half of my readers were not in my congregation. (How do I know that? That "hit counter" at the bottom of this page tells me not only how many people have visited, but the city their server lives in.) Many were from New England. This week, a batch are from St. Louis, where the GA is. This suggests to me that many of my readers are UU's from elsewhere.
Amongst the pleasures of the Sabbatical Blog were the pleasures of writing in a kind of "quick and dirty" way about the things going on around me, passing them not, perhaps through the "fire of thought", as Emerson said sermons must be, but at least through the smoke. I anticipate reaching back into my blog for sermon illustrations and such. Writing about things helps me to process and remember. Having a readership is a sort of astonishing side benefit of what is essentially keeping a journal.
Of course, there are many matters only appropriate for my private paper and pencil journal, Spiritual Director, or close friends.
The wonderful volunteer setting up our church's new website set up a blogging option for staff members; beautiful templates, a much better spell checker, (Blogger's spell checker, for instance, doesn't know the word "Blog") and other features. But after thinking about it, I rebelled. This venue is just removed enough from the church that I can write a bit more freely and with a few fewer constraints than I feel when writing "as the minister." How the Website blogs will shape up is yet to be seen. This blog is mine.
And the most common question I've gotten this week from my colleagues besides "how are you," is, "I hear you are starting satellite congregations, tell me everything!" So I think I'll set up a blog for that Multi-Site Multi Venue as a tool for sharing what we are doing and learning about this.