Friday, February 12, 2010

That'll Do

I've been rehearsing the reasons for giving the blog a break during Lent, and concluded that if they apply from Wednesday, then they actually apply now too....

1. Time: important stuff is being neglected, and spending an hour or so a day composing here and reading other people's stuff will yield a whole working weeks worth of time for Lent. I'm also ending up doing things late at night and playing catch-up a lot, which means there's too many plates spinning. This one can drop.

2. Vanity: it's nice to have a blog that people visit, and revisit. It's nice to get linked. It's nice to get comments. But if even 20% of my motivation for blogging is to get the approval and custom of others to bolster my fragile ego, then that's 20% too much. I imagine that's an under-estimate. Why else would I check the number of visitors on a daily basis?

3. This week there's been a sobering comparison between the number of followers I have on Twitter, and visitors to the blog, and the number of birthday cards which actually arrived. I'm poor at keeping in touch with people at the best of times, but I don't want to trade the few decent friendships I have for hundreds of acquaintances who, though it's nice to have them, didn't notice when I wasn't there before and won't remember if I'm not around in a few months. It's time to give time to the important stuff.

4. I don't actually process information properly any more. Every piece of news is potential blog fodder, rather than something I properly read/listen to. My concentration span is getting shorter - I can't sit through something as simple as the main BBC news without flicking through the red button and other channels. That's not something I want to continue - to work properly, to pay attention to my kids and my wife, to engage properly with God's world, I need to be able to concentrate, to listen, to take things seriously as they are not as things that I can use for a bit more blurb on here.

5. Compulsion: I enjoy blogging, but (this is partly vanity again) there's a compulsion to post things every day, to respond quickly to what's going on rather than reflecting at leisure. Richard Foster - my guru on spiritual disciplines - recommends that we fast from anything we sense is becoming a compulsion.

and the more I think about these things, the more it doesn't really make sense to wait until Wednesday. If they're valid, they're valid today. So I'm off until Easter, and we'll see what happens then.


  1. Have a thoughtful Lent, and a Happy Easter! Some of us don't have real friends so we'll stick with it here...

  2. Challenging reflections David and many thanks for your honesty. My only comment would be that this piece is a very good example of what you contribute to the blogging community. Your post makes connections between spirituality, family, contemporary culture and undefended ministry. You also provide very helpful links to valuable resources for ministry and mission particularly in the pioneer / fresh expressions area. Anyway, I pray that your fast will prove an enriching experience for you, your family and your ministry.

  3. David,

    Fully identify with much of what you say here. I wouldn't be able to do most of what I do were it not my day job, but even then many of your points still apply.

    Hope you have a good break from it. If it's any encouragement I've always thought that your blog is one of the best Christianity ones and that it hasn't had the recognition it deserves.


  4. Good for you, David - I'll be doing the same thing.

  5. Oh... just when I was getting going! Thanks David, kind of, I do feel somewhat challenged by this...


  6. You'll be greatly missed, but as someone who is about to take a sabbatical I can hardly complain. Enjoy the break.

  7. Missing you already, David; and sorry to have missed your birthday.

    I hear what you say, though it makes me sad. It's true that blogging can be compulsive, and it's easy for news etc to become 'blog fodder' as you put it. For me, though, blogging, facebook, twitter — the entire social media spectrum — is about staying connected. It's brought me new friends, it's re-established links with old friends, and it's helped forge better, more regular contact with friends I was already in touch with.

    I don't want to lose those connections, which is why I plan to carry on blogging through Lent and beyond. Hope to see you on the other side!

    As for this blog: you've highlighted some important issues, you've provided some entertainment, you've given plenty of food for thought. Please don't dismiss what you've got here as of no consequence. Thank you.

  8. You've highlighted some really helpful points, David. I pray that you have a fruitful Lent. And I'll miss your blog over Lent - I find your writing helpful and stimulating.

  9. Good for you mate. Thoroughly honest and refreshing take on reality. Happy Easter.

  10. Well I'll miss you! I hope your break leaves you refreshed and open to new things.

  11. Gulp, the Google Analytics death spiral... :) only kidding, a change is as good as a rest they say...