I’ve missed my ‘blogday’. Again. February 5th is the official birthday of the blog, for ’twas on that day in 2002 when I decided to stick with the blogging tool that I first installed a little earlier in November 2001. The archive of that month’s posts gave me a smile. I noticed, for example, that Kim Fabricius got a look in even on that first day, with a quote from The Screwtape Letters.
‘God wants to bring us to a state of mind in which we could design the most magnificent cathedral in the world, and know it to be the most magnificent cathedral in the world, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) glad at having done it than we would be if it had been done by someone else. God’s whole effort is to get our minds of the subject of our own value altogether.’
I’ve been posting Charles Wesley’s hymns longer than I remembered, though I didn’t post them on Sundays at first. Feb 11th had me posting one of my absolute favourites from the greatest hymn-writer since the Psalmist. Here are the closing verses.
O all-redeeming grace!
How swiftly didst thou move
To save a fallen race!
What shall I do to make it known
What thou for all mankind hast done?
O for a trumpet voice,
On all the world to call!
To bid their hearts rejoice
In him who died for all;
For all my Lord was crucified,
For all, for all my Saviour died!
You can’t sing that and not be stirred!
The only blog I linked in a post that month appears to be John Heron Project by my friend Wood, so he must officially be my oldest blogging chum, though I knew him in real life before I knew him virtually. There have been lots of other friends along the way of course, and I’ve been irritating many of them since ‘the early days’: Mark Byron, Randy McRoberts, Bene Diction and Craig Schwarze are the ones that leap to mind. It’s an odd thing, but three of those four are folk I’ve had (and have!) significant disagreements with and yet I don’t remember any of our exchanges getting beyond the ‘robust-but-friendly’. Either my memory is faulty, or they’re all soft! Most of Christian blogdom is rather further to the right than I am, both politically and theologically, and one of the joys of blogging for me has been the conversations that have been possible across these divides.
That list of four reminds me of another feature of blogging that I’ve particularly enjoyed. Look closely, and you’ll see that it’s a little list that spans the world. Two from the US, a Canadian and an Aussie. Through their blogs, they’ve given a little window into their lives: joy, sorrow, pain, hope and the rest. And because of that sharing, I’ve been able to see their countries through their experiences. Not just theoretical issues, but real people whose opinions and beliefs have been shaped by their circumstances. I’m certain that they’ve led me (and others) to a deeper understanding of their cultures. Conversation can do that when it’s allowed to happen, and I’m grateful for it.
That first month’s proper blogging also featured a cameo appearance by this splendid fellow. He’s one of the first people I met on campus when I arrived as a chaplain back in 1998, and I think he must have been in his final year in 2002. We’re still friends and he still comes into the Chaplaincy, though obviously he’s not a student anymore. Richard has his doctorate and tries to teach undergraduates the mysteries of General relativity and other scary stuff. We don’t see as much of his guitar as we used to, though. Seeing the picture reminded me what a great privilege it has been to share the stories of some really excellent young people. Some of them are bloggers too.
Of course it is true that there have been moments when blogging hasn’t been fun. Once or twice (ok, twice) I’ve thought about calling it a day. There have been some fisticuffs, but I’m only aware of two situations where it didn’t seem possible to get things back on an even keel. Two too many, but perhaps unsurprising considering the diversity of views I’ve linked in to. (In fact, the most surprising thing is that both of those situations were with fellow Brits) You can’t win them all.
But my overall experience of what has become known as the blogosphere is of friendship and joy. Here’s to the next 6 years!