In 2012, I was a retired man living in Manitoba. I found that I had the time and energy to pursue theology, but I was also looking for new ways. I started to read theology blogs after I retired in 2006. I felt a lack in the ability to express my faith through writing, so I tried blogging. I was describing the goals I had for a blog.
Many of my goals have been achieved, so I intend to keep the blog going. It has been very encouraging to see the broad geographic reach of those who visit my site to find information. However, there have been some changes, and my expectations and goals for the blog have had a minor revision.
We moved to Ontario last year. I now have more time for writing and reading than I did in Manitoba. Since we moved closer to our families, I’m more involved in the church’s life and am busier socially. Although this has been very rewarding, it has forced me to adjust my expectations about the amount of theology I will share on my blog.
My thinking about book reviews has changed. When I started my blog, I was eager to contact publishers to inquire about books I wanted to read. I found them very open to providing me with free copies. In the last few years, I have been able to do some good reading, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to write my thoughts. This is a far more satisfying experience than when I was reviewing journals.
I have had to abandon my previous hopes of this due to the drastic reduction in time available for writing and reading. I still have a few books that I requested from publishers but have yet to start reading. I felt obligated to review the books I asked for. I plan to continue working on them, but I have stopped asking for new readers. Although I regret this, I recognize the value of other aspects of my life and find contentment.
Frequency. From 2012, when I started my blog, to August this year, I maintained a steady stream of posts. I published at least one post every week, sometimes three. We left for England in September and stayed there for ten weeks. I didn’t attempt to write another post during that time. We walked the Hadrian’s Wall Path across England for two weeks. It was an enjoyable walk that had a bit of a pilgrimage feel. I posted daily updates to Facebook and was overwhelmed by how many people loved following our journey.
The family of one of our sons was starting a Ph.D. program in Oxford. We spent six weeks there. It was beautiful, as we were grandparents and parents. I also visited Wycliffe Hall daily to do a small research project and to the library every day. While some of the fruits of my reading will likely be published in blog posts in the future, I decided that I shouldn’t stop publishing my thoughts while I had the chance for more concentrated research. My move to Ontario has had one downside. I’m now farther from an evangelical theological library.
Although a two-week repositioning cruise was an excellent way to return to England, it wasn’t conducive to writing or allowed for much time to read. My absence from the blog was extended to 10 weeks. After that, I had to get back on track at home. While I have no regrets, it has forced me to reconsider my blogging goals.
It was surprising and satisfying to find that my site was still receiving steady traffic, although it was less busy than when new content appeared. I was nevertheless encouraged to see that visitors were still coming to my site to read material that I had posted. This could be due to browser searches for specific topics that I have blogged about or documents that I have created for other sites. This has helped me to relax about publishing new posts. It’s nice that people who subscribe to RSS feeds and email subscriptions know that I write when they see it. But, they don’t expect me to post new content regularly. Although the material may only appear a few times per year on a few blogs, I still enjoy the content.
All this has led me to create some guidelines that I will use as I move forward.
- After I’ve finished reading the books I already have, I won’t request any new books to review unless I feel reasonably confident that I can deal with them in a reasonable time.
- If I commit to writing something for publication on paper, I will make such a priority. I won’t worry about whether it restricts my ability to publish new material on the blog. It happens that I’m in this situation. Although it isn’t a significant writing assignment, I found myself in a topic of great interest that I now want to read more about than I expected when I accepted the position.
- I have found blogging has allowed me to share new developments in my thinking with readers, which has been very rewarding. When I created the blog, I didn’t realize how important it was to have a website to upload material that I had written before. This allows me to make my work available online to anyone interested in the subject. However, if it weren’t accessible, they would be less likely to read it. This material includes lecture notes, articles that have been published previously, and book reviews. I have quite a lot of it, which I would love to upload. Although it may seem that posting this material online is more critical than that writing new material, I don’t have any rule of thumb. There are many ideas I have for blog posts. Some of these will never be written because my inspiration is gone or the importance of what I want to say has diminished. However, I still have other ideas that beckon me, but they are out of my reach right now, for reasons I’ve already explained.
Politics blogs In the best scenario, we all should die with unfinished projects. We may have the opportunity to continue working on this list in the next earth. I’m not sure, but it’s fun to imagine.
The bottom line is that I intend to keep thoughtstheological.com alive on the web, but its purpose has taken a somewhat different shape than I originally envisioned. As they say, “Life happens,” and as such, I want to be responsive to God’s will for me with this medium of communication. The Lord has given me this site to be a ministry. I hope it will fulfill God-given purposes.
A while back, someone wrote me asking if there were any blogs on Christian theology similar to Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition websites. However, they didn’t promote a complementarian agenda or patriarchal agenda. I responded to her with a list. A few weeks back, I was asked a similar question by Twitter. This tweet inspired me to create my list.
Conservative evangelical scholars wrote these blogs of a variety of denominations. They discuss a variety of topics related to biblical studies and Christian theology. These blogs do not focus primarily on the subject of gender.
These blogs have been my favorite for a while. I recommend them to everyone. However, I must admit that I am not always in agreement with all the posts.