Most of the people who read this blog (a dozen or so), found me because of my participation in the fiction writing community. I get the most engagement with these people when I blog on topics that have to do with the writing process in particular or literary concerns in general.
That’s great! I love writing and talking about writing, but I’m either blessed or cursed with having a lot of interests and opinions, and I’d like to talk about some of those here as well. Did you ever watch that movie Rushmore, with teenage Max Fischer who was a member or president of 20+ student organizations. That’s how I feel most of the time, like “butter scraped over too much toast” to quote Mr. Baggins.
What’s this all about, anyway?
There’s a lot of other stuff I want to talk about, but here are two topics in particular that are jumping out at me:
- In my new job, I’m having to do regular business travel, so I’ve been researching gear and travel tips. I’d like to post a few reviews and tips.
- Lent is coming up soon. I’m a religious guy, but I don’t often talk about my faith because I hang out with a lot of various types of people and usually I try to keep conflicts to a minimum.
The first one is pretty easy to reconcile myself and my dozen-or-so readers. You may not care at all about whatever badass hoodie or travel backpack I’m kvetching about, but you’ll probably not unfollow me in protest but rather just mentally shake your head and wait for my next post.
The second one is where I’m probably going to lose people. I can understand that–if I like reading topics about writing, I’d probably unfollow someone preachy talking about how “all [variable] people are going to hell” too, and any time religion is mentioned it seems to evoke that Westboro Baptist sort of fire and brimstone image to non-religious people.
My goal when making infrequent posts about my faith is not to convert heathens and blast heretics, but just to share what life looks like from my perspective. My hope is that, just like you mentally shut off when that friend starts talking about Crossfit or veganism, but you value their other contributions too much to break ties with them over it, so too will you allow me to post once a month about Lent, the value of prayer in my life, or other such topics.
The other danger when discussing religion on a personal blog is that sometimes friends that may be hostile to religion view your entire blog as open season for rhetorical dueling. I spent a lot of time doing this from 1998-2004, and I’ve gotten all of that out of my system. If someone is genuinely curious why I believe something, I’ll share my thoughts, but I’m not looking to actively engage in debate. There are plenty of other places for that–I recommend Kialo.com. My goal is to have a dialectic instead of a debate.
Is this a bait and switch?
At this point, you may be thinking that I’m giving you the soft sale and next week you’ll come back and find my blog filled with Chick tracts and hellfire preaching. Nope, not interested in that–actually I’m more interested right now in talking about fountain pens, travel tips, Indian food, bourbon, and Dungeons and Dragons, but I’m also tired of not talking about my faith just because I don’t want to upset others or cause controversy.
Any type of genuine attempt to live out your life will upset someone or cause controversy somewhere. I’m not trying to go out of my way to cause it, but I’m also tired of not talking about it just to avoid stepping on toes. I hope that my friends who are unbelievers or follow other paths can treat my posts on that topic as respectfully and informatively as I’ve treated their posts on neopaganism, LGBT issues, freethinking events, etc. Even if I don’t agree with some of the groups my friends belong to, I still value their important and often overlooked viewpoints. I hope the rest of you can do the same for me.
What is that faith? I’m an Eastern Orthodox Christian and have been since 1999 when I converted in college. Some of you might want to hear more about that journey, but I’ve droned on long enough for one post, so I’ll make that the topic of my next post. Hopefully, you’ll still be around for that one.