I decided after Christmas to see how many consecutive days I could blog. I find such goals are helpful, because they encourage me not to wait to blog until I have a perfectly refined idea. So far, I have posted every day since Christmas. Including, with this post, today.
I've been meaning to get this blog back into gear and have some new subjects that I will want to sort through on here in the coming months. First and foremost, I am (much to my delight) serving as an adjunct this fall, teaching World Religions — I think that will provide me with plenty to mull over here.
The big question I am mulling over right now is this: is it truly possible to study the World Religions objectively? The question is difficult because I am not so sure our sense of what objectivity is with regards to such a subject is even real. Mitch Numark's insightful analysis of nineteenth century Scottish missionaries in Bombay published in May issue of the Journal of Asian Studies has been challenging me on that point this week. Maybe what we think of as the “objective study” of religions is merely the subjective viewpoint of post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment westerners. I'll be posting more on that subject in the near future.
Meanwhile, my fellow theo-blogger Travis McMaken blogged yesterday on just how small the world is. Travis stopped by asisaid back when I was first starting seminary in 2007 and interacted with one of my posts on Karl Barth. Since then, I've regularly read his excellent theo-blog, Der Evangelische Theologe. Earlier this summer, I learned that Travis had been hired as an assistant religion professor in my alma mater's Religion department. When I found out, I wrote him to welcome him to St. Louis and we discussed meeting sometime after he arrived.
As it so happens, a month or so later, I received the exciting news that I was being brought on as an adjunct in the same department. With the semester kicked off this past week, Travis and I finally met in the cafeteria. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to further discussions with him in the coming months of the fall semester.
My friend Caedmon and I have been reminiscing by discussing old entries from this blog and the ensuing conversations. The interesting thing about blogging over the long term is that a blog becomes a lot more than merely a collection of words I have issued forth to attract dust in the eternal bit bucket — they form links to conversations, friendships and life in general.
As I flipped through some of my old posts the last few days, I was reminded of fascinating conversations with my blogosphere friends that helped shape my thinking. I saw comments from old friends who quit blogging and have seemingly disappeared. Some of the posts were bittersweet to recall the circumstances behind their posting. Others were just simply fascinating. Still other posts are annoying for how wrongheaded they seem to me today.
In all, though, I think they show how blogging at least has the potential to paint a fascinating picture of one's life. Not because I have anything especially profound to say, but because blog posts generally are (and should be, I think) written in community, and thus they resemble a photo album or scrapbook.
Thanks to Twitter & Co., it seems that blogging is dying a slow death among many of my favorite bloggers. Sad as it was to do the deed, I have culled the blogroll and brought it down to those blogs that are still online and published sometime in the last four to six months. I also fixed dated links and added a few new links, though even with additions my new blogroll is much smaller than my old one was (and not even comparable to my blogroll back in '04 or '05 when it was a bit more cutting edge to be a blogger). Is the blogosphere still going to be around in five or ten years?
You will also notice I've added an “asisaid elsewhere” section. That is for when you simply cannot read enough of my writing (ha!) and decide you need more of it. Conveniently, it will take you to my articles over at Open for Business and also to my Facebook profile, not coincidentally, the two other places I am most likely to be writing something. I do have a Twitter page, but it merely displays my Facebook status, so I see no reason to link to it.
In any case, I plan to stick out blogging for the long haul, and am going to try to get back into a more regular updating cycle, so I figured asisaid needed some cleaning up.
Time is really flying by at the moment. I've had a handful of major projects for seminary classes to turn in while at the same time busily working on a project to write a relatively substantial chapter for a book due in less than two weeks. Needless to say, I've been written out before I get to blogging.
But I miss it here. Never fear, I will return. (Ok, so maybe you should fear, then.)
Incidentally, I've been blogging here for seven years as of late last month!
This week has been a whirlwind. Today, on the other hand, was quiet. That can be both good and bad. The good is that with seminary being snowed out, I spent my time getting ahead in the readings. I'm now about a week ahead on one class and on track with another. I'd like to keep trying to get ahead, because there is a good likelihood one or more classes may expedite things next week, given the missing day (and the fact that two of the classes that were canceled are once-a-week classes).
I spent too much time thinking, though, and that can be a dangerous thing. I shouldn't think and drive. Or something like that.
So, how's the weather in your neck of the blogosphere?
How's the new look looking to you? I've adjusted my page navigation tool on top and added some Christmas cheer. Now if I could get done coding and actually post some stuff, eh?
One of the major oversights in my initial design of SAFARI (my site's blogware) is that it could only show one page per category. So, given that each category shows the 10 most recent posts, anything older than the 10 most recent posts vanished. Now, I've added a search engine style bar to the top of every category page (including the front page) allowing you to move through all six and a half years of asisaid content, not just the most recent postings.
The new navigation tool is probably alpha grade, and I'd appreciate any reports of bugs you notice, but overall I think it is working well. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.
Not all that long ago, I often blogged every day of the month. These days, it seems like this or that always keeps me from blogging, which is frustrating, because I always find blogging helpful — both as a sort of kartharsis in writing things and as an enjoyable way to interact with my friends in the blogosphere.
I'm going to try to write something several times a week again… or bust.
That's the question of the week.
How's that for the ultimate in simple posts?