It’s been a year and a day since I published (that doesn’t seem like the right word) my first blog post.
I’ll pause here while the sound of the one clapping hand slowly fades.
My reasons for blogging were laid out in that first post. I wanted to improve my writing. Frankly, I don’t think that I’ve accomplished that goal. I remain intellectually lazy, with disjointed thoughts that I have trouble organizing into a coherent thread of words.
On the other hand, committing my stray thoughts to text has forced me to focus those thoughts at least a little, even if not in as disciplined a way as I would like. Most of my posts are original reflections or items that I come across tat are of particular interest to me. I don’t have the time or the energy to be a portal site for Catholic news. I try not to be negative, but sometimes I just have to get something off of my chest.
Because Catholicism is such a huge part of who I am, I openly identify myself as a Catholic blogger. I have since discovered that there is a large and diverse on-line community of self-identified Catholic bloggers. It’s an unregulated field, and those who dip their ladle into the well of the Catholic blogosphere (or any part of the broader blogosphere) need to be aware of that. Not all blogs are equal. Some are operated by recognized experts with well-known organizations or publications. Other, like me, are flying by the seat of their parts. (Writing that clichéd phrase makes me wonder just what it means, exactly – but since I’m unregulated and unedited, I’ll just plow right ahead, hoping that I’m not headed toward a cliff.)
We apparently have not gone unnoticed by the Holy See. At the end of October, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications met for four days, and the Catholic blogosphere was a topic of conversation. There is come concern that bloggers claiming to represent the Catholic Church could present error as truth or opinion as doctrine. (The linked article doesn’t say that, but that would be one of my concerns.) Even when factually correct, the information provided by individual bloggers might be presented without charity. The anger and lack of respect that is in evidence on some blogs can be counterproductive in evangelizing the world through electronic media.
I try, on my blog, to be as charitable and positive as I can be, but I do occasionally level criticism when I think it is deserved. Even then, I hope that I do so in a respectful manner. When I do start to get a little negative, my dear wife kindly points it out to me.
Some bloggers choose to assume a pseudonym for their on-line presence. I decided early on to blog under my own name. These are my opinions. I don’t want to post anything that I am not willing to own. If I do post something stupid or wrong, then I want somebody to correct me. I don’t get many comments, but I know from bloggers who do get comments that criticism is much better received if it is not anonymous. Further, by identifying myself and my background to any readers who might stumble onto this site, I fulfill my duty to inform them that I have no authority whatsoever.
Last month, Catholic Answers Live featured an hour to The Rise of the Catholic Blogosphere. Jeff Miller, who blogs at The Curt Jester, was the guest for a discussion of Catholic blogs. The upshot of the program is that the number of Catholic bloggers is exploding – there seem to be more and more every year.
Please join me in raising a bottle of beer (I prefer Amber Bock) to my first year of blogging. May the second year bear a higher quality of fruit than the first.