Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Blogging general (Page 2 of 3)

Welcome Internet Monk readers!

I’m thrilled to say that my post Long walk home is today featured as a guest post over at Internet Monk.

I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to any IM readers who have come to my blog after reading today’s guest post. You might like to check out my About me page for a bit of background. The best way to get a feel for the kinds of things I write about is to visit the Favourite and popular posts page. Take some time, have a look around… and why not leave a comment or two?

To any of my regular readers who don’t know Internet Monk, I encourage you to go over there and have a browse around. It’s a rich and diverse source of spiritual stimulation that has benefited me greatly over the past several years.

Blog update

I started this blog ten months ago in August 2013. Since then, I’ve published 556 posts, which is not far short of two posts a day on average. About half of these have been original, full-length posts.

In the ten months of its existence, this blog has had roughly 11,500 visits and 18,500 page views from 11,500 users. I think this exceeds my expectations, though it’s hard to say because I didn’t really have any when I started it.

What I did have was hopes – two in particular. First, I hoped I would be able to use the blog as an outlet for my own thoughts and to develop my writing ability. If I had one worry, it was that I might not be able to find enough to write about. Second, I hoped my posts would find some kind of audience, however small – that the things I wrote about would resonate with, encourage and help others in some way. I think I’m happy that both these hopes have thus far been fulfilled (and the above figures seem to bear that out).

Looking back, then, my overall review of my blogging life to date is, on the whole, pretty positive.

Looking forward, I’ve reached the point where I’ve realised I need to adjust my approach. Specifically, I need to ease off on my posting schedule. Let me explain.

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Coming up this weekend

A quick word about my posting schedule over the next few days.

I don’t normally post any substantial pieces over the weekend, but with Easter being the most important weekend in the Christian calendar, it’s an occasion that deserves to be marked. So here’s what I have lined up:

— Tomorrow evening I’ll offer a meditation on the meaning of Good Friday.

— On Saturday and Sunday evening, I’ll publish a special two-part Easter piece. It will be somewhat longer than usual, but I hope you’ll want to read it, meditate on it and maybe even share it.

Stay tuned.

Big wide world

IM screen grabToday I have had my first foray into the big, wide world of the internet. My post The powers exposed, which I wrote on 4 March, was published as a guest post over at major US Christian blog site Internet Monk. So far, there are eighty-eight comments and counting. If you haven’t yet, why not head over there, have a read and maybe leave a comment. And why not take the time to have a look at some other posts while you’re there.

I don’t have time to write anything much today, since I’ve already spent a fair amount of time engaging in the comments at Internet Monk. However, here are some personal observations based on my reading of the comments and responses so far:

– People are very, very invested in their particular understanding of the atonement, particularly when it comes to the so-called “penal satisfaction” theory. If you question it, you’d better be ready for some forceful responses. Shake that tree and the bees are comin’ a-buzzin’!

– Some people respond quite aggressively to any kind of theological debate. You can find yourself painted as being outside of orthodoxy in the space of two or three comments. The discussion quickly becomes polarised and it’s not easy to avoid getting drawn into a tit-for-tat game of one-upmanship.

– Having said that, there are others who are a delight to converse with, who understand what it is to disagree without becoming disagreeable.

Finally, I’ve been pondering quite why it is that the penal satisfaction model of the atonement is so fiercely defended. I mean, even if you consider it a viable option, it’s certainly far from the only biblically consistent view of what happened at the cross. Here’s my conclusion so far: if I believe in a God who is fundamentally exacting and judgemental, I can happily continue to be exacting and judgemental myself. Black-and-white, them-and-us thinking seems to fit quite snugly with that kind of God. But the moment I let go of that kind of God and begin to understand God as endlessly merciful and forgiving, I am greatly convicted and challenged about my own judgmentalism, rivalry and aggression. To put it another way, knowledge of God as infinitely forgiving and merciful seems to work much more deeply in me than knowledge of God as infinitely to be feared.

I hope to resume normal service tomorrow.

Welcome Internet Monk readers!

I’m both delighted and honoured to say that my post The powers exposed has been published today over at Internet Monk.

If you’re an IM reader who has made your way over here after reading today’s post, welcome! You might like to read the About me page for a bit of background. The best way to get a feel for the kinds of things I write about is to visit the Favourite and popular posts page. Feel free to have a look around… and I would be so happy if you left a comment or two.

To regular readers here at Faith Meets World who don’t know of Internet Monk, it’s a site that was launched and run for many years by the late Michael Spencer. I’ve been a regular reader for for nearly eight years. It brought me much-needed encouragement at a time of great challenge and difficulty, and gave me permission to begin to question hitherto unchallenged aspects of my faith. Even though Michael passed away in 2010, Chaplain Mike and the team have done a wonderful job of keeping up Michael’s work. I heartily encourage you to go and have a look around.

My predictions for 2014

PREDICTIONSSo, as 2013 draws to a close, it’s that time when it’s traditional to make some bold predictions about what the coming year will bring. Here, in no particular order, are a few predictions I feel fairly confident in making:

– Homosexuality will continue to be a divisive issue among Christians – though with same-sex marriage now firmly on the statute books, it will become more of a back-burner issue.

– There will be one or more gun massacres in America, followed by general outpourings of grief and disbelief, followed by absolutely no change.

– At least one famous Christian preacher/teacher will come out with some utterly ridiculous and/or offensive comment that paints God in a bad light.

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My year in blogging

blogging2013 is the year I finally began to blog.

One of my main worries was that I wouldn’t be able to find enough material to write about. This doesn’t seem to have been a problem: since I began on 27 August, I’ve published 266 posts, making an average of just over two posts a day. My blog has been viewed over 7,500 times (averaging about 60 views a day over the period) by visitors from as far afield as Africa, Russia, South Korea and Brazil.

The most popular search term by which people have arrived on the blog is “Nelson Mandela” (see my post here), followed by “Bible”, “money” and “Advent”. Probably the strangest search term to have brought someone to my blog was “barren women and rejected sons”.

I’d like to thank everyone who has thoroughly surprised me by reading my ramblings so enthusiastically. Extra-special thanks go to my friend Randy at Bible Study Geek for his unstinting encouragement and support. I only have one favour to ask: if you read something you enjoy, I’d be very grateful if you could share it with your friends on social media.

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