I Like Bloggers Who…

This blogpost has two parts. First, you get a partial sampling of some the bloggers I like who… Second, I go on about why “I like bloggers who…”

First, without my even having asked their permission, I note just some bloggers who… :

  • Rodney A. Thomas Jr. was laughing considerably one Sunday this summer long before the New York Yankees fans weren’t; and while he was changing (and see his comment at his post) he was acknowledging “only God can change people’s hearts.”
  • (Rod has let on board at his blog one “Optimistic Chad” who’s also going through some public blogged-about changes recently: “Saturday might be the day I lost hope. Perhaps the future will be new and different, like the mercies of God.”)
  • Joel Watts, whose blog was once named “The Church of Jesus Christ,” has renamed it “Unsettled Christianity” and has blogged on a number of changes he’s been going through personally, experientially. Let me give Joel credit for keeping me at blogging!
  • Rachel Barenblat posts her poetry regularly, recently poetry on having become and on being a mother. She is also blogging on what it means for her to be a rabbi, on not hiding all of who she is becoming, which, of course, “gives us permission to be in-process,” admitting: “Allowing myself to be wholly seen feels dangerous.”

Second, here’s something that feels dangerous from my viewpoint (after I may have unnecessarily pointed out something else about your viewpoint). This is just Part Two of One Blogpost. What if I were a blogger who… I might post something like this:

“Jane Stranz is an example of transparent feminism for me, she comments in context from her viewpoint but doesn’t try to highjack the conversation or point out what a chauvinist I am.”
David Ker (aka Lingamish, aka DAK)

I like bloggers. (And if I were talking to you in person, I’d just say “I like bloggers period.”) Of course I can qualify this a bit. Yes, I like smart bloggers. Likewise, I like bloggers that for smart reasons blog anonymously and pseudonymously. Moreover, I like bloggers that are intelligent about their passions. I used to blogroll the most brilliant and funniest bloggers because I thought you like them too. But let me qualify my likes more.

I most like bloggers who tell who they are, where they’re coming from, where they’re going, what they’re up to, and even what gets them down.

I’m bringing up this up for a reason. And pardon, if you like, my ramblings.

I like context. So please let me give you some context. You may want to know that David Ker brought up context again yesterday in the context of the Better Bibles Blog and his post he entitles, “A question of context”. You really should have noticed already how he brought up “context” some time ago (as in my quoting him in the epigraph above). Back then, he was bringing up blogger Jane Stranz’s context; and he brought up her context in the context of my post at another blog of mine (Aristotle’s Feminist Subject), in the context of my post I’d entitled, “Pheminist Phooh”. As you can imagine, and as you can see if you do more reading, there’s a bit more of a context. As he suggests in his comment there, now my epigraph here, I was, in his view, at one time trying to hijack a conversation at one of his blogs and also, in his view, attempting to point out what a chauvinist he was. I am truly sorry for that.

So, you can see there’s more than context here. There’s the personal. These are very, very personal things, not just abstractions, not just formulas, not just constructs, not just ideas, not just words. David has remained one of the bloggers who I like the most. Despite everything impersonal between us (such as my imposing my viewpoints, in his view, of course), David has remained “friends” with me (if Facebook counts). (I’m not even saying this because he ably, and with good humor, took the helm at one of my blogs once). In the context of his observation about Jane, David points me, maybe you too, to some very very important things.

So this is the reason I’m posting here on bloggers I like. Like many of them, I am going through some very personal things. Some tough days. Yes, it’s new experiences with my second child preparing to leave home and going through her own battles not only as a cancer survivor living in the identity-shadow of that deadly, scaring disease but also as her own person. Yes, it’s new experiences with my spouse as she looks to making some changes. Yes, it’s new experiences for us outside of the “faith community” we grew up in. Yes, for me, it’s new experiences with my changing Dad fighting deadly cancer. Yes, it’s facing how I’ve lived reluctantly and so resistantly as a missionary kid in my Dad’s shadow, and it’s facing how I’ve treated and mistreated so many, at home, at work, in my neighborhood, in circles of close friendships and of more distant acquaintances, and even people online whether FB “friends” or bloggers. As a blogger, I have not always been kind, and yet I’m bent on becoming, on being a kinder kind of person to you.

(My wife just posted on our refrigerator door a quotation by Mother Teresa. In the context of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa was asked, “What can we do to promote world peace?” This very woman — who left home at the age of 18 and never saw her family again but, as a missionary obeying God’s calling and struggling with her own demons of depression, worked with orphans and the homeless for the rest of her life — said this to the person asking how to promote peace in the world: “Go home and love your family.” I like that. Mother Teresa did not set the bar too high for me. Neither have many of those bloggers who I like set the bar too high for me. Maybe the bar is now high and dangerous and very good. What’s your viewpoint?)


29 responses to “I Like Bloggers Who…

  1. JK, let me say this. You still care about blogging and you still blog like it matters. That shames me because I’ve given up on blogging. And that’s for a couple of reasons. First, the white-guy hegemony is just not as interesting to me as the crazy multilingual, multicultural mix of Twitter for example. Second, the extremism and competitiveness that makes for good blogging isn’t really good for me IRL. Either it breeds conflict which I don’t need. Or it causes blogging to be too addictive and detracts from loving my family and my calling.

    The relational aspect of blogging I now find on FB. You and I can trade messages, encourage one another, laugh at dumb jokes, etc. Without the high cost of maintaining a blog. I still missing having an output for long-form posting. Tweeting is not thinking. But that will come in time.

    Oops, breakfast is happening. Gotta go.

    • DAK,
      Yes, blogging doesn’t matter anymore. It’s us people of blogging that fascinate me. Can’t seem to get into twitter; maybe it’s because my kids don’t do it, and my daughter made me feel young last night at the library when she turned up her nose at this book entitled Twitterature, really awful to read, probably funner to write. btw, the only twitterer in my fam is my wife, who’s a professional social mediator. 🙂 Seriously though; she’s the writer for a large non-profit, and they’ve hired her to do all the tweets, fb posts, youtubing, and blogging — even sent her to Disneyland, I mean to Orlando, for a conf on all this stuff.

      Funny you mention the relational aspect of FB. It’s true, but then yesterday there’s these long threads from two preachers I know, preaching on FB the evils of a third preacher. My wife calls me during the day to ask if I’m involved somehow. No, we see; it’s my buddy who’s Jewish but agnostic who’s making all the sheeple wonder which shepherd here is the wolf. Pretty interesting.

      I’m sipping coffee, waiting for others in the house to stir before we have breakfast. Hope yours was delicious with great company!

  2. I was just thinking of this quote from AS Byatt, to wander in from another thread,

    “One impact of writing on families is that the writer has to spend long periods alone with a pen, and this time, and this attention, is taken from the family. I knew a writer’s family where the children buried the typewriter in the garden.”

    • Apt quotation! Thanks! This is why Virginia Woolf needed that room of her own, I suppose, with a key for the lock on the door. Sometimes my kids and I want to bury the cellphones, the iphones.

      I like what Optimistic Chad is doing: “My last blog detailed some things that I had been praying about changing in my life (more details on that to come this week). One of the things I wrote about possibly changing was my relationship to the technology I use. I am not sure that my Iphone is the best thing for me.”

  3. Very funny and true. The cost of social media is a certain “never all there” vibe that you give off. If I’m conversing with a friend while scanning the FB feed, what is that friend supposed to think? Of course, we’re the older generation. Maybe the younger folks don’t see that as rude.

    • Maybe the younger folks don’t see that as rude.

      This is a chronic issue at the US university where the students sleep with their phones and txt during class. It’s one of the prof’s constant complaints now, a generation divide for sure. I’m inclined to buy iPads for all the students in the ESL program I run, as much as a social experiment for the teachers as for a way to move forward, to negotiate all of this. (Way, way back before the turn of the century — in 1999 — I made everyone teach/ learn English intensively but online and asynchronously. After 12 months out of the classroom, the outcomes for the students doubled. So, we’ve got a pretty high tolerance for checking out the trendy).

  4. I’m sipping coffee, waiting for others in the house to stir

    Now that’s what I call lazy …

    I don’t blog because I’ve got nothing to say, or at least nothing to originate. I usually need something to react to, and enjoy reading blogs from people with something interesting to say: things that inform or provoke thought. If they are also nice people, that helps. I don’t enjoy interacting with arrogant people who know it all (or think they do).

    Blogs can be a way of seeing things from the viewpoint of people from vastly different backgrounds to my own; people I’d be likely to meet in person.

    And no, I’m not going to provide a list of my favourites (or of the ones that aren’t).

    • Thanks for sharing your viewpoint! I always like hearing from you; would love to meet someday in person, to have tea with you or something.

      Well, of course lazy:

      “So original sin does exist; it is our laziness. It is very real. It exists in each and every one of us–infants, children, adolescents, mature adults, the elderly; the wise or stupid; the lame or the whole. Some of us may be less lazy than others, but we are all lazy to some extent. No matter how energetic, ambitious or even wise we may be, if we truly look into ourselves we will find laziness lurking at some level. It is the force of entropy within us, pushing us down and holding us all back from our spiritual evolution.”
      –M. Scott Peck, writing this paragraph, while sipping coffee waiting for the others in his household to get up to join him for breakfast, I suppose. It’s from his book, Road Less Traveled.

  5. You probably guessed that I meant to say “people I’d be UNlikely to meet in person” (but would like to if they didn’t live an inconvenient distance away). In your case, I’d even be happy to stir your coffee for you.

    Thanks for the quote. Next time someone accuses me of being lazy, I’ll just blame the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  6. Dr. Gayle,

    This is going to sound selfish, but I think you should keep blogging. Do not blog for the in-crowd, but blog for yourself and your family. We really do need to hear your voice.

  7. Oh, and by selfish, I meant selfish on my part; it would benefit me and my interests to read your blog. Just a note for clarification.

  8. I just received an email from someone who knows you both. Rod mentioned my blog to him and I mentioned Kurk’s blog to him and so we have become self-referencing it appears.

  9. It’s 7:30 here at the Dead Sea and we have been up for 2 hours – something about the air. But breakfast isn’t till 8 (and no we did not get the sunrise over Masada cause its farther south than we plan to travel) – so here I am reading bloggers on blogging and chuckling that my netbook is not buried in this warm air at the coffee shop at this kibbutz. This morning I learned a bit about how cuneiform works – a lovely presentation here. As for facebook – rare though I am on it – and twitter – not at the moment.

  10. I thought you sent him, Rod. ADJB are the initials and you recommended that he read my series on Love and Respect.

  11. I’m really sorry that I am not blogging more. I have a big conference tomorrow that we are putting on. Perhaps after that.

  12. @Dr. Gayle,

    I will. Just been busy at church with Trunk or Treat planning.

  13. Dr. Gayle, Thank you so much for your kind words about the blogs. Since you are now on my radar, I am looking forward to reading what you are writing as well. And since I am in FW as well, I will bother Rod to invite me to coffee with you as well!

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