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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 34,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 8 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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“I’m not dead yet.”

It’s been nearly five months since I last posted here. I am pretty sure that’s the longest hiatus I’ve taken. It was not an intentional one. Since my last post I’ve moved. Twice. I quit a job and got a job. It’s been a busy, busy time. But I’m getting settled in to the new digs. . . slowly but surely. And that is helping me establish and stick to a routine. So, no promises, but I should be writing again more regularly, and sharing some of my thoughts I’ve been storing up.

But, there’s a national election coming. Go vote. Pray. See you on the other side.

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Some Memories of Grandpa

Although I hope for news that Grandpa is getting better, I have been given to accept that he may be in his last days of this mortal life. My prayers go out for him to heal and to recover, that we may have more time with him. My fears and sorrows are that he may not be long with us.

Not surprisingly, then, memories of Grandpa have come rising to the surface in these last few days.

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2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Ninth Year

Today marks the ninth anniversary of my foray into the world of blogging. I was enticed into starting a blog by the likes of Tripp, Huw, Karl and James. When I began, I had no real idea what I was doing. But in short order my blog began to reflect my explorations in philosophy and theology, and, notably, my journey into Orthodoxy. It also happened that shortly after I began blogging, my first daughter was conceived. Thus, this blog has its origins in three fundamental and key aspects of my life: my academic endeavors, my conversion to Orthodoxy and my becoming a father.

In the first couple of years, the world of Orthodox bloggers (Russian, Greek, Antiochian, convert, cradle, and mostly laity) was pretty small. I could keep up with all of them. My how things have changed. Some, like Karl, no longer blog. But now there are so many more. I don’t even try. I keep up with a few, like James’ blog, but mostly now I’m more offline than on. In the “good ol’ days” Orthodox blogging was pretty much “how do we live this thing we call the Orthodox faith?” which meant a lot of stuff about work and family, but of course, being the geeks we were (are), there was plenty of theological discussion. Nowadays, I see a lot more polemics. I don’t have time for it. I don’t have the stomach for it. I guess it’s the age we live in.

For several years, this blog reflected the core aspects of my life: academia, becoming Orthodox, fatherhood. But in the last few years, I have begun to sense something of a lack of purpose for the blog. I no longer feel the need to search out the questions I once had regarding Orthodoxy, and feel even less need to pontificate on matters Orthodox and theological. Since my chrismation four and a half years ago, I have become aware of the need for reticence about one’s spiritual life. While questions of philosophy still animate me, I am no longer part of the academic community I once worked in, and am well satisfied simply reading and reflecting on such matters. And what can I say about fatherhood? The longer I am a father, the more I am aware of the need for urgent prayer and thoughtful action. It is a mystery, and a joy, and requires nothing less than constant dependence upon God’s gracious energies.

Further, in recent months my writing focus has changed. I have, in a sense, returned to my first love–the writing of fiction. I do not yet see how to fit together this blog and my present focus of writing. I’ve got no advice to offer. I’m no literary genius. If I ever were to publish anything, it certainly would not make it to the “classics” list.

So here sits this blog. Once again dormant. And here I sit once again on the brink of nuking it, and yet once again finding myself unable to push the delete button. It’s not as though this is some sort of existential struggle. It’s a blog. Keep it. Nuke it. Whatever. And yet . . . perhaps there’s a future for it. Perhaps a little more patience will bring a little more clarity.

But I can say this, I like my little corner of the blogosphere. It doesn’t get any traffic to speak of. It’s not as though any of my posts will ever travel much beyond the orbit of a few readers (like my west coast buddy, Tripp). But it’s my homely little creation. It’s been a good nine years. We’ll see how much more life this little thing has in it. And maybe by next year I’ll have finally figured out where it goes from here.

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As We Bid Farewell to Cheese . . .

. . . let us remember it’s God-given power:

Oh, shredded three-cheese blend, so wonderfully melted between tortillas and over scrambled eggs, I hardly knew thee!

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Carry On, Then

Yesterday was the feast of St. Job the Long-suffering (cf. the book of Job in the Old Testament). I’m mindful of the saint, not because my life compares to that of the holy prophet, but because I’m in the midst of major life transition, and although what is coming in my life is doubtless not the same thing that happened to Job, I face tomorrow with much hope and joy and peace, whatever may come. This has been an incredibly painful time, and seemingly interminable, and–trying to avoid the melodramatic–I have no doubt that I have much more pain to endure. But I face tomorrow and the next day and the next with a sense of promise, joy and anticipation.

There are one or two personal goals I’ve wanted to pursue for nearly my entire life, which for various reasons have been put on hold, or simply stored away. But I face a future that feels to me wide-open, despite some very real and concrete limitations. I wake up excited to face each day. Despite my limitations, I have a very real sense of control–not over circumstances or others but over my choices and actions. I know what may come (which is likely not to be really all that different than where I’m at today), and much of it isn’t going to be fun, but I know what I can do, what I can’t do, and that oddly enough gives me a very real sense of control, again, not over my circumstances but over my choices and actions.

Some of these goals are already underway: financial, professional, religious and so forth. But one goal in particular has to do with this blog. Anyone who knows me knows I love to write. About anything and everything. I love words. I love the way they sound, the way one works one’s mouth and throat and breathing to speak various words. Words integrate body and mind and heart. When one prays out loud one involves some of the body’s major systems, one involves one’s heart and mind. Words can be a means to the integration of the human person, body, soul and spirit.

But I have found that recent times, life circumstances and my limitations have taken me away from this love of words and of writing. And while this blog helped me follow this pursuit of the written word when I first started it nearly seven years ago (on another website), life and its boundaries have taken me from this blog and from writing. I am now in the midst of some major reevaluations of various aspects of my life. Despite my experiences these last few years, and more recently, I really get a sense of being given a new start, a blank page, an unwritten script, waiting for me to begin filling in the spaces with words and pictures and music.

Part of that evaluation involves the role this blog has played, is now playing and might still play. I’m not sure what precisely I’m going to do about this blog–except that in the near future I’m going to intentionally ignore it (for the most part) while I explore various activities with regard to writing to see which fosters the most creativity and productivity for the best-fitted discipline. Perhaps this blog will be it, perhaps not. I will be going through the posts on this blog and culling some of the posts (mostly the ephemeral and vaporous). For now I’ll leave much of it. I may ultimately come to the decision in the coming months to delete the blog altogether. I’ve had fun with it, but I need to reevaluate all my activities and bring together those things that will give me some extra return for some synergistic combinations. Some of the writing activities and disciplines I’ve done in the past have been more helpful than blogging. And I’m not sure the nature of the blogging medium can give that sort of return for time and effort.

And it may just simply be the case that the blog has served its purpose. I started blogging as I began to journey to the Orthodox Church. In a few weeks it will be the second anniversary of my reception through chrismation into the Orthodox Church. This blog has served as a record of my thoughts, academic pursuits, and exploration of the way of life that I have now engaged for the past couple of years. I didn’t set out to make the blog a specific tool for recording that journey, but it sort of became that ad hoc. Oddly enough, now that I’m Orthodox, I really have much less desire to discuss it. I have found that my ignorance is so much more vast than I used to realize, that I really don’t have much to say. And I’ve also recognized that my life is not such that I have any standing to speak about such things in a public blog: I don’t fast and give and pray like I should, so how can I talk about the Theotokos, the saints and the Incarnation? Since that journey has for some time been in its new phase, it may be time to phase out this blog, too.

I don’t know. All of this is in play.

It’s both the worst of times and the best of times for me. I’m excited, hopeful and joyful at facing whatever future may come. God is good. All the time. In every way. To and for me and my life specifically. Life makes it challenging to believe that at times, but it is always true.

St. Job pray for us, that like you we may always turn our hope and faith to God, awaiting his rich mercy.

For the lyrics to the Kansas song, follow the jump
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