Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | May 14, 2009

The Bother of Blogging

The bother of blogging is that there are limits to what you can or will say. And there are limits to another’s interest as well. In the world of Orthodox bloggers, the monks, priests, and nuns have the advantage of street cred, and actually tend to show that… yes… it makes a difference. This of course leaves many of the rest of us enthusiasts to get by trotting out something from the Fathers and Mothers. Been there, done that, and probably not finished either. 😉

I, for one, remain awed by the anonymous faithful, both lay and otherwise. But especially, I am awed by the folks whose lives were filled with the spiritual warfare amongst the distractions of ordinary life. I mean, this is good, right? And that’s about the best I can hope for. A star among the saints is probably not in the cards – not even remotely possible! nor necessarily anything in the middle, or even on the bench…. and sometimes, it even seems a worthy ambition just to not end up on the opposite end of the pole – as a star sinner… though that seems one of the more reliable tracks for ending up on the other end of the spectrum. But that presupposes a lot… and I tend to doubt that there were many who set out to be saints through a via negativa of this sort…. banking on a mid-life conversion somewhere, and a slew of chances to even the score.

No, that seems a high stakes gamble I suspect few of us are willing roll for, and even fewer likely to succeed at.

That leaves us with the fact that we know all teams have role players, and angling for one of those lesser roles on the team. Some of us are even “bit” role players… like hockey players in for face-offs and back out. By definition, this means we fit into a function, and we step on to the field, stage or whatever to follow through, but in all cases and all times, there is more to our characters than the roles we fill. The same is true of both our anonymous saints… and those we know better. And in pondering this, clearly we stand on the threshold of the unwritten part of a hagiography… the sort we’d all like to read.

The perspective from the sweep of history seems to be that all ages are equally in decline as the “last age”,  yet this seems in fact more a part of the hubris of the present, this thinking that no age has been worse. The tendency toward silence, toward contentment in anonymous disappearance of the Spirit seems unbecoming to the needs of a church that may in fact be shaking off the slumbers of mere survival to the needs of spreading the Gospel beyond its walls. Whatever trials or tribulations we see today, surely worse may come tomorrow, and thus, there is work to be done,  and souls to be prepared – least of all, our own. While it may not be our role to spread the Gospel in word, it may be enough and it may be of value to offer something of how we live our lives and record the value we attach to the Gospel – that others might sense as we have, that yes, this is something even normal people do, people like whomever we think we are… good and bad, and with all that we are. We come as whole persons to be healed… not just in part… but warts and all. And some of us will be healed in whole, others in part… but we may find healing all the same.

And while we may likely remain anonymous… we won’t appear content to be alone as if uncaring about the others round about us. The next person remains a critical part of our own path… whether the next person comes with us today, tomorrow, or long after we’re gone. Whenever the heart cools, this seems worth remembering… or at least bothering to give a blog a word or two.


  1. Whaaaa??? I leave town for a few days and you completely remake yourself. I like the new look and content. You nailed it here. “Orthodox Street cred”… LOL! I think we should have “lay titles” like “Just Steve” so people don’t confuse erudite Ortho-bloggers with clergy or monastics. I’m glad you decided to stay in the neighborhood.

  2. […] on street corners, interceding as a spiritual warrior in inner cities and writing a few booklets The Bother of Blogging – 05/14/2009 The bother of blogging is that there are limits to what you can or […]

  3. S-P (or if you prefer J-S-P):

    Glad you’re back in one piece. Might say your construction inspired a little reconstructing here 😉

    And as to staying in the ‘hood… well… I’m not smart enough to find my way out without a GPS.

  4. Your post inspired another podcast I recorded in the forest by St. John’s monastery. After being here a week, I see that we have a bazillion people doing the same thing these monks are doing: learning to crucify their “self”. We need more hagiography of “normal saints”. Thanks.

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