Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Purpose-Driven Blog

Believe it or not, I was driving home today from work composing this post in my mind before Lutheranzephyr asked, "Why do you blog?" Great blogminds think alike?

When I first started the blog Lutheran Confessions, I had a big "why" in mind. Namely, I was going to write commentary-like posts on the Lutheran confessional documents, beginning with the Augsburg Confession. I invited some friends to write posts as well. We had a set agenda, and we sometimes stuck to it.

When I look at blogs that are relatively new, I observe this purposiveness. They give their blogs titles that say what they are going to do, or they write a "purpose" statement for the blog, because they want to commit themselves to something- reading books, writing about Scripture, defending their denominational loyalties, etc.

My first blog prior to Lutheran Confessions was kind of like this. It was a series of posts on location in Germany when I was on a three month study trip there. Travel is a great writing resource. You observe things away from home that seem worth writing about. Coming home is a different matter, and journaling at home takes on different dimensions.

Pre-blogging footnote: Before I blogged, or before there were blogs, or before I knew there were blogs, I used to write reflections and send them out by group e-mail. I think I needed an audience in order to write, or to work at writing often or well. Maybe this is an immaturity of mine. I'd like to just write to write, but it seems I need an audience. I don't think I'm alone. Most of these pre-blog blog posts were also about travel, especially our time spent in Seattle on internship. Jogging in the misty rain, driving around the Olympic Penninsula, that type of thing.

But I have now been blogging for five years. If I browse back through the posts, I can see all kinds of good intentions. Some of my posts are even posts about what I intend to do better or more often. Once I even created a graphic icon to try and get myself to blog on that topic more.

Caveat lector: I now no longer blog with a purpose, at least one that can be summarized in a brief and pithy mission statement. This blog does not have a "shape." There's seldom a method (although I can look back through the blog and see trends). What the blog has become is simple. It is a place where I write whatever comes to mind, with the hopes that it will be edifying to at least some readers, and it tends to reflect things I'm interested in or concerned about.

It also sometimes simply reflects the wonder of discovery on the web. It's easier to link to other web sites than it is, to say, try and tell you about the deer I ended up jogging with the other day. I can't use markup language to point you to that experience. I can link to deer, though.

I've given up on purposiveness in blogging, and now I just blog- when I want, at my own pace, often but not exclusively on theology and the church, less and less often about my personal life (for obvious reasons, given that I live a public life in my congregation and community).

This is not a purpose-driven blog. And I like it that way.

1 comment:

  1. Great reflections! I have often looked with mixed admiration and bewilderment at people who blog exclusively on the lectionary, the Bible or a theological theme. Perhaps I don't have the discipline to stick with one topic consistently, or perhaps I just have the need to write about whatever comes to mind. But I've figured out that I blog for me and my interests (albiet, I like writing for an audience), NOT as a pseudo-periodical attempting to offer a consistant type, topic or style of commentary for public consumption.

    I'm not a journal or a periodical, and I like it that way.