I attended an academic conference for relatively new professors in Chicago last weekend, and it was a positive experience that gave me a chance to meet and learn from other theological school professors from all around the U.S. and Canada.
The meeting included round table discussions and several lectures that produced, for me, a half-dozen pages of notes that I’ll consult later. Unfortunately, the one comment that stuck firmly in my mind was not the most productive one, but a rather smarmy put-down with which one education official ended his lecture.
The presentation had dealt with the broad context of contemporary theological education, but the speaker closed with an apparently unrelated observation on blogging. With apologies to Winston Churchill, he said something like:
Never in human history have so many
who have so little to say
said so much to so few.
In many respects, of course, he’s right: the web swarms with countless blogs, many of which are entirely self-oriented online journals or single-issue screeds. Many blogs, no doubt, are read by no one, including the bloggers’ mothers, for which they are probably thankful.
A few blogs (a tiny percentage of the total) are commercially successful and widely influential, read daily by tens of thousands of people. Many others — this one included — have a more modest audience of from fifty to a few hundred readers on a given day (if Google Analytics is to be trusted).
Occasionally, I have to ask myself if the several hours per week that I devote to blogging is a wise investment. I don’t know that I can provide the best answer, but here’s what I think: for every blog I write, if one person who’s been unclear about something can say “Now I understand,” if one person is inspired to think a new and worthy thought, if one person is led to smile out loud or to ponder a mystery, if one person who had been feeling isolated senses the joy of a kindred spirit, if one person on the border of despair gains a thimbleful of hope, then I think the investment of time and effort has been well spent.
That’s what gets me up early in the morning three days a week. Now, back to the academics …