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Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Makes No Sense

So this makes no sense.

First, in case anyone's actually reading this on a regular basis (and according to Statcounter, there are about 10-15 of you 'returning visitors' every day), you may have noticed that it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything - nearly two months. So why on earth do you keep coming back? (please note, I'm not at all displeased that you do; I'm just surprised by it).

Second, back in the day (2005 and the early parts of 2006) when I was posting like a maniac, the best we ever averaged was about 40-50 visitors per day. Not bad. But now (again, according to Statcounter), we're averaging 96 a day (with a peak of nearly 140). Most of these folks are new, and I'm guessing they don't come back. So why on earth are new people coming to this site, when nothing new has been posted here in such a long time? (once again, I'm not complaining, just curious).

Add in to the mix that in spite of all this traffic, almost no one ever comments anymore. Hmm...

Part of me wonders if Statcounter is accurate (I think it probably is); so is it robots crawling the blogosphere, looking to harvest email addresses? Or is it real people?

[ATTENTION ALL REAL PEOPLE READING THIS - would you kindly leave a comment on this post and just say hi - just tell me where you're from (vaguely), how you found your way here, and what you were looking for (that you did or didn't find), and if you come back regularly or not. I'm not looking for biographies or anything like that - I'm just curious if there's really a pulse out there. Anyone?]

My guess is that very few people will comment. Gawkers? Strangers passing in the night? Or perhaps they just aren't real people at all. I just don't know...

Some of you (all three of you 'real people' who for some reason or other ARE in fact still reading) - I'd be curious for your input on a followup question. As you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting a lot. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, things are busy in a church plant (no surprise there, but they were busy in seminary too, and I found lots of time to post then).

Second, because blogger didn't support tags when I first started blogging, I split my content out into multiple sites - personal stuff on Granitepeaks, photos on my photoblog, rubber meets the road stuff here on SLD, theological musings on Wayfaring Pilgrim, and stuff about the church plant over on the Missoula Project site. And when you get busy, it becomes a whole lot harder to post to 5 different blogs, let alone one (that said, it's not like I've been overly busy posting on those other sites either).

Third, (and probably closer to the real reason for the slowdown), for the first time in my life I'm spending an awful lot of time talking to folks who share their stories and struggles, and because I'm a pastor planting a church, there's a chance they might tune in and find this blog. And so even though a huge number of blogworthy conversations have been happening, I've been reluctant to talk about what people are saying, lest they think I'm simply using them for blog fodder. I really want to respect the privacy of people who are wrestling. And so I haven't said a lot about all the interesting things that are going on, at least not publically on the blogosphere.

Given all that, I find myself wondering:
  • should I combine all my blogs into one (and just mix content, so there's at least more volume getting posted, even though that means people might have to sift a little more to determine what they're interested in)?
  • should I give up blogging altogether?
  • should I start a new blog, under a new name, and just not tell anyone about it - then I could write what's on my mind and not have to worry about someone who knows me in real life reading what I thought about their conversation?
I'm not sure, and I'd be interested in feedback (assuming there are any real, longtime readers, out there somewhere). Thoughts? Comments? Anyone?

23 Comments:

At 3:55 AM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Melodee said...

I'm here. I only come to the blog when you've posted something (I've got you on my blog feed), so I don't count for your daily visitor stats...

I can't really give you any advice about what to do in the blogosphere, but I do think you are wise to refrain from posting a lot about the people you are building relationships with.

 
At 4:59 AM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Joey Day said...

I've got you in my feedreader, too, so I'm not a daily visitor, but I see when there's something new.

 
At 6:50 AM, June 01, 2007, Blogger just me said...

Yep another feed reader person and why I came upon you... I don't remember but I think it has something to do with looking in the blog-o-sphere for new ways of articulating faith and life. If you look at my blog you might get an idea of why i might want that.

 
At 6:57 AM, June 01, 2007, Anonymous Ken M. said...

Another feed reader person here. I've been reading your posts for over a year now. I found you through a link to your blog from a post from some other blogger that I regularly read (but can't remember at the moment...maybe Jollyblogger?). Turns out that I think you and I have a mutual friend in Bruce Clark, who going to seminary in the town where I live but is in Montana for the summer with his family. Anyway, I think you've got some really insightful things to say about faith and life, and I hope don't give up blogging. But I agree that you should respect the privacy of those who've shared their struggles with you, unless you first get their permission to post something they've shared with you.

 
At 7:49 AM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Christian said...

"Man, I love you guys" (*sniff, sniff, getting teary eyed*)

"You're not getting our Bud Light, Christian" (remember that commercial? :-)

Ok, so I have a weird sense of humor...

 
At 8:26 AM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Molly said...

I just typed a whole comment and then lost it by bumping a button on my keyboard. Shoot!

Anyway, I was saying that I read what you write, unless it's a really long post ;)

And I appreciate the separation of blogs -- especially if the intention with SLD remains to maintain a conversation here with people who aren't conversant in "bible-ese." In the future (and even now), it gives people a chance to see what you think in a "non-threatening" environment (though, as you know, not an offense-free environment).

My strongest opinion comes with your last thought -- essentially starting an annonymous blog. NO! (I have strong opinions about this, you can see.) IMO, annonymous blogs are the worst of the blogosphere -- they create the temptation for us to blog in a non-redemptive, non-edifying way. At work, we have an unofficial policy of not writing anything about anybody (in an email or in our private records) that we would be embarrassed to have the person himself read. It's Eph 4:29. I find this really helpful when I blog; if it's going to be edifying, I post it. If it won't be edifying or I'd be embarrassed to have ____________ (I have a few names that are sort of my litmus test) read it, I write it in my journal.

Not that you're thinking of doing that, but this is kind of a soap box for me.

 
At 9:21 AM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Anne said...

I read you via feed reader, too. I think I found you first through the PCA blogroll.

About the anonymous blog: I can certainly understand why you'd want to do that because I've thought the very same thing, but because of the reasons Molly mentioned, I haven't. And I have to admit that I don't really trust anonymous blogs I read as much as those that aren't anonymous.

I enjoy reading what you write, but I understand why you can't do it more regularly.

 
At 12:11 PM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Greg said...

Also a feed-reader..

Don't stop posting, just remember that this is not your church, so "why" is not as important a question to ask here as it is in your previous post. Your own character will take care of the rest...

 
At 7:43 PM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Erik said...

Hey, I'm from Florida and found my way to your blog through the Jollyblogger. I've enjoyed your refreshingly honest posts on Christian sex, Mormonism and evangelism. I read your blog because I was impressed with the tact and gentility in which you seem to approach difficult subjects. Thanks.

 
At 9:26 PM, June 01, 2007, Anonymous Brad said...

Yeah, I'm impressed with your gentility also. That is why I am here. In fact your gentle nature is why we're friends I'm quite sure!

 
At 11:37 PM, June 01, 2007, Blogger rchmura said...

You may find gostats to be better than stat counter. The stat counter memory is much smaller than gostats.

 
At 8:24 AM, June 04, 2007, Blogger Kyuboem said...

Hi Christian, I'm a feed reader and a lurker too. I say combine blogs. That way, I can see all that there is to know about Christian in one place...

BTW, a belated happy birthday to you.

 
At 3:35 PM, June 05, 2007, Blogger Deb said...

Aw man. I stopped checking for a week, and you went ahead and wrote something :)

Caught your blog initially on pcablogs.com

I find your articles on topics like evangelism, faith, community, and coffee intriguing reads. But to be honest, I've been kind of anxiously awaiting your "Romans 8!" (on Wayfaring Pilgrim)

If you combined blogs, would that cut down on your exposure to new, random traffic? I like that you've split the content, but that's just me.

 
At 12:28 PM, June 06, 2007, Anonymous Annette F. said...

Okay, I admit I don't read regularly, but ever since my co-worker Molly sort of tuned me in to some of her fav blog spots, AND, because your work in Missoula totally intrigues me, I occassionally visit all the blogs marked on my favorites list and today I just happened to hit on this one. I am glad I did.

I am not sure that I can tell you what to do, but I know at least one thing you shouldn't do. Don't stop blogging! It is amazing to be able to read even a few blogs from those who are doing intense ministry. It is like having a personal conversation with each one. When I read these kinds of blogs, I find I am looking for ways of looking at my world from eyes that have an eternal view, and I like to read the blogs that help me do this. I can wander from that so easily. Thus, the title of this site is wonderful.

I suppose it would be helpful to you to reduce the number of blogs you have to post to, but if you do that, let me know where to go to read.

I guess none of us really know the impact we have on others that may view our lives from the periphery, but know that your life thoughts are helpful to me.

 
At 8:57 PM, June 06, 2007, Blogger Penny said...

There's not alot of blogging time in my life these days (like there ever was!), so I typically wander in here when you provide a link from an email to a specific topic.

The thing I like about all of your blogs is that I know you are genuine about caring for people and in your love for Christ. It's the reason I love you guys and that you can't get rid of me. :-)

 
At 8:47 AM, June 08, 2007, Blogger Steve F. said...

Christian, first of all, I am one of the most erratic blog-readers of all time. I work on a PC all day at work, and many times the last thing I want to do is face any more time on a PC.

Second, I am fascinated by much of what you write - but (like so many folks) there's only so much throughput someone like me can take. So I jump back to your site from time to time, even though you're on my BlogRoll.

Third, I just found a comment on my blog asking for comment from a year ago - which somehow just got lost in the flotsam and jetsam of life. So I am getting ready to post a couple of responses to your response. And I'm grateful for it.

I can't remember how I found your blog initially - following some bunny-trail from link to link to link, I think.

I've given up on Statcounter, Sitemeter, etc., as a measure of my "popularity." More than 90% of my "hits" are people Googling some topic which hits a random hit, and occasionally stop and read something. I once had a British soldier hit my post on "Decoration Day" that had been up for a year, and it touched him deeply.

I've had people who would never read my stuff find my controversial post on the woman at the well while searching for material for a Bible study on that story. So it's amazing (perhaps God-like?) how connections are made in the blogosphere. I find it amazing that students at a conservative Christian college in Indiana are using that post as a topic in one of their Bible studies...

The question I had to ask myself, at some point, was this: why are you doing this? Why do you continue to spend time and energy blogging?

I came to realize that I blog as a kind of online journal, and to throw my thoughts to the world and see what comments come of it. I'd like to say that it really doesn't matter whether people comment, but the fact is, I'm an approval whore: I love to get the affirmation (or even the conflict) from people reading my stuff.

Just because no one comments, doesn't mean that no one is blessed by what you write. You just never know when someone will follow some virtual bunny-trail and end up seeing something they need from you. So don't quit because you're not getting feedback.

I'd echo the words of an earlier commenter, though. As a pastor, you are put in a particular place of trust (especially as a planter - new relationships are always tenuous and fragile).

I would no more mention a person or a situation at church in a blog than I would mention it in a sermon - because a blog is (a) completely public and (b) extremely high-velocity - it can spread like wildfire. I've seen several different ministries ruined because of comments made on blogs which then were printed or quoted out of context. So that's a very, very fine line you have to walk.

One answer, of course, is an anonymous blog - see Martha, Martha, Today At The Mission, and a number of others that you can see on my BlogRoll. But the fact is, very little that a pastor does stays anonymous for very long. It's a sad fact, but a true one. No one is ever more scrutinzed than the words of a minister of the Gospel - by his friends, and by his enemies. So be careful - as I am glad to see you have been, up to this point.

I would consolidate your blogs - with the possible exception of the church plant one. You may very well want to leave that separate, because you may want to use it for public relations purposes, or as an encouragement for that particular community.

I have two blogs - one that is very general to my journey in life, recovery, faith, you name it. Then I have one that is very, very specific to the topic of gay Christianity. Those two tend to be very separate audiences - although I've been surprised the number of "crossovers" there have been.

Bottom line: if it blesses you, it's probably going to bless us. Even if it doesn't look like the 99 are reading, there's the possibility of the one lost sheep that may find encouragement here. I know I have.

And I'm going to second Erik's comment; I too have been impressed with the tact and gentility in which you seem to approach difficult subjects. That is a too-rare act of grace in a world where followers of Christ are often seen as "staying apart from" the world, rather than "being a loving, caring part of it."

Keep on keepin' on, pastor.

/end mini-epistle/

~Steve

 
At 9:16 AM, June 09, 2007, Blogger Erin said...

Hi Christian,
Hey, I commented on one of your old blogs...the one when you met the sexologist in 2005 or whatever. I'm a graduate student working on a journalism project called God Sex and Family...(newsinitiative.org/UCB/ for anyone who is interested) and I really like your youtube post from yesterday. It was a kick. Yes, there are people out here...check out our blog (we're still in the information gathering process, but you might enjoy my friend Jason's entry..."My brother the Christian"...it's a kick)
Have fun today...and every Wednesday!

 
At 12:36 AM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Lauren said...

Howdy Christian,

Lauren here. I actually stumbled upon your blog while doing some google research on the issue of lust. I was intrigued by the content, so I've been gradually checking out your other posts. I've referred one friend and will be visiting again soon I'm sure.

Thanks you for posting.

Best Always.

 
At 9:56 PM, June 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oy bro, I lurk and read what you post in here to see what you are up to with MP, etc. and then I go check out the fam picks to see what is new (those trout pics are nuts btw). Try to swing bye once a month and see whats up. Because you asked, the really personal experiences, while engaging always leave me a tad uncomfortable because you dig right in - that is not cristism, more just insight about how it feels to read the content and I sometimes wonder how a Suzanna would feel if she stumbled in (after all, despite the outrageous numbers of sexologist out there, it could happen) - but you have a gift for delivering good messages and people can relate to the context of other people's lives - Nicholas

 
At 7:07 AM, June 19, 2007, Blogger goodnight moon said...

feed reader
combine your blogs
no go on anonymous

that's my 2 (or 3) cents

 
At 12:04 AM, July 04, 2007, Blogger Danielle Bozek said...

Um hi-im new to this blog site all together..but i found this off of a blog that i found off of a blog that i found off of my old youth pastor's blog.

Im from Ohio and im find myself in a rough transition between highschool and college. Tonight-or rather this morning-was the first i stumbled across your blog but ive been reading past entries for the last hour or so. I find what you say not only interesting but inspiring. You address some issues that most would avoid and you have a way of shining a light of hope for ones future.

Please continue to write-i am looking forward to reading what else you have to say.

 
At 1:00 PM, July 21, 2007, Blogger Abby said...

Hi, Christian.
I read your blog fairly regularly--I don't come everyday, but when I do I catch up. I enjoy your writings, though I don't always agree with you, I appreciate your engagement with the world and your willingness to be honest on-line. I myself don't feel the same freedom, and are much more guarded about what I write.
I'm one of your friends from Philly you met at InFusion, as you might remember.

 
At 8:36 AM, July 22, 2007, Blogger Christian said...

Wow Abby, that is so cool, a) that you follow along, and b) that you took the time to share your perspective. Thank you so much.

I DO remember you from Infusion in Philly! Your husband is a pastor too, right?

(You know, it strikes me as funny: the two things I miss most about Philly are both related to people, first from the inner city church we attended in Hunting Park, second from the diverse group I got to know at Infusion. It's kind of interesting how its the "insignificant" things like _ordinary people_ leave a more lasting impression than some "really important" things like city, school, etc...

Please say hi to folks there who might remember me (Barb, Eileen, Jason & Jocie... drawing a blank on who else right now). And drop me a line via email and let me know how life is going for you these days. I'd love to catch up...

 

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