Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Morning reading and rant

Today I am copying true grit, another blog.
It's not easy, because she has some kind of demon in the template that causes the copy/paste feature not to work, unless you grab the whole damn webpage (which is what I did) then edit away what you don't want to use.
I don't know who ilona is, but she was good enough to agree to something I said in a Parableman thread. I figure she must be pretty smart if she can agree with me on anything, so I want to return the favor.

This morning's post announced she is taking vacation, but before leaving she wonders about the blogging thing, asking what makes a blog interesting.

What makes a blog interesting to you? Can you really quantify it? I have been trying to find new blog venues because I tend to stay on the same ones with the same narrow scope. I have been trying to "branch out" can let me know your thoughts if you like. I'd like to know.

I don't really know. It seems to be a very individual appeal, not at all the same for any two people. If we look at the population in terms of blogger and bloggee, it seems the blogger is in the business of trying to say something, reach out, or connect. The readers, however, tend to be mostly other bloggers, so I'm not sure that among the audience there are very many people really looking to receive anything by reading. There will always be that ulterior motive, that lurking desire, that as we read, we might come upon something to claim part of. A meme or scoop or juxtaposition of ideas that will strike a chord if we blog about it.

Here is an enigmatic line:

I have another blog cooking to take the place of Spiced Tea, which hardly anyone knows about. I don't know what to call it, though.

I looked it up. There is another blog by that name which looks more conventional.
Ilona, if you read this, I think you have a good aptitude for blogging and writing, but the form is less important than the content.

When I got my nerve up to do anything on the internet it was on a Yahoo message board. At Yahoo you can register a bunch of different "profiles" by way of maintaining anonymity. A lot of people, however, use that capability to plant deceptive messages using different profiles, so the reader is left wondering who these different people are. It's all very silly when you think about it, since even the first profile is already nothing but a handpuppet. I found multiple profiles to be confusing as well as deceptive, so early on I decided to stick with one.

It seems to me that unless the blogger is using his or her "real" identity, one blog is probably enough. There are exceptions, of course, for keeping professional interests separate from personal interests. Also, the current trend to group blogging calls for individual blogs to be repositories for content that might not be appropriate to a group objective.

In the case of Spiced Tea versus true grit (or any other effort underway) I would like to gently and respectfully suggest that putting all your energy into one blog will be quite enough. The added benefit will be removing the temptation to compartmentalize one's life and thinking. That temptation is how we resist listening to a Divine whisper that says our mortal being and our spiritual being are inextricably entwined.

As an old-fashioned sixties liberal I like what you wrote in the post before:

In Defense of Mercy

I have often said I would advocate the Liberal if they could give me anything remotely worthy of it. This may or may not happen, but I will say this, the Conservatives may yet give me cause to stand against them. and I won't care if they have banners of Christian Right emblazoned upon their chests or if they have self-righteous emptyminded platitudes about how "reasonable and right" they are.
Because, so help me God, I have given my allegiance to one Lord. And I am taken back by the self-righteous mob pleasing catcalls of "Right and Wrong" if it is not predicated upon truth. You will not gain any acquiesence from this corner. Not one quarter.
God is a God of justice, yes, -yes, He is, but I have an admonition for you who seek an absolute justice that will impale the target with no remonstrance of mercy:
Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
I wonder sometimes... is this the Age of Enlightenment's legacy, this Directoire with gleeful guillotine crowds? Is this the impasse we will find ourselves at? Our very humanity sacrificed in the name of Human Reason.
Where is the mercy that met the adulterous women- the one at the well and the one presented for one last imprecation before stoning? Where is that mercy if you call yourself Christian? Where is the knowledge that we are all flesh, and prone to its folly? Does this take anything at all away from the fact that justice will be done? It does not.
Will you call Christ unjust, you who would justify yourselves? And isn't that all we do in our frenzies of infuriated feeding on the stories of the day.
I have stood at the lines of good and evil in the black and white of matters, and I don't apologize for that, but there is a difference between understanding social issues and applying strict no-mercy, no allowances rules to our fellow man. Just witness some of the zero-tolerance fiascos that policy has provided.
Didn't anyone else ever read Les Miserables? You were all on Inspector Javert's side, right? And you subscribe to that mode of thinking: right is right and law is law and let's get to the good part and stone the poor fool. They deserve it!
We have lost our moorings... and the Christian voice is truncated in demanding Righteousness!
Well, how about sowing a little of the real righteousness and throw your cloak over the poor fool, and get them some help.... and how about giving some thought and reason to dividing the issues in such a way that real criminals who work the system and literally get away with murder have some controls and more than virtual punishments...
Just one last thing on this rant... can we remember that it is the hue and cry of the inflamed mob that injustice may most hide under and justice may most be lost? And it is before the quiet, and reasoned Man who wrote the convicting letters in the sand, who brought both true justice and mercy into a volatile situation? Give truth some time and space, and render some mercy in the meantime. Who knows when you will need the same, in one court of justice or another?

In a fairly short space you have covered a lot of ground and raised a lot of valid and provocative questions.

The first thing I read this morning was Jim Gilbert's post at @ Large.
I like what he says and have only the greatest respect for his professional standing as a theologian with obvious credentials. Sometimes you don't need to see the diploma to know that someone has a degree in music. All you need to do is hear them sing or play an instrument. Same is true of him.
However, he is trying in a short space to put a universe of topics into a single nutshell. His generalizations are correct, I think, but as a self-confessed "liberal" I wince every time I see the word in print, because I know it is someone who wants to define me without my permission. If it is not a voice of the "Right" (and these are terms I rarely use, because I hate the polarizing effect they have on any discussion) preparing to excoriate me in absentia, it is instead a voice from the "Left" purporting to speak on my behalf without my consent.

The reason I like what you wrote is that it doesn't presume to cast anyone into a stereotype. You seem to be holding the gate open for anyone, from any politic, to persuade you one way or another. On that, if that is what is happening, you and I can agree.

Some of my current complaints are these:

***There is a story going around about a soldier in Iraq who decided after he was there that he is a conscientious objector. The term is being tossed around carelessly, mostly by journalists and uninformed pundits who have no idea what it means. This is not the place to elaborate, but I can tell you as someone who served a full tour of duty in the Army as a conscientious objector that the issue(s) is/are not as straightforward as readers are being led to believe.

***The election of George Bush to the presidency is being hailed as God's putting a Christian into that job. In my estimation Jimmy Carter is also a Christian who strives to discern God's will. But Jimmy Carter is being vilified for his performance as president by a lot of people waving the Christian flag. Is it ever possible that a Democrat can be a Christian?

***I'm tired, weary to the end of optimism, of having to read and hear the word "liberal" in the pejorative. The more I read it, the less energy I have. It is hard enough to be part of a minority. It is harder still when the acknowledged majority seems unrelenting in their efforts to use that minority as a whipping boy. What happened to the idea that a loyal opposition is important to any discussion?


ilona said...

demon in the template? I will need to exorcise.

ilona said...

Now I have read through and want to thank for the time you took to put into writing some gentle and very enlightening observations. it gives me some things to think about.

You are an old one like me ;)

I don't really think that "Liberal" is in the minority...although I am sure you could make a case. There do seem to be a number of shifts in society taking place. Some of what I wrote was in response to some of it and where it threatens to be going.
It would be highly interesting to hear what you have to say on 'conscientious objection' if you have the time and energy to blog on it.

I appreciate your articulate point of view-

Jim said...

Thanks, Hoots, for your continued kindness to my internationally unknown blog. If you are a "liberal," you're certainly one I'd like to trust to hold my feet to the fire. At this point in my blogging career (5 weeks in) I'd just as soon make mistakes before too many people are injured in my wrecks. Thus I write in blacks and whites, figuring the demands of gray will come soon enough.

Blessings to you!

Deborah said...

Is it possible to be a Christian an a Democrat? about Dr. Martin Luther King?

Prior to this new conservative political-religious incarnation, weren't politial Christians always those "bleeding heart" Democrats? LOL (Certainly more logical than hard-heartedness as Christianity.)

Hoots said...

And, uh, Billy Graham?
Today Show, last year...