Thursday, January 07, 2010


If I have added correctly, then this is my 500th post on this blog. I suppose it is a little self-conscious calling attention to the fact…but then, worrying about that is like locking the barn door after the horses have escaped. Exactly what aspect of maintaining a blog is not self-conscious?

I suppose I should write something especially profound for my 500th post. But as is often the case, the well of profundity is running a bit dry these days. The other impulse is just to post get past this meaningless milestone and get on to business as usual. My inclination is to go with this second option.

That said, I think it appropriate to comment briefly about blogging. I have always been one to keep journals, to make notes of interesting passages I read, to cut-out and save magazine and newspaper articles, etc. This behavior has not stopped just because I now maintain a blog, but continues apace (and these files and papers will one day no doubt fuel a nice bonfire prior to the estate sale.) For me, blogging is simply another avenue to indulge my borderline compulsive habit.

Blogging also tempers, somewhat, a tendency to afflict my opinions on family, friends, neighbors and passers-by (although I still reserve the right to unload on the in-laws during holiday get-togethers.) One of my wife’s cousins once remarked to her, “Well, you know how weird he is.” Considering the world-view from which that comment emanated, I could not have been more highly complimented. But I recognize having a contrary view on most things can be tiresome to others, and that blogging provides a safe outlet for the expression of same, whether it be current events (dismal), politics (it was W's fault), American religiosity (growing sillier by the day), culture (irredeemable), or my favorite--books and travel.

I began this blog on 5 November 2005, and started keeping records of visits in March 2007, when I added the Stat-Counter application. The name John, which I use on this blog, was not the name I was given at birth. Back in 2004, one of the watchdogs of the Church of Christ I left (in the first week in 2005) had been monitoring my comments on several online sites—and keeping a log. For this reason, I wanted to maintain a bit of anonymity, and was consequently reluctant to use my real name. On 19 November 2005, I was received into the Holy Orthodox Church as John, with my patron saint being St. John of Rila. I like the name, thought it a good one to use on the blog, and still do. So, I am sticking with that. For those who might want to know, my real name is not hard to ascertain.

This blog has obviously paralleled my life as an Orthodox Christian. From the beginning, however, I determined to not make this an overtly “Orthodox blog.” The primary reason for that decision was, and remains, that I am simply not qualified. Orthodoxy, as it is absorbed, gives one a differing perspective on most everything. My blogging observations are certainly tinged with that. And I feel free to link to various articles touching on various aspects of the Orthodox Church--the plight of Orthodox believers in the Middle East being a particular interest--but I never really tackle doctrine or "issues" head-on. Nor do I intend to. There is no shortage of those who will, and I defer to their wisdom.

In over 4 years of blogging, I have grown not at all tired of it. There’s a great line from Waugh’s Unconditional Surrender, in which the butler shows a guest into the Crouchback drawing room to wait. He advises, "You'll find plenty to interest you here...that is, if you're interested in things." That’s just it--I remain “interested in things,” and have no desire to retire the blog.

There's no way to say what follows without coming off as overly sappy and sentimental. That is to say that the best part of blogging and this blog is, well…you. Those of you who respond to my posts from time to time treat me gently and indulge my idosyncracies. Comments are generally kind and considerate, intelligent--or at least clever, which often gets you further anyway. It has been my great privilege to meet a few of you in person, and given enough time, I hope to increase that number. So, I just say "thanks," and that I look forward to hearing from you.




s-p said...

Wow...500! I've enjoyed them all because it is a blog by someone Orthodox, not an "Orthodox blog" (there's lots of good ones of those already). Thanks for the effort and "Many posts!"

The Scylding said...


I do enjoy your blog tremendously, so here's to the next 500 posts!

BTW, my given name at birth isn't Scylding, but maybe you guessed.. :) :)

cdgilpin said...

I have really enjoyed your blog a great deal- My interest in the early church originated from a class in grad school several years ago, and then that led to reading up on Orthodoxy, which led to surfing for Orthodoxy blogs and... bingo! There was your blog. Your writings are very enjoyable- Congratulations on post 500! Keep up the good work, we enjoy the drawing room. (The fact that you're a fellow Texan certainly doesn't hurt either. ;-))

Ian Climacus said...

Congratulations! And I echo the comments above about the joy of readingn your words. And if it weren't for you I would not have had the wondrous time I did in Georgia last year.

Here's to another 500, and my warmest thoughts and prayers for a blessed 2010.

The Ochlophobist said...

Many happy returns!

I love good travel literature, but I have found most travel blog writing to be, well, lacking, and most religious travel blogging to be tedious. The travel reflections you have offered on this blog are the best I have ever read from an Orthodox perspective, and on par with the best that can I have read from any perspective.

I have also greatly enjoyed your thoughts on political and social and literary matters.

And, were it not for the blog, we would almost certainly have never met over beers.

So, all in all, I am very thankful for your work.

Milton T. Burton said...

May you have many, many more.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

But if you took the name John, then that IS your real name, yes?

About that bonfire before the estate sale. One needs to be conscious of those things NOW, because of how we aren't guaranteed any tomorrow. If it's something you don't want your survivors to come upon, consider lighting the match today. I recently did this with old love letters and feel much better. Didn't need 'em anymore; have their author instead!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Oh and congratulations on this blog milestone! I do enjoy your blog and find plenty of posts sufficiently profound to more than make up for any that may not be.

Kirk said...

Congratulations, John!

John said...

Thanks, all. And Anastasia Theodoridis, thanks for making the point that needed to be made--the name by which I receive IS my real name.