I have sat here all afternoon trying to come up with something clever, insightful, and profound regarding Pastor Bill’s sermon today. Though I’ve had a plethora of thoughts none of them really felt right. So I walked away and pondered. Every time I allowed my brain to come back to Plymouth Cafe I found myself not focusing on the word’s delivered in service today but on a conversation after service I had with Pastor and Lance. Our conversation was about this, the blog, and how to get people to actually read what is being posted. In the few moments we had to banter ideas, all of which are wonderful, I realized there was one thing missing. With the majority of the congregation being a bit older the whole concept of a blog may be as foreign as walking in Jerusalem, and as vast as dessert.
I am no spring chicken, I hate to admit, and didn’t actually venture into the world of blogging until 2007, but once there I cannot seem to turn my back on the concept. Blogs are created for a variety of reasons, but all of them share one common thread. The underlying current of blogs is to reach large amounts of people quickly. Well, don’t we have facebook, myspace, email for that? That would be true, but those methods of communication to the masses provide a different foundation, structure, and purpose. Facebook is really more about the quick check in on my life, your life, and their lives. Myspace tried to combine blogging with the quick check in and though it worked well, as that is where I found my start, it is also limiting because it requires people to be members to read what others are saying (same as facebook), and some people are just not comfortable registering for something they won’t actually ever use. And then you have email. It’s so cut and dry sometimes, plus once you send it finding what you sent can be tedious. So none of them offer what a blog offers.
Blogging started as an electronic diary or journal. You write your entry and then “post” it to the world wide web and wait. Ha! Wait for what? Well, your readers of course. See, the thing with blogging is that it not only provides you, the writer, a place to write your thoughts, but then you ask your friends, family, or whomever to read your blog. That’s the catch. It’s like writing a letter to everyone you care about sharing details of your life but instead of writing the same thing several times, stuffing it into several envelopes, pasting a stamp on each one, and then dropping it in the mailbox with the hope it will reach its destination, you type and post. The other thing is some people have every intention of writing back but life happens and that much anticipated letter never appears in your post box creating disappointment and sometimes a sense of isolation. Blogging eliminates that because your readers can post a quick comment, even anonymously, right on to your page. There in the moment so no waiting is necessary and no distraction by life’s typical business.
Blogging expanded over the years to go from such private journaling to actually be a source of valuable information and for some even a place to sell products thus another way of having an income. There are blogs on medical issues, blogs on crafts, home schooling, legal matters, blogs from crafty Dad’s, gay and lesbian rights, religion, and pets, kids, schools, the list is endless. I would love a survey on how many blogs exist out there today, but that number must be enormous. I myself write two blogs and have now ventured here for my third.
I used to be that person that would hand write a letter to each family member and friends. I found I would be saying the same thing to each and then adding a more personal note near the end. Though I loved the connection it was often I never heard back, and then there were times that I just got tired of writing and someone would notoriously get missed. Eventually I progressed to typing the main body of my letter and then on each one either typing or handwriting a more personal note. I hit “print” and saved myself so much time and effort. Then I became a Mom and my time became so strained as well as energy that my precious letter writing became a distant thought.
How did I discover blogging? In 2007 my husband received a job offer to move from Washington (state) to Illinois. Many of my friends and most of my family asked us to keep them posted on our journey east. I was pregnant with Zach, and we were driving for two weeks to our hotel room until our house was done being built. A lover of writing, and believer in journaling, I decided the best way to stay in touch was to start a blog. I wrote everyday. Sometimes I had a lot to say while other times it was just a quick, “we are alive”. My friends and family loved the stories, and my heart felt full. It was a match meant to be, and one that I have not nor will I divorce.
What will reading this blog do for you? Maybe nothing at all. Then again, maybe it will be a source to share something you were thinking, something you glean from a sermon or experience you had recently. It could be a way of communicating with people you don’t see often enough, ask for prayer, catch up on what you missed at Pastor’s sermon on Sunday, and so much more. This is not just about one person’s thoughts and insights, but about the congregation coming together as a family through another media. Blogging is about writing those letters to each other, or sometimes just reading and learning/growing, for the sake of sharing. This blog is not about one person, as is my private journaling meant for close friends and family. This blog IS about all of us and our journey at Plymouth Congregational Church. That is not to say that every post will have Jesus or God, or even be religiously based, but as a family in Christ, we will come together through this new found form and use the tool as intended – to lift spirits, share information, and invite those far and wide to share in our experiences.
Who knows, maybe our congregation will grow beyond West Chicagoland. Regardless, of where this goes, who reads it, we will walk this journey together and find the positive connection this affords us.
God bless you.