This post is a milestone for me in blogging. If my little control panel in Typepad is keeping accurate records then this is my 1000th post!!
I suppose I should say something brilliant and memorable here but nothing really comes to mind that would fit either of those descriptions.
However, I will say a few words about the blessings of blogging in my life.
1. Spiritual Growth
OK, I'm a pastor and I am supposed to say that, right? But it is true. Tim Challies says that blogging is a spiritual discipline. I am not sure I want to go that far, at least speaking personally. It is a discipline for Tim but I simply haven't been disciplined about it enough for it to be so.
But I do believe that God's number one means of grace is other believers and blogging has opened the door to interaction with dozens, maybe hundreds of other believers I have never met who have challenged me in my relationship with Christ, and in my understanding and application of Scripture.
2. Better Thinking
I have said this before but I'll say it again - blogging has been the next best thing to the seminary experience for me. Many people think the benefit of seminary is getting to read great books and be lectured by great professors. Those are definite benefits and they go a long way to sharpening your thinking. But the greatest benefit of seminary is the after class discussions with fellow students. This is where a good deal of the intellectual and spirtual sharpening takes place.
Many complain about the academic setting of seminary, that is divorced from the real world. That is valid in many ways - but one of the thing this setting does allow for is sustained interaction and conversation with other students. So, when I say that blogging is the next best thing to seminary I say that because blogging has come the closest to emulating the deep intellectual, theological and practical conversations I experienced in seminary.
To be sure, when students get together and talk there is an abundance of shared ignorance floating around. And there is an abundance of ignorance floating around the blogosphere - with 999 posts and counting I've done my part to keep the ignorance flowing.
But something great can happen when a bunch of ignorant people start talking to one another. Where I am ignorant you might not be, and vice versa. So, we end up helping each other out.
3. Interaction with the opposition
We all have the tendency to become insular and not able to see outside our own traditions and circles of friends. As a Presbyterian I can go to my church and rail against the liberals, the arminians, the Baptists (he-he, I just had to throw that one in!) and all kinds of folks and get nothing but hearty amens, pats on the backs and thanks that we're not like them.
But in blogging I have found that I tend to get read by those I criticize, and that adds a whole new perspective. Blogging makes it hard to attack straw men. The blogosphere is one place where straw men have an uncanny ability to attack back. As much as I have loved interacting with those who share my views in the blogosphere I have to say that interacting with those who oppose my views has been richly rewarding, even when I remain unconvinced by their arguments.
4. Going International.
One of the things I love the most about blogging is being able to interact with people from different parts of the world - that is a special delight. Thanks to all who read and comment from places other than the US - you have definitely broadened my horizons.
5. Community & Friendship
This has been the biggest benefit of blogging. I really believe I have made some good new friendships through blogging. There are many I have not met face to face whom I yet consider friends and hope to meet face to face someday.
But even better than that is that blogging has enabled me to meet many great folks face to face whom I never would have met otherwise. You folks are a great blessing to me.
So, for my 1000th post I mainly want to say thanks to all who have read my blog, all whose blogs I have read, and a special word of thanks to all who comment here. Though I don't respond to all the comments I do read them and appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to respond to what I have to say.
As I finish up my 1000th post this will be the last new post I will do for a few weeks. I am going out of town tomorrow for a few weeks and won't have access to a computer. However, knowing I was going out of town, for the past couple of weeks I have been going back through old posts that are about two years old or older and have posted a bunch of them ahead while I am gone.
I figured that most of the folks who are reading me now probably weren't reading me two years ago so this stuff will be new to most of you. And, since there is nothing worse than blog with no new posts this will keep things alive till I get back.
I also need to mention that I haven't had my own computer for the last couple of weeks as it has been on the fritz, I've been borrowing other computers. So, I haven't seen any e-mails for a couple of weeks and won't for two more weeks. So, my apologies to anyone who has tried to contact me and I haven't responded. Hopefully I'll be back on track in a couple of weeks.
So, thanks again for all you have done to enrich my life and I'll be back in touch soon