I have been recently reminded of some of the things I’ve written in this space, some of which I wholeheartedly stand by to this day and some of which I have changed my mind about or at least lost some of my enthusiasm for.
It’s been interesting, though, in how I’ve been reminded: they have been people who have tried to use the things I’ve written here to form a snapshot of my beliefs and ideals. While that might be generally pretty useful, I’m also noticing that it’s not sufficient.
For me, this space has always been tentative – or at least, I have always thought so. Too often do we expect publication – and yes, even a blog is publication in this day and age – to solidify an idea in writing, frozen at the moment that it stopped being a private thought and instead became public words. Generally, the prevalence of what is sometimes referred to as “the rhetoric of assertion” (cf. this essay by Gary Olsen) makes this idea that much more pervasive. But blogging for me has never been simply about the publication of thoughts; it is the perfect place to explore ideas in a way that is interactive (if I just wanted to put out my own ideas with no interaction, I’d disable comments – and believe me, there are times in the history of this blog that I have wished I didn’t have the convictions that I do about free and open discourse) and in some ways collaborative.
I have been doing that here since August of 2006. (I’ve actually been blogging since around January of 2005, partly here – and wow, how my writing has improved since then! – and for a year on the long-defunct thechristiancynic.com.) It is impossible for me to verbalize all the ways in which my life has changed: I now have two sons (my first wasn’t even born when I started blogging, although he would have been an infant when I started up here), am finishing up a degree that I wouldn’t have even considered at the beginning and which (other than relating to writing itself) has very little to do with the interests that led me to blog initially, and have a different outlook on life altogether because of all the experiences that I’ve encountered along the way, most of which have never been reflected on this blog.
I suppose what I’m doing here is an extended disclaimer: feel free to read anything that I’ve written here. I am (for the most part) unapologetic about what I have said, and I wouldn’t take any of it back even though there is much that I would no longer assent to if you asked me about it. You can disagree, and that’s perfectly fine. If you’re looking to characterize me by what I’ve said, especially the further back that these musings go, then you will be battling rather unsuccessfully with an image of me that does not exist in reality.
Time changes most things, and when progress occurs, that is undoubtedly a good thing. I like to think that I have made progress, and that is enough for me.