Ten years ago today, I wrote a short item on ministry strategy to launch the brand-new Thinking Christian blog. What a great, wild ride it’s been since then! Today I’m thinking back on highlights of those ten years.
The first thing good thoughts I have are about all the commenters who have made this so interesting and fun. Thank you to all of you!
I’m sure I’ll miss naming every one of you I should mention, but I can’t forget commenters from long ago including Charlie Scott, Franklin Mason, SteveK, doctor(logic), Paul R., Crude, The Deuce, Nick Matzke, and OlegT; of course also SteveK, Holopupenko, Victoria, Melissa, and all of you who began here long ago and have stayed involved. I won’t try to cover the whole list!
I don’t have a full record of all comments, because the blogging and commenting systems I used for the first three years have gone defunct. My first WordPress post was on December 5, 2007. Since then you and I have posted almost 50,000 comments (49,109, actually, a number that’s grown even as I’ve been writing this). The most prolific commenters, those with numbers near 1,000 or above, have been SteveK (3,224 comments), Charlie (1,627), Victoria (1,595), BillT (1,548), Holopupenko (1,541), Ray Ingles (1,409), G. Rodrigues (1,212), JAD (994). (These numbers are based on commenters’ email addresses, which should be unique and consistent. If not then the counts will be wrong. I hope I haven’t missed someone!)
The two most memorable comments of all time both came from the iBlog days, so I can’t give you links, but I’ll share the content anyway. Who could forget this one from post-constructionist Jacob Stump, who responded this way to my question, “Is 2+2=5 wrong?”
It is not necessary to use the terms “right” and “wrong”–we participate in a culture in which those are familiar resources that we draw on to describe the world in significant ways. Is it necessary to describe the world in any one way in particular? I don’t think so…. The teacher trains the child to emit the signs that the teacher was taught to emit and their teacher was taught to emit and the people that certify teachers were taught to emit. Or said differently, of course 2 + 2 = 5 is an illegitimate answer. The child will probably be corrected, or retrained, if they said that it equalled 5.
Then there was the refreshingly honest, logically consistent, ethical relativist Paul, who wrote,
What does it mean to ask if one group is right and the other is wrong when right and wrong are defined by each group? The situation is relativistic. Both are right for themselves. That does mean that I give up the ability to say that in their own times and places, slavery, suttee, and child sacrifice were wrong…. I can still ‘want’ to out-law slavery in other societies because that is my moral code, instilled in me by my society. There is nothing stopping me from doing so, even as I acknowledge that, in slave culture, slavery is not wrong.
I think my favorite posts here have been the two that I thought were more creative than the others. One was, Says the Madman: “Humanity Is Dead, and We Are Its Murderers”; the other is Only Natural. Next to that, my most enjoyable writing has been some of the least commented on: material on the person and character of Jesus Christ. Some of that came in the form of extended series: The Beauty of Christ, Jesus’ First and Last Words, Why Did Jesus Come?, and What Kind of Man Was Jesus?
Some of my other favorite posts are tagged already as “Core,” and they show up in the rotating banners on the home page.
While I don’t have statistics to back it up, my impression is that the most-visited blog posts consistently across years have been Why Wearing Clothes of Mixed Fabrics (Lev. 19:19) Was Wrong, The Professor Who Thought He Knew Bigotry When He Saw It Did God Commit Genocide in the Bible?. My series on Peter Boghossian attracted more traffic than any other.
My son, Jonathan, (see PerpetuallyCreative.com), has done most of the custom design here.
The Point Of It All
So why blog? They say you know you’re a writer if you have to write. That’s me: if I go more than a few days without writing, I get antsy. It’s uncomfortable. Blogging is a form of extreme writing, you might say, like white-water writing. While I do a fair amount of writing for publication elsewhere, this has satisfaction all its own.
Why blog on these topics in particular? They interest me, to start with! And I think they’re important. I don’t have much expectation of converting many committed atheists here. That’s just not realistic, though I pray for you who do not believe anyway. Mostly I’m writing for the thousand or more lurkers who read every day without commenting. Some of you have let me know how it helps, sending me emails like this one:
Mr. Gilson, I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, following a link from some site, I don’t remember which it was. Just wanted to drop a short note to tell you how much I have enjoyed your musings, as well as the replies, counter-arguments, etc. It is refreshing, and a blessing to me, to see rigorous questions answered rigorously and intelligently, with a courtesy and respect found all too seldom in internetland. Lest you should ever have a “crisis of faith” like the one suffered recently by Barefoot Bum, please know that you have strengthened my faith, and my ability to defend it. You do make a difference, at least in this man’s life. Blessings to you and yours.
Celebrate a Blogiversary With Me!
I’d be encouraged to hear from you today, on this ten-year blogiversary. Please consider contributing to my work here and at Ratio Christi.
Thank you so much for reading and for participating. It wouldn’t mean a thing without you!