How does one say this, after all these years, all these friendships, all these interactions?
It’s been quite a ride, for one thing. And it’s coming full circle.
When I started this blog on another platform almost 15 years ago, I thought it was going to be about Christian strategy. It quickly morphed into an apologetics and ethics blog, however. Now I’m returning to that original strategic intention now. I’m doing as part of a group, on a different platform, for a new purpose fitted to a new day in our world. It’s still got plenty to do with ethics and apologetics, but it’s focused now on strategies to bring more thinking Christianity into the Church.
I’ll write several posts here to explain and introduce that over the next few weeks. And then I’m going to retire this blog.
The published posts and comments will remain, of course.
It really has been a great run. I’ve treasured my time with the community of commenters here: Charlie Scott, SteveK, Holopupenko, G. Rodrigues, BillT, scbrownlrhm, Melissa, Victoria, Jenna, Billy Squibs, JAD, djc, The Deuce, Medicine Man, bigbird, and so many other supporting commenters. It’s dangerous to begin building a list; I’ll miss someone crucial to my time here. I must apologize for that in advance.
I think as well as the loyal opposition. doctor(logic) comes first to mind: he was one of the first and one of the most engaging. Also Paul, Sault, Tony Hoffman, David Ellis, Raz, Nick Matzke, Tom Clark, OlegT, Jacob Stump, James Lindsay, Ray Ingles, Shane Fletcher, Keith, Ordinary Seeker, Larry Tanner, Gregory Magarshak, John Moore, Skepticism First, and so many, many others who have enlivened discussions here for so long.
I’ve met some of you face to face, including one atheist who asked me never to tell about it — and I haven’t, though I still wish we could have recorded that meeting, or een sold tickets to see it! Nothing violent about it; we had a great breakfast together. And some lively debate!
Here is where I’ve honed my writing skills. Here is where I learned much of what I know about apologetics ministry. Holopupenko taught me to appreciate Thomism, much of which I even agree with now! Others taught me that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, which drove me to further study.
Behind the scenes, too, this was where my son, Jonathan, taught me an awful lot about web design and especially WordPress, as he also developed a whole series of outstanding design themes.
Here, too, is where I found a network that connected me with writing opportunities online with First Things, Breakpoint, the Christian Apologetics Alliance Facebook Group, the Apologetics Bloggers Alliance, and ultimately The Stream, where I now do the great majority of my writing. I can’t begin to say enough thanks for the friendships gained through all that extended network.
It was great, when it was at its best. At its peak this blog was seeing something like 35,000 page views a month. On this WordPress platform alone, after I switched from the original, this post is the 2,345th I’ve written. Commenters have written more than 60,500 comments. Four years ago I ran a test on a random sample of blog posts, and estimated that by then I’d blogged just under half a million words, not including comments (which were much more voluminous).
This change isn’t easy. I’ve been agonizing over it literally for months. I’ve got a lot of history here. Three years ago Feedspot honored this blog as the top-ranking individually-hosted Christian blog on the internet. As of this writing, Feedspot is still ranking it the number two Christian philosophy blog, right behind Edward Feser’s. Since Feser is a Roman Catholic, that would make this the top Protestant Christian philosophy blog in Feedspot’s view.
In time it will disappear from all those rankings, I know. It’s going to be hard to let that go.
Why move on, then? I’ve changed. The world we live in has changed. The Church has changed, too — but it’s not keeping up with the rest, and that alarms me. American Christianity is moving toward persecution, in terms that Jesus himself defined in Matthew 5:11-12. Anti-Christian hostility is well documented. Even where individuals aren’t facing hostility, the Christian view of reality is under persistent, consistent attack. It’s only likely to increase as our culture polarizes more and more.
And we’re not ready for it. For that reason, along with a growing group of friends and colleagues, I’m turning my focus toward Christianity’s readiness for what’s ahead.
Many of my colleagues in apologetics have asked, “Why won’t the Church adopt apologetics as part of its equipping?” It’s a great question. We at the Spiritual Readiness Project are turning it into a matter of research. We want to be able to answer that great question, from the perspective of the churches — and especially the pastors who have so much else to think about.
We want to know very specifically how we can help. And then over the course of 3 to 5 years we intend to produce books, articles, and conferences to serve the Church in this vital area of equipping.
If that weren’t so crucial, I wouldn’t leave here. But it is.
The pace here has decreased over the past few years, too. When I joined Ratio Christi’s national leadership team some five or six years ago, my writing time diminished. Later on I tried to keep things going here while also writing for The Stream, which might have worked had my heart not been turning toward the Spiritual Readiness Project.
When I quit writing here as much, the commenting community I’d enjoyed so much here dissipated, too. It only makes sense. There wasn’t nearly as much reason to come and converse. Not only that, but the quality of skeptic/atheistic commenting has diminished greatly; either that or it’s always been this poor, and my patience with it has worn out.
I’ve told would-be bloggers, “Whatever you do, write something you enjoy writing about!” I’m doing that at The Stream almost every day, and loving it! But I’m also finding new excitement in the Spiritual Readiness Project. It’s a team effort, which like The Stream is a welcome break from years of solo blogging. And I’m choosing the venues I think will matter more over the next several years.
I’ll write few more transitional posts here, since I really want you to know about the Spiritual Readiness Project. Then I will turn all my attention there, The Stream, and other writing (including a book in progress), and be done writing here.
I leave here with a lot of joy in my heart for all God has allowed me to do and to experience here. I say this with love in my heart, and great appreciation: Thank you all for reading, sharing, commenting, and making my life richer through it.
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