For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die. - Ecclesiastes 3:1
It’s time. This will be my last blog post on “Methodist Finding God.” Born two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, this blog seems to end appropriately enough the day after Thanksgiving, 2013. Although it’s not a religious holiday, Thanksgiving seems to encompass what is important to me in life: family and home, faith and church, friends and good work to do, and beauty, especially in nature.
I’ve been feeling I should end this blog for awhile but wanted some way of preserving what is essentially a two-year journal. Then I discovered I could have the blog made into a hard-bound book (one copy, for me). The process is on-line, easy, and affordable. Once I receive the book, I likely will dismantle the blog.
I have learned two big things through this process of reflection and writing:
(1) Finding God is a spiritual practice. We all could stand to do more of it.
(2) It’s quite easy to not find God, particularly when viewing critically some of the emphases, practices, and claims of my own denomination and churches.
“Methodist Finding God” has had almost 16,000 hits, which is not all that many for a two-year-old blog. My son, Eric, tells me a blogger hasn’t “arrived” until she attracts at least one Internet troll -- a mean reader who heckles her. Fortunately, I never did.
The most-viewed blog entries -- by far -- were posts that criticized the contemporary language used by the leadership of The United Methodist Church: http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/06/huddle-muddle.html and http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/03/sick-of-tsunamis.html. I’m fascinated by this because neither one garnered any comments, other than a few posted on Facebook. Clearly, they were passed around but never inspired or aggravated anyone enough to comment.
One of my posts got picked up by the blog of popular religious writer Rachel Held Evans, and got a lot of pageviews: http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/06/of-religious-watch-dogs-and-rules.html. Another was used by the Spirited Life blog at Duke: http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/10/adventures-in-prayer.html; and another on a web site promoting Election Day Communion: http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/11/one-bread-one-body.html. One post that got passed around, laughed about, and commented on (to me, in person) was about killing the black snake:
Because Blogger software allows you to track hits, I know that a lot of people found this blog through typing key words into search engines. The two posts that gathered the most hits through search engines were about overcoming an addiction to the over-the-counter nose spray:
http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/08/afrin-addiction-broken.html, and a post I wrote about blackberry cobbler, of all things: http://methodistfindinggod.blogspot.com/2012/06/pass-blackberry-cobbler-please.html
Initially, when I had the idea for a blog, I asked a few clergy colleagues to read several potential posts, and the responses varied widely. Some were encouraging; others, not so much. One fellow pastor said flat-out it was a bad idea; she said the blog would only hurt and anger people. If I have hurt or angered anyone, I never found out about it. In fact, I have been surprised and slightly disappointed that only a very few church members seem to read the blog. This may say more about the older age and rural location of church members than it says about my writing. Or maybe not (smile).
This may not be the end of blogging, for me. But if continue to blog, it will have a different format and theme. So, as Thanksgiving 2013 passes on by, I thank God for my manifold blessings: Savior, family, friends, church, call, good work to do, beauty, love, and for YOU, gentle reader.