Monday, August 13, 2018

Tom Doesn’t Take a Breather

Once in a blue moon one of our readers (usually the ones who don’t know our writers in the real world) expresses the desire that we write something a little more personal. The closest I probably ever get to that are these annual “state of the blog” posts to notify you all that I’m going on vacation and you’re about to be bombarded with a bunch of recycled posts for two weeks.

Not all that personal, really, I suppose. Also, we’re not about to bombard you with ten straight oldies this year ...

This year, it’s going to be kind of a mix. I’m only hitting the road for five days, so this coming week will be a combination of old and new.

Monitoring Traffic

Recently Bernie started monitoring our traffic with something a little more reliable and granular than Blogger’s base stats package, so I can report with some degree of accuracy that you are one of between 65 and 75 current regular readers (between RSS feeds, email delivery and the website) who show up at varying intervals to see what we’re up to. Some appear once a week to read a bunch of posts at a time, while others prefer daily email delivery or browsing a content aggregator. Lots of other folks cruise by, of course (the inflated numbers on our site visit counter bear that out), but considering the strange places some of them have just been (yes, sadly, we can see that), I’m not all that surprised when they are indisposed to hang around long once they figure out where they’ve landed.

So first, regular readers, thank you muchly for your patronage. We are all immensely grateful to have you swing by, regardless of how often that may occur. Those numbers (65-75) are not trivial to us. All three of our regular writers have preached to groups of ten or fewer on multiple occasions, one or two of whom may have been completely unconscious. More often, though, we have taught groups just about the size of our daily readership; the difference being that many of those in such gatherings were “attending church” out of habit or of necessity, rather than making a personal choice to read something they thought might be interesting or helpful in some way. If these numbers do not warrant our continued, enthusiastic online involvement, then on the same basis the Sunday morning meetings of many local churches are equally suspect.

But they do. We thank the Lord for you all, especially those who have contacted us to express support and encouragement, and those who have offered substantive critiques of what we write here. Both are necessary and valuable.

All Over the Map

This is probably one of the most esoteric Christian websites in existence, and I fully recognize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes my tone or views irk people, though I certainly don’t plan that. Trust me, I’m probably much more irritating in person; you are getting the heavily edited version here. Sometimes what I’m writing about is wildly obscure, or inadvertently targets that infinitesimally tiny demographic: people exactly like me.

Partly the topical variety is a function of available time. When I am studying a particular book or subject, of necessity I end up writing about it, not just because that’s where my current interest lies, but because there are only 24 hours in a day, even if I only sleep for approximately four of them.

My father has asked me more than once, “Who exactly are you writing FOR?” Great question, but after five years I still couldn’t tell you. I think the answer is probably, “For whoever shows up.”

For Whoever Shows Up

I can’t speak for Bernie or IC, but what you get from me is (mostly) whatever I’m working my way through in scripture on a daily basis, plus whatever pops into my head when I’m out for my morning walk, plus my occasional stupefied reaction to something insane I encounter on the internet or in the Christian world around us, plus whatever serial posts I am currently writing. That’s not exactly a thematically consistent selection, and it does not surprise me if those who are interested in chewing through a bunch of obscure Hebrew words with me are not the same people interested in the occasional bit of social commentary or a detailed examination of the Apocrypha.

So, yeah, we’re all over the map topically. That will probably not change soon. The good news is that if you have a particular subject or book of the Bible you’d like to go through methodically, and we have not managed to touch upon it here, there has never been a better time in history to find information freely available on the subject. There is a Christian blog for just about everything these days, many of them pretty spiritually solid, and a wealth of Bible resources such as has never previously existed.

The other good news is that if you have a suggestion for a book or topic, we are totally open to considering it.

Avoiding the Gatekeepers

A second and more significant reason we continue to be a relatively small regular group is our complete lack of interest in social media. We have never much liked self-promotion, and none of our regular writers are fans of the current social media scene. As Adam Ford of Christian Daily Reporter has well put it, Facebook, Twitter, Google and the other social media gatekeepers are in the process of “gobbling up the internet”. If all you ever read online are things other Christians link to via social media, you are part of the problem (I suspect I am preaching to the converted here). That habit, which the gatekeepers are delighted to encourage, could eventually kill all but the biggest, most politically acceptable websites. We are not that, so your word-of-mouth is priceless to us. Other than the blind luck of Google-fu or the direct work of the Holy Spirit, word-of-mouth is the only way we will grow our numbers. Or, assuming you have read anything here that you think might be more generally useful, you are welcome to flog us on social media if you like. We don’t mind that, even if we’re unlikely to make a habit of it ourselves.

The upside of staying mostly off the radar of the Silicon Valley crowd is that we are currently not subject to the censorship of PC ideologues, either directly or indirectly. If that changes, you will be the first to know.

So thanks once again to every one of you for your interest and fellowship in the things concerning Christ, and thanks most of all to the Lord Jesus, who is not only utterly inexhaustible but the only subject in this universe genuinely worth writing about every day of my life.

Every single one.

On behalf of the CU staff, IC and Bernie, love in Christ,



  1. Your site and posts have been and continue to be a blessing. Thank you for taking the time to encourage, challenge, teach, and strengthen the Body. Keep on keeping on and enjoy the break! 2 Cor 4:7-16

    1. Thanks David. It went all too quickly, but provided plenty of food for thought, and lots of quality fellowship.

  2. I'm a regular visitor of this site and I really enjoy the content that you create. Thank you. Keep up the good work!