Wednesday, September 01, 2021

State o’ the Blog 2021

It’s been almost two years since I did one of these “status” posts. Oops.

On some fronts a great deal has happened. I entered my seventh decade, for one, which helps explain why so many much-loved friends and family members have left us in the last two years, temporarily at least, and are now enjoying the presence of the Lord (to date, none due to COVID). My children seem to be at completely different stages of life than they were two years ago. That is reason to rejoice in nearly every respect. Atmospherically and functionally, my workplace is a completely different beast than it was two years ago. That is both good and bad for the company, but it is certainly fun for me.

On other fronts, mostly due to the lockdowns and changes to society, it seems like we have been in some kind of holding pattern for a year and a half. I have gotten used to trying to smile with my eyes. (Not sure how effective it is.) I have gotten used to eating many more meals at home or out on the street, often in bad weather. (I like restaurants. Sue me.) I have not gotten used to Zoom, but clearly many Christians love it, and it ain’t going away anytime soon. I have gotten used to fewer visits with extended family. Hate that.

As for the blog, a quick glance at our pageview numbers for 2021 to date tells me we are down 8% from last year at this time, but up 30% from the same period in 2019, which is about what I would expect in our ninth year of operation, when there are comparatively few surprises to be had here, as well as a great deal more online reading material to compete with than when we started CU in 2013. We will never crack the Christian Top 100, but we have plenty of good company in that department. We are grateful for everyone who stops by, and especially for those who do so regularly. Your comments, good, bad or ugly, are enthusiastically reviewed, almost invariably published, occasionally responded to, and always very much appreciated.

If you do browse here daily or weekly, you will have noticed that our format has become fairly predictable in certain respects:

Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday are still basically “anything goes”. You may get exposition of scripture, a polemic, musings on the current state of the church, a study of a Greek or Hebrew term, politico-social commentary, critical analysis of other commentators or just about anything else that happens to be on the writer’s mind at the time, usually me.

Monday is Anonymous Asks, currently at episode 160. I am thinking of replacing it with another ongoing regular feature if I can come up with a subject I feel like writing about weekly. The upside of dealing with other people’s questions is the variety; the downside is that we get so few real questions from readers these days. It seems a bit superfluous to handle queries plucked from other websites, even if we might answer them a little differently here.

Thursday is IC day. Immanuel Can is not getting around to writing quite as often these days, but still produced twenty new posts or so for us last year. When we haven’t got anything new from him to share, we recycle his more popular posts from years past.

Friday remains Too Hot to Handle day, though my exchanges with IC (and occasionally Bernie) are also too-frequently recycled at the moment. Overall, this is probably our most popular ongoing feature.

Finally, Saturday is serial exposition day. I became convinced consecutive exposition is awfully good practice several years back. Since then, the last day of each week here has, in order, played host to How Not to Crash and Burn, a 75-part study of Proverbs; Time and Chance, a 55-part study of Ecclesiastes; and, most recently, Mining the Minors, which to date includes a 19-part study of Jonah and a 31-part (ongoing) study of Amos.

We still post something every single morning around 12:30 a.m. Most weeks at least five of these posts are brand new. Other than AA, I cannot picture changing too much in the near future.

What can we expect from our world in the coming months? Who knows. As for the church, I was reading this morning in Luke 8, where Jesus is welcomed, waited for and sought after — except in the country of the Gerasenes, where he has a drastic effect on the local economy, and is politely asked to depart. I suspect a similar, fearful spirit is currently at work in our churches. We are all happy to have a little light entertainment or the occasional spiritual experience that makes us feel more connected to God. But really allowing the Son of God into any situation has a tendency to produce unpredictable results. To whatever degree Jesus is truly recognized as Lord, the consequent upheaval — financial, organizational and otherwise — in our lives and churches is as unsettling as it is exhilarating. We are living at a time and place when the demands of Christ are testing the limits of our spiritual comfort zone, and many Christians don’t quite know how to handle that.

Pro tip: just don’t ask him to leave.

Love in Christ,


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