Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Remember, man, that thou art dust...

Photo of Lenten procession from the archives of The New Liturgical Movement
Photo from the archives of The New Liturgical Movement

The buzz at Saint Blog's this week, at one place or another, is whether to give up blogging for Lent.

The idea behind "offering up" anything at all, is to be an exercise in self-denial, a symbolic form of suffering, so as to heighten the senses, and eventually the joy that is at suffering's end, which in this case would be the Paschal season. When you look at it that way, you begin to realize (or at least I do) that what you give up depends on where your excesses are, and how they need to be corrected. If blogging was like, oh, eating chocolate cake, I could see cutting back for awhile.

I remember a young lady who gave up her blog because she was getting married, and maintained that hers was a vocation "from which blogging detracts." She said it as though it would apply to the rest of us. Now, if she's on her third or fourth child by now, I'd say that she'd have a case for herself (if one that would cause many of Ms Welborn's readers to beg to differ). But only for herself. Most of us aren't so lucky, and so at the time I begged to differ. (Boy, did I catch hell from the button-down crowd for that one!)

And I also differ with those who invariably conclude that their weblog is only a mere indulgence of the appetites, to be denied as a form of self-mortification -- in which case, why do it at all? If one views their work as a form of apostolate, a means of witnessing to others, then what does it say when we give it up? Now, in the case of mwbh, I did shut down in late 2002, as I remember, for a pre-determined period of forty days. I was going through a bit of a rough patch back then, and definitely needed to turn inward. That's not the same as doing so on schedule every year.

There are a few blogs who can take a few months off and still keep their fan base. I'm reminded of one guy who did just that to finish a book he was writing. His latest combox continued to be filled right up until his return. I just don't see that happening here. But whether it did nor not, mwbh will continue to publish during "the acceptable time."

Far be it from me to desert my adoring public. Both of you.


Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I with you, brother. I gave up McDonald's (which I love, and is bad for me).

My blog is my ministry, and it makes me a better person, because I don't pick arguments with the people around me.

M.Z. Forrest said...

People tend to get bothered when I say blogs aren't ministry. Of course there is the sense that blogs are ministry, the same sense one's life is a ministry. My animosity toward declaring everything a ministry probably traces itself to my disdain toward one of my wife's churches calling everything and anything a ministry. One could serve in early childhood ministry, by babysitting - or is it ministering - toddlers during services.

A blog would have to be quite purposeful to enrich the blogger with chastity, temperance, generosity, zeal, patience, charity, and humility. I think it is also important that those who teach, which blogs try to do for the most part, take time to be silent. Take a week or two off. I wouldn't necessarily give up a blog for Lent. It would probably be better for one to give up offering his opinion at all on matters not under his dominion if he thought he should give up blogging for Lent.

David L Alexander said...

"A blog would have to be quite purposeful to enrich the blogger with chastity, temperance, generosity, zeal, patience, charity, and humility."

Yes, it would. Fortunately, mine is quite purposeful without the whole laundry list at one sitting. (Can zeal compensate for a lack of humility? Hmmm...) You're right about that buzz word "ministry" though. In fact, you'll notice that I consistently use the term "apostolate," since the other term is misused in its proper Catholic sense. I had more to say on this subject back in November of '05, in one of my most memorable posts ever. You can relive that momentous occasion yourself by clicking here.

Strap yourself in first.