Lenten reflection - transcendental blogging
It is strange to think that from very humble beginnings in 2006 (two or three visitors a day), this blog now has been read by more than five million people from almost every country in the world. Over the past six months alone, at one end 322,218 have visited from the UK and 61,520 from the US; at the other end, 184 have come from the Holy See; one from Somalia, and another from Burundi.
The UK breakdown is itself interesting: Westminster leads with 56,944; Walsall and Orkney had just one solitary reader. Two have visited from Limavady, but His Grace doesn't know where that is. Bless you, anyway.
The citations and commendations in the sidebar give a potted history of highlights over the years, from Guido Fawkes' initial swipe, to early plaudits from Blogfather Iain Dale, an award from ConservativeHome, and sundry honours and insults from the great and the good. It has been both trauma and a lot of fun: some posts have been reviled; others have circled the earth in a few hours to very great acclaim. Some have taken hours of crafting, to little effect; others just five minutes, with expansive reach and seemingly profound effect. His Grace's 'appearance' on BBC Question Time was a particular highlight. But it brought nowhere near as much joy as raising £2,400 for Barber Biber.
In this ever-secularising, moral-relativising age, we have together sought spiritual truth and theological meaning. Some chat threads develop into masterful dialogues of profound theo-political insight and philosophy; others fall by the wayside. This blog would be nothing without its readers and regular communicants, and, although some of you occasionally irritate beyond what would be polite to say, you have become family in His Grace's cyber-cathedral; you are loved and appreciated. When one leaves or dies to face judgment, we grieve (currently with 322 comments). Whether you believe or not, there is a polite acceptance that this blog is Christian and tries to glorify the name of Christ. Yet atheists and secularists visit, read and discuss. It is unashamedly Church of England, yet Roman Catholics abound. Whether you agree or not, there is a qualified recognition that it inclines toward a conservative view of the world, if not always Conservative, and so we argue and agree to disagree, just like the House of Bishops.
Together we have tried to make sense of the divine, wade through socio-political chaos, and mutter truth to power. For some, this has been an enlightening labour of love; for others it has been fanaticism, injustice and bigotry.
What His Grace has learned is that this age has dispensed with its guardians of truth and judges of morality, for all values are now subordinate to individual subjective whim: those who contend against the fashionable truth of another - even though it be founded upon a lie - transgress the objective truths of cultural and moral relativism, which have become immutable dogma and infallible doctrine. Such is the 'postmodern' spirit of the age.
This blog is flagging and dated: not, His Grace hopes, in content, but certainly in format. If the medium is the message, the transcendental dimension of this mission is labouring under the weight of otiose technology. Other bloggers are extending their borders and surpassing His Grace not so much because they expound greater insight or better truth, but because they have adopted a higher-tech vernacular.
Lent is not only the time to sacrifice and discipline; it is the time for reflection and self-reflection. If His Grace is to continue devoting so much energy to theological lectures, political homilies and musings of fellowship, this blog must fall into the ground and die. Only then can it bring forth more fruit.
WordPress calls, as does Disqus comment capability with enhanced Twitter and Facebook interface. There might even be an app. Eight years is a long time in technological terms, and redesign has become an imperative.
These things cost: His Grace has no millionaire shareholders or benevolent philanthroposits.
If every visitor today were to donate just £1 to His Grace's Collection Plate, that would do it. But it doesn't work like that, for everyone almost without exception inclines toward the belief that content should be free. And (unlike the Times and Telegraph and ever-extending MSM paywalls), it remains so. For those who are interested, the advertising banners pay for His Grace's Christmas turkey. But since they appeared, offerings to His Grace's Collection Plate have diminished greatly. Perhaps it is time to depart MessageSpace. His Grace shall ponder over Lent.
If the labourer is worthy of his wages, the blogger must at least be worthy of a few quid to upgrade, revamp and overhaul. Otherwise the steeple will fall to ruin, and this pulpit succumb to the worm that dieth not.
Bless you all.