Why I blog

Be sure to see the comments, below.

The group of Unitarian Universalist bloggers on Facebook have been meditating on a common questions, one of which is “why do you blog?”

Some of the reasons I blog are predictable: to muse aloud, to keep notes for later use or to promote something-or-other. It is not a systematic work, and its focus has changed over time.

I started blogging because of an aphorism about Universalist newspapers: one I came across when I was writing my unfinished thesis on antebellum Universalist history in the South. He — John C. Burruss, I think — wrote and edited his newspaper because the printed word would go where “the living evangel” could not go, and it would survive after he was long dead. Both assertions proved true. And it was the bit of folk wisdom I learned from a living minister: that if you wrote and published, anything would be forgiven you. I hope I’ve never done anything in such a need of such overwhelming forgiveness, but it’s clear, in Unitarian Universalist circles, where the power is. Public writing is important.

But more recently I’ve decided on another reason to blog. It’s far more effective to blog your little bit, and hope that it’s effective in some small way, then to be lost in bureaucratic committees. I read the agenda and minutes of the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees with a mixture of sadness and pity. So much work, so much responsibility, so much process, so little return.

Blogging, and by extension, shared or distributed, self-initiated online work seem to be better use of my little time.

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 45, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

5 thoughts on “Why I blog

  1. What a great context in which to launch my latest UU blog, this time as affiliated minister with the UU Women’s Federation. I chose to focus on a blog to be in conversation ( however imaginary) with the thousands of women in our movement who identity as such ( women) and consider their gender to be one of the ways in which they wish to connect with each other and the larger community.
    Public writing is important you said Scott… I would love more unpacking.

  2. Briefly, another aphorism; I don’t recall if this came from the Universalists or the Disciples of Christ, but the point is the same: “We don’t have bishops, we have editors.”

    Public writing is an assumption of authority is a system when official authority is mistrusted or subverted. Good, convincing writing sets agendas, shapes perceptions and advocates for particular actions. It stands for itself, needing no elected office, nor working group (how rare the group think-piece that’s more convincing than a good sermon or monograph) nor (the Internet’s contribution) budget. And yet it can also influence all of these in legacy institutions.

    In particular, blogging, as a tool for policy and ministry, is disruptively populist, and can be powerful in proprotion to the offort. Unlike Facebook, it isn’t walled or packaged to be sold. (Under its new algorithm, your friends may not see your posts.) Unlike Twitter (which has its place), it isn’t arbitrarily truncated. Blogging should not be under-estimated.

  3. I think one of the reasons I did not persist at my blog, was because I was not clear about my purpose for blogging. It was simply a then new technology that I played with. As traditional religious magazines fade, I may need to reconsider where I write. Since it is in magazines that I’ve done most of my public writing. How 20th Century of me? But I do have retrograde tendencies.

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