Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Just because I need to tell someone – today is this blog's fifth birthday!

Gee, back in June 2004, the world sure was a different place. It sounds incredible now, but I typed my very first post in DOS, on a huge green ATARI TV, and saved it onto a 12" reel of tape that weighed about the same as two double-decker buses.

And then I checked my messages on PIXELBOOK. (or as it was more commonly known, 749352665. Ahh, telephone-emails, whatever happened to those?)

In fact, I guess I could go on and on and on about how much the world has changed in the last five years, how much my life has changed in the last five years, and, shucks, here's to the next five, but naw.

It might be more appropriate to consider just one question though, which is how has five years of blogging affected my life?

To answer that, it might be worth comparing why I started blogging, with why I still do it.

I started blogging because, basically, I like to write. Sure, there were other reasons, but I think that's the one that really hooked me.

So, why do I still post today?

Recently, in the comments of this post over on Brett's blog, I found myself answering the exact same question with the following:

I blog for several reasons...

1. It's my way of sharing my day with someone.

2. It's a terrific memory aid, because I get to sort out what I've done. At the end of 2003 I sat down and made a list of all the things I could remember having done that year, so that I could thank God for them. I thought it might come to maybe 20 things. I gave up after 100. That's about 80 experiences that I hadn't really retained afterwards. Blogging prompts me to process and think about things afterwards, rather than just dismiss them. It's a discipline.

3. I learn how to express my opinions. I've always been something of a nodder and a smiler, so it's a good opportunity practise expressing myself, figure out why I believe what I believe, and remember it better. I also learn to respect other people's viewpoints better. Sometimes I've gone to repost some stuff I've said in an email, but had to tone it down first. Othertimes in conversation I've found myself talking very concisely on a subject, because I'd earlier written about it on my blog.

In some ways, it's actually more personal to blog. You can open up without the immediacy of someone criticising you to your face in the next second. In the event that they comment negatively, I have time to reflect before replying.

4. Because I'm still six
(now three!) weeks behind, and years ago I said that I would catch-up. So I will. Hey – I was 9-10 months behind!

5. Thanks to search-engines, about 50 more people a day discover that a Christian is interested in the same subject as them. Last year I wrote a post on reading the Bible in 40 days, which seems to get read by someone about once a day now. So I went back and touched it up to make it more encouraging.

6. As Rhett says, it helps me figure out who I am. It is a hobby, and a scrapbook, and I keep it for myself. But it wouldn't be worth doing if noone else read it. Where would be the fun, or confidence-building, in that?

So, basically, today it's all about me.

Which is something of a contrast to when I started and I made the whole site very much about God.

Today in my Bible reading – chapters 7-12 of 1 Chronicles in the God's Word translation, the daily prayer point in the sidebar coincidentally says the following:

When you succeed
in a project at
work or school,
praise God for the
success rather
than assuming that
you accomplished
it because of your
own intelligence or

Is it fuzzier than that?

I have been tapping away at keyboards on both sides of the globe for five years now, often in the wrong order, and usually in some sort of retrospect. While I can obviously see a lot of me in that, I like to suppose that I also perceive something of God in it. Maybe there is a lot more of God than I realise, or maybe a lot less.

I do pray for God's will before composing all of this stuff, but while I find that makes writing much, much easier, I'm not sure that God wants to be thought of as responsible for much, if not all, of this. Just look at some of my more negative Doctor Who reviews - God sure doesn't seem to have been that involved in writing some of those.

So if I credit the whole achievement to God, then that includes blaming him for all my bad writing. If I say it's all mine, then I might, if God has been involved, be putting myself in God's place.

As I've said before, I like to think that God does stuff together with us. I think the best I can do is to credit the good stuff to God, and take the blame for the bad stuff myself. As for which is which, I'd better not make any firm decisions.

Perhaps breaking its contents up into its component parts is a false dichotomy in the first place. Maybe I should just acknowledge that I have attempted to follow God throughout writing all this, and just leave it at that.

However, while I continue to ask God to lead everything in my life, as I did when I started this blog, I don't ever want to lose sight of how lamely I follow him.

Already Celebrating Blogging
Fig. 1: In Auckland Central Backpackers in April 2005, looking forward to toasting this blog's 5th anniversary in four-and-a-bit years' time.


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