Self Indulgent 100th Post, Or You Can’t Know Yourself Until You Live For a While

This is my 100th post on Charlie’s Church of Christ (note: there is a point to this, but if you’re not interesting in finding it, please take the super quick survey at the end).

I know you're about as excited as this guy it's my 100th post.

I am bit stunned I’ve taken it this far. As I noted in the about section, this blog actually started four years ago (Ang, who sometimes comments, was around for that – holla!) though I only wrote three posts before I lost steam. I think this is how every blogging career starts. I was in the midst of a 5 month road trip in my van, camping in the woods or parking lots and touring national parks – the stability just wasn’t there for a regular blog.

Though I resurrected the blog in July, I had been planning it for a year prior. I finally pulled the trigger, strangely, right after my daughter was born. There was some sort of logic behind it, though it escapes me now.

Now that I’ve had 100 posts to figure out what my aim is for this blog, I’d like to offer some reflections and/or clarifications.

I don’t know what you think of me. I worry sometimes I come across as a cynic or a crtiic. In my Oregon life I’m a pretty positive and light-hearted guy. Here as a writer who’s tone and inflection you imagine in your head, all my rantings about how some sore spots in the church may portray me as a critic who expects utmost perfection and who points his finger when he’s surprised to find out that not everyone has performed flawlessly.

It’s definitely true I take a very critical eye to the collective church. And maybe you’ve heard this argument before, but the very act of picking apart the church and pruning it is an act of love. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t write. If I didn’t think the church had potential to turn it around, I wouldn’t write. As I’ve noted, I try not to analyze and criticize events and mistakes made, because, quite simply, they’ve already happened. So I’m not writing just to kick the church while it’s down.

I’m not a teacher. I don’t claim to be. I’ve “preached” once, half a decade ago. I think of myself as more of an observer, who keeps one foot in the church door and one out, so I can keep the pulse of both places.

May it be known that I don’t write as a teacher. Instead I break down things to their essence. I love Jesus and his creation and his church and I want to see it raw and real and not all puffed up and flashy, I want to see it do what it was made to do with out any extra fluffly stuff dangling off the sides.

And as cliche as this is, I want to thank you. Like for real for real. I’m honored that you read, and I’m even more honored that you write in response. Last week when I read through the comments in reply to my membership blog, I was so proud of how thoughtful and balanced you all were. So truly, thank you for reading.

And now for some good ole fashioned reader feedback! If you would please answer any of these questions that you please in some form in the comments section:

  1. What do think about the length of an average blog I write? Are they too long? (Note: I have trimmed my blogs back to usually 500 words or less, which is under the standard recommendations for blogs, but they still seem long to me. So don’t worry about hurting my feelings here.)
  2. Do you have any observations or improvements to make about my writing style?
  3. When deconstructing or critiquing, am I fair and somewhat balanced?
  4. How is my grammar?
  5. Any suggestions? (New blog layout because it’s boring, or any other kind of idea content-related or not)
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23 Responses to Self Indulgent 100th Post, Or You Can’t Know Yourself Until You Live For a While

  1. Oh goodie goodie goodie, I am first! πŸ™‚ Congrats on your anniversary Charlie. Funny how just a few months ago I had never heard of you and now I find myself looking forward to critiquing, I mean reading, your blog. Seriously, I think whatever a person wants his/her blog to be should be up to them. I read all kinds. Some I agree with. Some I disagree with (even vehemently). Some I look forward to with anticipation of what will be said. Some you almost know. Yours is one I look forward to. I do not always agree (but who does with mine?), but I know I will be challenged. I like the length (maybe because I write longer posts and don’t feel so badly then). It is easy on the eyes. Only thing I wonder about is the wall at the top. Wondering its purpose. Oh, I know…to show the church is a building! With that I will say sayonara. Keep up the good work Charlie. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Bill – I appreciate your comments always. The banner is supposed to look like a Church of Christ sign outside of a church building and it looks like I took over and slapped my name on it. I’m not even entirely sure what it means, it just seemed funny a year ago.

  2. Su says:

    I think the length of your blog posts is great (says she who will ramble on for pages).

    I’ve never noticed any grammar issues, and those tend to jump out at me, so I’d say you’re in the clear.

    As for the rest… no, there’s never been a time that I though, “Geez, this guy is off his rocker”, so again, you’re probably okay. My “off his rocker” borders are actually pretty narrow. πŸ™‚

  3. 1 – Your blogs are pretty good length, most of the time. Depends on the subject and my mood. You have something to say and do it as succintly as possible, in an effort to do justice to the subject while still respecting my time. That’s good.
    2 – You write in a way that is very readable to me, and that’s part of what brings me here. Your style feels genuine and personal.
    3 – You don’t have to always be fair and balanced. It’s okay to state your opinions and beliefs. You don’t have to be the platform for both sides.
    4 – Grammar is invisible so that must be good.
    5 – I read your posts by email and don’t care what the site looks like. But it’s not as cool as some layouts, just to be honest.

  4. Jeff says:

    1. Length is fine… most are too long. you get to the point. I like that
    2.your style is your style…..be yourself
    3.fair and balanced? You have an angle I like.
    4. I am not an English teacher. Your grammar is ok with me. I like Mark Twain and his grammar was probably not good to my English teachers.
    5. I don’t care too much about graphics. I do like frogs and ducks if you can work that in.

  5. Chris says:

    Congratulations Charlie, you’re doing a fine job!

    I don’t think your posts are too long. They are a nice digestible size actually. I think my replies are probably actually way too long ;-).
    Your writing style is also fine. I think it says who you are. Casual, but not lazy. Thought-provoking, but not provocative in a snarky or mean way.
    I must admit it took me a little time to figure out you weren’t critiquing just to critique, or to pick on people. That is the easiest thing to do. Whenever I hear constant criticism sometimes it can just sound like whining. I think of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote about the critics in our culture.

    http://thinkexist.com/quotation/it_is_not_the_critic_who_counts-not_the_man_who/12121.html

    But I must say I was wrong and I think your critique generally comes from a good place. I wouldn’t say that of everyone I read in the blogosphere. The ones that think of themselves as the self-appointed “church proctologists .”

    When you ask if you are fair and balanced that’s a little tougher. You have opinions which is fine. When I first happened onto your blog I thought that you were perpetuating some very unkind stereotypes. I could well be wrong but I think because your church experiences were limited to a kind of fairly fundamental strand of evangelicalism it seemed to you that this is what the world consisted of. You haven’t had enough exposure, probably because of youth (which I’m not denigrating), to what some people might think of as good churches, and they are out there. Good doesn’t mean perfect. But in many, many cases people, or what some like to caricature as “church people” are simply trying their level best to do God’s will, without fanfare, albeit imperfectly. At times it could sound a tad graceless and the people that I had in my mind when I think of church (even churches I had left because of serious disagreements) just didn’t deserve either harsh criticism I was hearing or being the butt of jokes.
    But we all live and learn, and your experiences were/are very real and can’t be discounted, so allow me to show the same grace to you in my criticisms that I would hope you’d give to others in yours.

    Your grammar for the most part is fine. Mine is not perfect but I work at it. Every once in a while I see a misused word, can’t recall offhand but if I see one I’ll mention it next time, but truly it’s not a big deal.

    One book I recently saw recommended that you might like was “How to Write A Sentence” by Stanley Fish. Interestingly, this book was suggested on a blog by what you might call a “watchdog of orthodoxy” who has a lot of problems with the postmodern church movement known as the EC. Fish is postmodern to the core, but the book was highly recommended to anyone aspiring to write.
    The only other suggestion I might have is just once in a great while, say something good about the church and its people. It can’t be all bad can it?

    Come on, throw me a bone. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Chris! I do appreciate hearing that from you. I can tell at first you were feeling me out, your comments definitely played devil’s advocate with me, which isn’t a bad thing. I don’t need a choir telling me everything I’m doing is okay.

      You are right that my experiences are fairly limited, and only time can really change that one. I’ll start going to my local mosque so I can have a wider range πŸ™‚

      thanks for the recommendation, I’ve had a natural writing knack that I lost and am slowly gaining back. i tend to not take advice – for instance I taught myself guitar but it ended up taking me six years to learn stuff I could have gotten down in two had I simply had lessons – so maybe I’ll actually have a look at the book and save myself some bad mistakes.

      And I will take to heart writing something good about the church – I can’t think of anything right now but that is more indicative of exhaustion then a lack of nice things to say πŸ™‚

    • David says:

      Self-appointed β€œchurch proctologists .” LOL Another kumbaya moment!

  6. David says:

    Awesome, the 3 figure anniversary, congratulations!

    -1 What do think about the length of an average blog I write? Are they too long? (Note: I have trimmed my blogs back to usually 500 words or less, which is under the standard recommendations for blogs, but they still seem long to me. So don’t worry about hurting my feelings here.)

    If they are interesting, the length is fine. I always read them anyway πŸ™‚ – though on rare occasions I have skipped a few paragraphs. Nothing to worry about. If you look back you’ll see that I have commented on every blog you’ve written.

    -2 Do you have any observations or improvements to make about my writing style?

    No, it’s fine – occasionally it rambles a little, but that is part of the “now” of blogging. It’s hard to have new topics 3 or 4 times a week!

    -3 When deconstructing or critiquing, am I fair and somewhat balanced?
    Balanced, not really – you have a very specific theological groove, and as noted some limited experience. I think your heart is totally in the right place and you intend to be fair (not malicious like MPT) – even searching at times – that’s why I read CCC.

    I think you could be more fair if you read the books I suggested. πŸ˜‰

    -4 How is my grammar?

    I don’t know anything about grammar, I failed English 9 out of 12 years in school, and it is the reason I received 3.83 in college. 😦

    -5 Any suggestions? (New blog layout because it’s boring, or any other kind of idea content-related or not)

    – If you use videos, I can’t view them in email or the blog reader, maybe a brief explanation about what is going in – especially if it is the main topic.
    – For someone like you, I think it would be fun if you visited some other churches, and then wrote about your experiences. I know you have a current fellowship, and past set of experiences, but I think you’d probably enjoy the experience. I was going to go to 26 churches in 52 weeks – but too many responsibilities.
    – KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK. I only read 3 or 4 blogs a week, and this and TCoNP are my favorites.

    And God bless you, man!

  7. Larry Hughes says:

    Well I don’t know. I find your blogs thought provoking. Grammar, I think is ok. Better than mine. Some times it takes a long blog to get a point across and other times maybe not.

    Critical? No but just inquisitive and seeking answers. The one thing that I like is you do reply to a blogger. Nothing irritates me more than not getting a response when I post on a blogger’s site. Guess that is a carry over from the NASCAR blog sites.

    • thanks Larry, I try to comment on them all which could come across as overbearing, but for me if I don’t comment it seems rude. Not to mention the whole point of a blog is get people thinking, and if they’ve thought enough to comment you can’t just let that slide.

  8. Brandon says:

    Congrats Charlie! Love your insights!

  9. jay @ bethegospel says:

    Congrats man! i just passed 100 a few weeks ago!

  10. Brian says:

    Charlie,

    Congratulations. I wouldn’t change a thing, if I were you. When I read your blog, I feel you. Anyone can have blog that has a scripture verse to back all of their thoughts. I don’t see that kind of back up plan here. It’s from the heart. And if it’s true and its from the heart, there’s something living about it. (By the way, if you focus too much on grammar, you make powerful sentences that start with the word “And” and “But” ineffective. You have to write with feeling and then comes power. Keep it up. Grammar teachers take some of the most heart felt writing tools from us by telling us not to use these words at the beginning of sentences.)

    • in elementary school I heard starting a sentence with “And” was grammatically incorrect, but then sometime a few years ago I actually heard it wasn’t a bad thing. Now I use it regularly, it really does help the flow. Thanks for the comment Brian, it’s nice to be appreciated!

  11. Pingback: My Sort-Of Retraction, Or A Seven Day A Week Church Explosion! | Charlie's Church of Christ

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