writing

10 Years of Blogging!

10 Years of Blogging!

Ten years ago I started this little known project called blogging. Before that I used Geocities. Not many of you have heard of Geocities. It was the 90’s webpage builder. Yahoo shut down Geocities’ U.S. service back in 2009. Now, it is just a distant memory. Back in 2004, as I was starting my time at RTS/Orlando, I deleted my Geocities page and started a blog using blogspot. In 2006,  I transferred all my data to a free wordpress account. In 2013, I bought my own domain, uribrito.com.

Today marks my ten year blogging anniversary!  No cake. No party. Just a reminder that I have been writing for a long time. When I started in 2004 few people knew about blogging. A small social networking service launched in February 2004 known as Facebook had only recently made its debut. And from what I remember, it was meant only for Harvard students at the time. Now, as of the 3rd of October 2013, there were 500 million people with a Facebook account. Much of today’s blogging has been replaced by Facebook status updates and links to other websites. I even heard someone recently tell me that they get all their major links to news reports from Facebook. Still, my perspective has been that blogging provides a valuable resource to express fuller thoughts and also the opportunity to be more precise in your argument and thought. a

I have posted almost 4,000 posts in these last ten years. Here are five lessons I have learned:

First, writing is hard. Sitting down to write something that is more than the mere fluff you get in most places can be rather challenging. This is one reason thousands and thousands of people have blog pages that have been untouched in years. Blogging demands perseverance.

Second, blogging can get you in trouble. In the height of my zealous years as a seminarian, I thrived in writing about controversial topics. Sometimes they were so controversial that it attracted the attention of well-known scholars who would chastise me for such foolishness. I took their critiques as validation of what I was saying. I should have listened to them, but instead I was more concerned with the number of hits my post had.

Third, the best writing I’ve done has been peer-reviewed. I do not consider myself a great writer, but I have lots of ideas. I am well-read and have two degrees in theology. All that is proof that I should have a few things to say that are at least appealing to some. But, though one may have good ideas to discuss, he needs to express those ideas is readable and grammatically accurate way. Nothing is more distressing to readers than sloppy writing. It hinders good ideas from being communicated powerfully and effectively. As a result, I have developed a two-step process for publishing pieces over 1,000 words. First, I edit and re-edit my work. Secondly, I send it to two friends who have some gifts in the art of writing. After they send me back their thoughts, only then do I publish my material. This has proven to be highly successful. As as result I have edited a book, written another, and have published articles in well-known Christian websites. In summary, writing is communal. b

Fourth, writing is public. One of the main reasons I write is for the sake of others. Everything I write is so that others may find interest or help in something I am engaged in. I find the idea of reading or writing for self-pleasure difficult to understand. Of course, like anything, most initial forays into writing need to be kept away from the reading public until they reach a level of maturation. But there is also great pleasure in allowing others to enter into my reading and writing journey. Blogging has allowed me to invite others into my life.

Finally, blogging can lead to humility. I know certain bloggers use their writing as platform for their arrogant rants and vitriol. In my case, even with all the help I have received, I still make remarkable mistakes in my writing. And I am quite aware of that. In my mind, my ideas come out harmoniously, but when others read them, they lack the coherence I thought they had. c Those who have left comments over the years have encouraged me greatly to improve my communication in writing. Instead of reacting as  if they have no sense of what they are talking about, I am always seeking to first consider my intentions for writing, how to better communicate my writing, and how to honor those who have taken the time to read my blog when there are millions more they could have been reading. So, thanks to all my readers. You are not many, but you have humbled me in many ways.

Here’s to another ten years!

  1. and it has that little feature called a “footnote”  (back)
  2. I have also applied this method to all my sermon writing  (back)
  3. see #4  (back)

Authorship Thoughts

Over the years both in undergraduate and graduate studies I have been exposed to a host of New Testament authorship issues. I have been bombarded with alternative authorship theories on every New Testament book. From Mark to Paul, everything has been questioned. Yet the more I ponder this issue the more confidence I have in the historical designation of these books. It may perhaps be my naive trust in the labors of our forefathers, but when I consider the 18th and 19th century motives of scholars on books like Philippians, it seems clear that their motives are not shaped by divine authorship as much as the latest critical consensus.

My thoughts on Hebrews are pretty clear, and I am willing to concede some healthy debate on the matter, but to begin to deny the authorship of Paul on what has long been considered Pauline authorship books is rather futile.

Beyond that, we believe that the Spirit of God inspired these men to write. Though their humanity is not absent in their writings, though their personalities show forth, yet they are being led by the Third Person of the Trinity. The Spirit of God can re-direct certain authors to alter their style of writing to fit particular circumstances and to minister to particular groups of people.

It also appears that in order to maintain so called objectivity and scholarship, some thinkers direct their attention away from the obvious author in order to scrutinize the book through the lens of critical scholarship. This tactic seems unhelpful and only adds confusion to the authorship question. Questions like: “Would Paul really write like this,” only accentuate the problem. The real question should be: “Our forefathers have largely accepted Pauline authorship, and if this is the case, though this language may not appear to be as consistent with other Pauline writings, could the Spirit direct this genius named Paul to write in such a way?” When such questions are asked, I believe the answer will be clearer. I am not asserting that there has always consensus in the past (Hebrews as an example), but that the majority position was generally clear (with minor exceptions).

The principle seems clear: when in doubt stick with the most obvious answer and that which has been historically prevalent.