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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

3,003,592

A gathering of bloggers Iron bound section, Newark, NJ 2012
I just checked the stats on this blog. I do that from time to time, mostly just to check which blogs are getting the most "page views". I'm also fascinated by the map that shows you the location of the origin of most of your blog viewers.

But today, just now, actually, the number off to the right caught my eye. I think I've noticed it once or twice before but I've never really paid much attention. Today, I did.

It read:
Page views all time history: 3,003,592
Wait just a minute, I thought out loud.

Is that really three MILLION, three THOUSAND, five HUNDRED and ninety-two?

Get out of TOWN and shut the front DOOR!

Curious, I scratched around a bit more. I discovered that, apparently, I've posted 3,293 essays on my blog. Well, with this one, that will be 3,294.

Padre, the lovely Mona and the late, great Laura
Near as I can figure, my first blog post was on June 9, 2006 and it was entitled "Civil Rights and Liturgical Rites are not Special Rights" in which I spoke to the anxieties around two issues which I thought would frame General Convention.

At that point in time, I didn't know how to add pictures or, apparently, how to use the spell check function, and my ability to turn a phrase was in its infancy, to wit: describing +Gene Robinson as "an honestly gay man."

That was apparently followed that same day by a little thing I called "Anglican Communion 101". It was a little something I had written for my parish newsletter, to assist my congregation understand just a wee bit my passion for the institutional church as a potential vehicle for attaining the sort of doing justice, loving mercy and the walking humbly with our God that we say we are about.

We did make our way through that awful time. Mostly. We ended up with Resolution B033 which committed the church to "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

Newly elected PB Katherine Jefferts Schori said "it was the best we can do." Indeed, that's what I titled that blog post.  As I re-read it just now, 13 years later, I could still feel the sting of the pain.

So, before I get lost in the weeds on Memory Lane, here's the thing: I started writing this blog in 2006 at the suggestion of my Parish Administrator. I had been a deputy to the 2003 General Convention and had sent daily emails to my Vestry to keep them posted as to the events and issues being debated.

They, then, printed out the emails, copied them and sent them 'round the congregation.

"A blog will be so much easier on everyone," my Parish Administrator said and, after a brief discussion, set it up for me. I called it "Telling Secrets," after my favorite book at the time. I posted something about the one major legislative issue and how Anglicanism works and left it alone for the next week until General Convention began.

A gathering of bloggers and our spouses 2012
I honest to God thought that the only people who would be reading my blog would be members of my Vestry and congregation.

No joke. That's how absolutely ignorant and stupid I was about how technology worked as well as its potential and possibility.

I had heard about "the information super highway" and something called "a search engine" but while Google was founded in 1998, personalized searches only came into being in 2005, a year before I began my blog. I suppose that's no excuse to those of you who are "techies" but it's a pretty big deal for " a simple parish priest".

Today, people who read my blog are mostly from the United States, followed by the UK, Canada, Russia, Germany, France, India and the Ukraine.

Imagine! It still pretty much blows my mind.

Then again, I've expanded the topics of my post from Anglicanism in general and the Episcopal Church in particular. Here are the top five all-time page views.

Feb 18, 2011, 35 comments
49043
Dec 13, 2011, 138 comments
48930
Jul 25, 2011, 14 comments
47586
Dec 31, 2014, 117 comments
38110
Jan 27, 2012, 5 comments

It won't come as a surprise to anyone to know that most of the visits to my blog come through word searches. Which has brought many strange strangers to my blog. I have learned more about "click bait" than I thought I needed to know.

And then, there are the "trolls". Lord, have mercy!

Ally, Padre and the lovely Episcofemme (Eileen)
I've certainly made mistakes over the years, most of which reflected my ignorance about the power and reach of expressing one's opinion in writing and in public.  Or, the one-dimensional aspect of this form of communication and the importance of body language and facial expressions.

Or, frankly, that anyone would really care what I might have to say about any given topic.

I'm not that naive anymore.

I am still surprised by the venom some people have in response to an expressed opinion by someone who is a total stranger to someone who is, to them, a total stranger.

It's usually done anonymously. Of course. Although, I must say, that sort of nasty exchange on a blog isn't so much a thing anymore. Social media provides the opportunity to have disagreements and arguments with total strangers in "real time" which proves much more satisfying to "trolls."

These day, hardly anyone leaves comments. Which is fine. I post on my FaceBook page and people mostly leave comments there. Which is fine.

I don't blog to enter into conversation with people. I blog because it's an outlet of expression.

Mostly, I blog just to work stuff out in my head. To "think out loud".  To reflect on an experience I've had or a thought that has been stuck in my craw.

And, yes, because I'm a "feisty, opinionated woman". I confess. It's true.

One of my seminarians once suggested that I used my blog to say the things I couldn't say in the pulpit. I think there may be some truth to that.

Although, interestingly enough, my sermons are pretty much all I post these days.

Will I continue blogging? Probably. Unless I stumble upon a compelling reason not to, I suppose.  I've actually made some interesting friends over the years through this blog.


Indeed, there were a few gatherings of Bloggers  several years back - before FaceBook became the rage.

We met in New York once, at General Seminary. We met again in Southern NJ - Princeton, as I recall. And again in Newark, in the Ironbound section.

There may have been other gatherings that I missed but those three I remember with great fondness and affection.  I've actually scattered a few pictures of our gatherings around this post.

That was then. This is now. I have no illusions that anything like that will happen again.  Had I know that at the time, well, I don't know that I could have enjoyed them more.

3,294 essays in about 12 years. That averages out to about 274 essays per year.

I don't think I'll increase that average. But, I'll probably have at least that many opinions.

As Rachel Maddow says, "Watch this space".

(And, thank you, to all of you who have, over the years.)

8 comments:

Matthew said...

And I’m one of them. We’ve never met and I don’t even know how I found your blog many years ago. I met Susan Russell once years ago when I lived in Nevada so maybe that is how I heard about you. I have no idea. I used to read and comment on your blog posts all the time. Your blog was a godsend during a time I was in a spiritual desert. I would look for sermons Sunday night or Monday. Sometimes I would even bookmark a sermon and return to it three years later when the readings were the same and then three years later I would reread it along with a new sermon. Your blog made me feel sane and sometimes I would even use your arguments in arguments I had with know it alls who were clueless. I had a wonderful rector for years then a series of bone heads. Well not exactly bone heads but clergy who lacked spine, innovation and responded to fear. So, anyway thanks. I post on your Facebook page now pretty regularly as Matthew Wright.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Awww, thank you, Matthew. As you know, I still post my sermons, when I have a preaching gig. Although last week, church was canceled due to snow. I had written that sermon specifically for that congregations, so I wasn't going to publish it on the blog. Something nudged me and I did it anyway. I've had no less than 4 private messages and one lunch with people who wanted to talk about it b/c it touched something deep in them. So, I guess I'll continue to blog. If it helps one person - and, apparently, it has. Thanks for letting me know, Matthew.

Marthe said...

Well, that's a whole honking lot of people reading you! Yeah! After a whole full day of "the news" it's good to click on your blog for a tiny sanity break, so even if no one wants to argue on a blog any more (sometimes I need that particular form of entertainment, although I don't recall freaking about any of your pieces), do, do, do keep posting. Among other things, I work every Sunday of the year now, so getting to a live sermon is nearly impossible ... and I find the way you think out loud interesting and useful. Blog on!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Marthe. In truth, it's "page views" not "people". That number is no doubt significantly less. While I have taken myself out of that count, some people come back several times, or, they come back and look at other things I've written.

Blogs, I'm told, are passe. The thing is, I'm told, to post essays on FB.

I think I'll blog and then post a link to FB. Seems to work for me. I'm not out to get a name for myself. I just like blogging.

Thanks again, Marthe.

Matthew said...

Thanks so much. I enjoy reading your sermons. Many years ago my partner and I took a vacation to Lewes, DE (and the eastern shore of MD). That was when you were a rector in NJ. So, you never know when paths can cross.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Let me know. There are lots of little Cafes and bistros where we can meet. I'd like that.

Anonymous said...

G'day!

I think I found you through Mad Priest, 6 or 7 years ago, when this Sydney Anglican was first venturing into the blogosphere to learn from Christians in the rest of the world.

Please keep blogging for those of us who have limited opportunity to hear women with God's gifts of preaching and teaching (and aren't on Facebook).

I thank you for all the wonderful blogs you have written to date and look forward to many more.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks. Wish I knew your name so I could more personally thank you. I usually don't publish anonymous comments but, well, you know, flattery won't always get what you want but in this case, it got you published.