Jonathan Swift in his The Battle of the Books describes two kinds of writers–the spider and the bee. The bee sips from myriad flowers, and makes honey. The spider weaves webs out of his own entrails.
Well, there are spider bloggers, and bee bloggers. A spider blogger largely writes about herself, her family and her life. It’s an online journal. And if one writes winsomely, and photographs well, a spider blogger can develop quite an audience, for readers hunger for truth, to know how it really is with people they are interested in.
However, without the refreshment and learning of prayer and scripture study and especially reading, Christian blogging (or teaching, preaching or writing) can become spiderish, producing cobwebs, not honey. You say the same things but with decreasing passion. And without passion, conviction can begin to fade.
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Writing about myself and my life is not my predominant interest in blogging, though I do some of those posts when I am exploring or understanding something. I am more interested in writing about ideas and spiritual exploration.
It’s now my third year of blogging, and I have discovered that if I do not read, I can repeat myself, though perhaps with less passion than when the idea first struck
Reading, on the other hand, stretches me. When I encounter new ideas, or a fresh take on old ideas, my thinking changes and enlarges to accommodate them. It’s as if the DNA of my mind has stretched; its double helixes are broader—and in the process I too have changed.
I have noticed that some of the bloggers I most enjoy are continually reading, and so their blogs keep fresh as they interact with, react to, challenge or are challenged by new ideas. As they ingest fresh riches, they have fresh riches to offer their readers.
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“Humankind cannot bear very much reality,” T.S. Eliot said. Similarly, we can only grasp an infinitesimal fraction of the riches of God, just as one who as ascended Everest from southeast ridge from Nepal will not have a different experience and perceptions than one who has ascended from the north ridge in Tibet or any of the 15 other routes. Though it’s the same mountain. And if we read their accounts, we are better prepared for the staggering beauty and the dangers: hypoxia, altitude sickness or blizzards.
So, too our conceptions of God, of Jesus, of the spiritual life, of happiness and the good life—our very thinking—will be considerably stretched and enlarged by reading. And this richness will be reflected in our blogs.