I am thankful today. It may not be my holiday, we may not have anything even remotely like it here in the UK, but as I said last year, I am very glad of the reminder this American holiday represents.
I know that at times I still have a sinful tendency to focus on things that are not going the way I want them to rather than to be thankful for everything that has gone well. I know that even after all these years of growing as a Christian, there are times when self-pity, criticism of others, and ungratefulness rear their heads. I know that in the corner of my heart their lies an area as yet not cleaned by the grace that is washing me day-by-day and making me more like Jesus. That area stubbornly refuses to learn that I am not the center of the universe. Neither will it accept that minor inconveniences to me are not worth getting upset about. It must continually be reminded that if I just learned to actually be more sincerely thankful rather than merely mouthing the words “thank you” in a ritualistic manner, my world would actually be a better place. So apart from all the other reasons I have to give thanks, my own selfish interests would be better served!
The truth is, we all find it hard to say a simple “thank you.”
My dear readers, I do want to thank you today so much for your patience and ongoing interest in these voluminous and persistent writings of mine which threaten to encroach upon your coffee breaks on a daily basis! I do value the time you invest. I appreciate your interest in the matters that interest me. I am grateful to God for his grace, which has meant that some of you find that investment of time to be at times helpful to you.
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One of the interesting things about blogging is the way it seems to go around in cycles. I suppose it’s partly because of the way blogging obviously reflects the rest of our lives. I know that, for me, my blog is just an extension of me. Many times my friends have to stop me when I’m talking to them and say, “Adrian, I’ve already read that on your blog!”
So it felt rather strange when I realized the odd coincidence that this Thanksgiving I’m again returning to a theme that was bubbling up in my thinking at the same time last year. This culminated in a post just days after Thanksgiving titled “Making a Minor Tweak to My Comments Policy.”
Interestingly, I had the same internal conflict then I find I have right now. On the one hand I was upset about some of the comments I received on the blog, and on the other hand I was thankful for many of the comments—”especially from those who disagree with me.” The real problem I face is that sometimes it’s really hard to decide which comments I am happy to publish and which ones I am not. It’s difficult to set any clear set of rules that can be understood by both me and you, my readers. Tone is in the eye of the beholder, as my recent debate with the Pyromaniacs clearly demonstrated.
Last December I realized that my earlier tweak had not been enough, so I made a major change in how I would deal with comments here. I now feel that the change I made last year is no longer adequate. It served me well this past year, but now it’s time for another radical change. My big problem moving forward is that, with all my other responsibilities, I am so busy that something has to give. I have decided that the time I spend making the often agonizing decision about whether or not to publish a comment (and which I probably sometimes get wrong) is going to have to be freed up.
So, at least for now, beginning today, I will no longer publish comments made on my blog posts.
What does this mean? Firstly, for the vast majority of you, it will make little or no difference. I know that only a tiny proportion of my readers even read the comments, let alone add to them. For some of you, though, this will be disappointing. Does this mean I am no longer interested in your feedback? Absolutely not! Does this mean I will stop reading e-mails sent to me? No! In fact, by freeing some time, it may even make it more likely that I can respond to an e-mail privately, or if appropriate and with the permission of my correspondent, on my blog itself.
I will still, as time permits, try to interact with those who disagree with me. I am not retreating into some kind of bunker! From time to time, I will also probably post a link here to such a post and answer it. I may even frequent the comment sections on other people’s blogs.
Why am I doing this? It’s mainly for my own sanity. It’s because I need to reclaim the time I currently devote to scratching my head in deciding whether or not to publish comments. I feel responsible for the words which appear here in the comments section. I obviously do not have any similar responsibility for what people might post elsewhere. I may well find myself quite happy to read even quite critical comments made elsewhere, whereas reading the very same words as a potential comment for publication here would make me anxious about whether or not I should accept it.
I am grateful for my interactions with you, my readers, which have helped me to understand so many things more clearly. It is therefore with some sadness that I now pull the plug on comments. Because of my current time pressures, it is better to stem the flow of comments now than to wait until I am engulfed in a major comment storm at some point in the future.
If you have made any comments you want to save for the future, please go in and copy/paste them, since at some point fairly soon I will be removing all the old comments also.
The following verse has influenced this decision, and I hope will continue to influence my blogging in these post-comment box days:
“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14)
Not everyone is happy with my decision, as this post over at Peter’s blog demonstrates.