Occasionally, someone writes in to complain about the nature of my blog entries on Sic et Non. Usually, there’s a complaint that they’re too political. Sometimes the lament is that I post too much travelogue. One person complained some time back that what I write is no better than an entry on Facebook. On a related note, another has said that he prefers the weekly posts of certain other Mormon writers, which he believes to be more consistently substantive. (I’m sure that they are! Composing one post per week allows a lot more time for reflection and writing than composing two, three, or four daily.) I’ve been told by perhaps three or four complainers over the past five months that I don’t write posts appropriate to Patheos. A few simply consider me a slime ball. One, who dislikes me personally and despises my views on various topics, has repeatedly told me that it’s his “dream” to get me altogether removed from Patheos.
Let me say something about the nature and origin of this blog.
I began blogging back in, oh I dunno, about February or March. Or something like that.
I was entirely independent. I just wanted to comment on things. Various things. To spout off. On religion, of course. But also on politics. Current headlines. And, now and again, on a movie or a song or a concert. I particularly wanted to announce new publications that I found interesting, to call attention to publications or speeches of my own, to alert people to other speeches or to conferences that I thought they should know about.
I was entirely happy doing just that.
Some friends involved with the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), though, expressed regret that I hadn’t launched my blog on the FAIR site. But I explained to them that I didn’t want to comment only on religious matters. I wanted to be entirely free to offer commentary on anything I darn well wanted to comment on. They understood, and they dropped the matter. My political comments wouldn’t have been appropriate on FAIR. Nor would my comments about how unpalatable I find Angela Lansbury, nor how much I like Ground Hog Day and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and J. W. von Goethe’s Wanderers Nachtlied.
Then the folks at Patheos approached me. I told them what I had told the people from FAIR, that I had no intention of posting only about religious topics. I told them that, if moving over to Patheos was going to involve changing my style of blogging, if it was going to necessitate that I focus only on religious topics or do lengthy “columns,” I wasn’t interested in making the move. (As I note below, I was already writing weekly columns. I’ve been doing it for years, even before I came to the Deseret News.) They responded that I could go on doing the same kind of blog entries that I had been doing. So, with that in mind, and thinking that it might increase the audience for my blog — every author, I suppose, is egocentric enough to feel that others are or ought to be reading what he writes — I made the move.
I was happy before I came over to Patheos. I was entirely satisfied. Coming here wasn’t my idea. I made no promise to change what I was doing before, and I had no intention of doing so.
People who don’t like my approach are completely free to complain to the management of Patheos and/or to forego reading my blog. If they can do so, they’re welcome to get me altogether booted from Patheos. (A few, I know, would like that very much.) I’ll continue blogging whether I’m here or somewhere else. I’m happy with what I’m doing.
For those who worry about all the politics, though, I can promise them — whatever the outcome of the current presidential campaign — that it’s likely to slacken off quite a bit after 6 November. I’ve been really interested in politics since I was an early teenager, but even I go somewhat in cycles. Right now, we’re in the intense part of the cycle. But even a political junkie such as I am eventually tires of it. Not entirely, of course. But I’ll slow down after the first Tuesday in November.
And, for those who would prefer a more sedate and substantive weekly statement from me — as opposed to those, not a small group perhaps, who would prefer never to hear from or of me ever again — I write approximately 1.25 columns per week for the Deseret News. Or, to unpack that rather obscure formulation, I write a weekly column for the Deseret News that appears every Thursday. It typically treats something of particular relevance to Mormonism. And, with my friend and BYU colleague Dr. William Hamblin, I co-author a column, usually on a non-Mormon religious topic, that appears in the Deseret News every other Saturday.
Anyhow, please don’t complain to me that my blog doesn’t fit Patheos. It was never intended to fit anything at all. It’s just me, as G. K. Chesterton once put it, expressing my own potty little self.