There has been a bit of a kerfluffle lately about blogging. There is probably a kerfluffle in the blog world daily, if not minutely (can I use that word that way?), but this one has been visiting my neighborhood. I thought about sitting on the sidelines and playing the part of the nice older lady who hands out milk and cookies to the local urchins and smiles sweetly through it all, but I will briefly set down my bifocals, add a couple of semi-cantakerous thoughts, then defer to a friend’s wisdom while I go back to my cookie baking.
It was with reluctance that I added a blogroll to my sidebar. At the time, I remember mentioning my concern about contributing to the delinquency of my readers as they became sidetracked home executives, clicking on the next alluring link. I’ve had emails from people wondering how I do it all, including keeping up with all the links in my sidebar. Gulp! I suppose that those links do give the impression that I am a blog-hopper, but I quickly disabused the inquiring minds of that notion and admitted that I only visit two or three of those links on a regular basis. As more and more readers visit and leave their links, I’m contemplating how to handle the blogroll issue. I am happy to give others an opportunity to have their websites get new visitors—it’s the Emma Woodhouse in me—but I don’t want to be impeding prairie muffins from making their duly appointed rounds when I’ve made it somewhat of my mission to encourage them to stay faithful to their duties.
We all have the same number of hours in a day and we need to make wise choices about how to use them. I know what it’s like to have small children who need lots of my time and attention, and even with home-grown household help, I still have a limited amount of time I can spend online. When I wrote about my role model, Anne Bradstreet, I noted:
Not seeking glory for herself, Anne made sure that meeting her responsibilities to her family was paramount. She willingly sacrificed her time and strength for them. In Beyond Stateliest Marble, Doug Wilson says:
John Woodbridge [her publisher] noted that Anne’s poetry was written in hours snatched away from sleep. We may assume that her other literary pursuits, her studies which gave her grist for the mill, were conducted the same way. In other words, Ann was not reading and studying instead of caring for her family. She did not have her nose in a book when children needed to be fed and cared for.
Now this was a sacrifice she sought out and pursued. No one required this of her, and she had more than enough to do in her ordinary responsibilities. But apparently, the creative impulses in her were very strong and demanded an outlet. But there was no way to create this outlet without tremendous late-night sacrifices. The fruit of those sacrifices are still with us today.
There are many reasons a woman might maintain a weblog. Some have those “creative impulses” which need an outlet. Others feel isolated and want to find encouragement and kindred spirits with whom they can commiserate. There are some who are compelled to give an opinion on every subject under the sun and others who specialize in one subject as they freely opine. Of course, there is always the temptation to seek attention and to stir up hornets’ nests in order to be in the center of all the excitement when the angry buzzing begins.
I don’t claim always to have perfectly pure motives, but I already gave my “justification” for my blogging on New Year’s Day: Whyblog? There’s no need to cover the same ground, but I’d like to add a couple of cautionary notes. A friend recently mentioned that as she read around the blogosphere, she was seeing the same names commenting over and over in so many places, and she started to think about women “gadding about from house to house” (I Timothy 5:13) That’s a sobering thought, and one we all need to consider.
Every moment we spend on our computers is time we aren’t doing something else. I know that we need encouragement and friendship in this time when even our churches and relatives are often denigrating our service to our families, but we must be judicious in our online time and not get sucked into the vortex. There are children to read to, neighbors to visit, husbands to love and households which don’t run by themselves. I’m afraid it’s possible to have your fanny firmly planted in a seat in the middle of your house, but nobody’s home.
As to what subjects women ought to broach in their online conversations, I think that anything we talk about face to face is fair game. We have sons and daughters to teach how to think biblically about all sorts of issues, and we must understand and have opinions about many things if we are going to teach them well, just as Lois and Eunice taught Timothy. But we need to exercise caution when we presume to teach others on our websites. I think younger women can have many fresh and valuable insights to give, but it was only after I had experienced some “extreme living” and had some experience under my apron that I ventured, with fear and trembling, to begin proffering my opinions. Though I appreciate having my iron sharpened here, I seldom comment on other sites, and I rarely give advice elsewhere, unless asked.
I pray that this gentle admonition will not confuse anybody, but that it will help to keep priorities straight. For a complementary and unconfusing perspective on the same topic, please read Soft Tongue Soft Pen, written by my friend Toni, a lady whose blog I make time to visit. She has given me permission to add her essay to my articles page.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a cookie exchange!
Note: If anyone has questions or comments about what I have written, feel free to post them, but I request that you do not use the comment box to give me any pats on the back, as that is not the purpose of what I’ve written tonight. “Speak kindly” still applies, however .