Fr Anthony Chadwick had a post up this morning entitled, Blogs have their limits. This is so true. He also wrote of often having “reached “crisis” points in my time as a blogger” (and more). It all got me thinking…
First, I want to say that I blog because of Jesus Christ. I wish to honour Him in all that I say and all that I do. I have always maintained that this blog is an extension of my Priestly Vocation. I am a Priest who blogs, not the other way around.
I cannot ignore the plain precepts of Scripture: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15).
Secondly, the blog started off as a blog focussing on Biblical Archaeology. I love the Holy Land and the riches of the material remains that are such an affirmation to our Biblical exegesis. I am in the planning process of pursuing a MA in the subject. I had most of a dissertation more-or-less stuck together a couple of years ago when a gang of armed robbers made off with my laptop (info not backed up – my fault) while I was visiting at the Bishop’s (Michael Gill) residence. My loss was not as great as his, but I haven’t quite been able to put the paper back together again. I must focus more on that than the blog… I think.
The blog moved away from that subject into the areas of Anglican / Catholic / Ordinariate Church news reporting and reflection. With that came all the Church politics, and as the late Bishop Trevor Rhodes put it: ‘Churchianity and not Christianity’. Here I don’t mind wading in, but it is exhausting being surrounded by those who think that their particular liturgical rite is the only valid expression or way of worshipping a crucified Jewish Rabbi; and that the rest (those who use a differing Prayer Book or Bible Version) are all lost revisionists doomed to hell.
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”.
The blog does not define me. I am the Rector of a busy Parish. I am an Emergency Service Chaplain. They call me when people are lying on the road with their heads 300 meters removed from their bodies, when people want to kill themselves, or when they have, and that in front of others. It’s a world filled with pain, trauma, death and grief. And when they call you, you know it is for the sole reason that someone is needed to make sense of the senseless, to visit that place where life, precious life, has been maimed or taken. Here, it makes no difference if you’re an Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Atheist, or Muslim. Here, it is only the love of Christ that will make a difference – when you point people to the One who can and will be a rock on which to stand when everything else around you is falling apart… He who loved us so much, that He laid down His life for us (John 15:13).
God has further blessed me with a wife, a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter. I never mention them, but that is only to protect them from all of this. So know that I have mentioned them now, here, for the first, and last, time.
It would seem that now with the closing down of the Anglo-Catholic blog, and before that, the English Catholic, the ‘trolls’ (or ‘ghouls’ as Fr Chadwick calls them) have been ‘roaming around like roaring lions, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Some have chosen to settle here. I want to say to them, today, categorically: You are not welcome! So I have determined to start to do some serious policing of the comments section. If you are here for gossip-mongering, brawling, sensation, badmouthing others and the like, then you are in the wrong place. Over the years, many before you have come and gone. I invite you to do the same. If you are here to build, for edification, for being touched by the mercy, grace and goodness of God, and yes, for some honest, serious and scholarly theological and ecclesiological debate, debate that is both mutual and charitable, then you are more than welcome. If you are unsure of the comments policy of the blog, click here.
I have said all these things because I’m not happy with the direction that the blog is taking nor am I happy with the reasons (and intentions) that some people seem to have in coming here. Again, this blog is for edification and the furtherment of God’s Kingdom on earth. Or, perhaps, as Pope Benedict so wisely and beautifully put it, when encouraging his own Priests to blog, ‘to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication’. If I can make a small difference for Jesus in the great big world of cyberspace, then I am happy. It is yet another means and medium for proclaiming the Good News.
I expect that some out there may be disappointed in what I have just said. Do you know that this blog gets just on 2000 hits (that’s visits) daily? That figure may dwindle and fall after this announcement, but that’s okay too. I’m not in it for stats. And I’m most certainly not going to let things degenerate to a point where sin is more pronounced than holiness, where more darkness is emitted here than light. I may have to change of the content / subject matter, because Fr Smuts’ blog will not be turned into the next Continuing Anglican soap opera box, or the hottest place to come to when you’re looking for the next titbit of scandal.
I must in conclusion, also thank my Bishop, Michael Gill, for guiding me (and my thinking) in these matters. I can say that I’m really blessed to have his close, godly and prayerful Episcopal oversight.
Indeed, ‘… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).
PS. It’s just before midnight here in South Africa so please do forgive any typos, and right now, I’m off to bed. I’ll read over all this again tomorrow.