Friday, May 27, 2011

May 28: Ninth Anniversary of This Blog

Tomorrow marks the ninth anniversary of this blog.

Frankly, I had no idea what a blog was when I started this one. I was just looking for a place to "park" my Sunday sermons and the columns I then wrote for a weekly Community Press newspaper in the Cincinnati area.

As you can see from perusing the archives on the right, it took some time for me to build up steam as a blogger. After a time though, it became a daily exercise and remained so for a few years. I believe that it sharpened my skills as a communicator, as the newspaper column had previously, and so I enjoyed the discipline of daily blogging.

What with changes that have come to my life in recent years, the blogging has become less frequent. But I still enjoy it a lot.

The blog has brought interesting people into my life, most of whom I've only "met" online. I have been able to actually meet several of my blogging colleagues though, back when I attended the first GodBlogCon at Biola University in California. That was a real treat!

But I truly have enjoyed corresponding with people from all over the world and count it a pleasure to have made your acquaintance in this way.

Though I have rarely advocated political positions here, I have, because of my interest in history and my past involvement with politics, sometimes written about politics and history. I seem to be doing a lot less of that these days. My focus is tighter as I take my cue from the apostle Paul, striving not to be distracted by the noisy and unimportant, and knowing nothing but the crucified Christ.

Besides, time and experience have shown me that I know a lot less about "everything" than I once thought I did. Preachers aren't pundits and that includes me. But of the God made known in Jesus Christ I am certain and I learn more about Him all the time; that's why I talk so much about Him here.

A few tidbits:
  • The blog was originally called, Better Living, which was the Norman Vincent Peale-sounding name I had chosen some years before for the newspaper column I wrote beginning in 1998.
  • The first post was a column I had written in September, 2011 regarding what to tell children about the terrorist attacks of that month.
  • There have been a total of 5112 posts, many of them short "pointers," directing people to other places on the Internet. But there's been a lot of original writing here, some in embarrassingly great need of editing, ranging from grammatical correction through dramatic paring down, all the way to merciful deletion of entire posts. Despite the flaws, I've decided to leave it all here: the good, the bad, and the really ugly.
  • I don't know for certain when I added SiteMeter to track visits to the blog, although I believe it was sometime in 2005. Since its installation, there have been a total of 724,443 visits to the blog, with 1,187,139 page views.
  • Along the way, I've written a number of serials, most written especially for the blog and some being sermon series and sets of devotions used in the congregations I've served during these past nine years, Friendship Lutheran Church near Amelia, Ohio (I was there from 1990 to 2007) and Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Logan, Ohio (where I've served since November 2007). My favorite sets of blog posts include the Happiness Project, 40 Days to Servanthood, Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, the Promise and the Perils of Democracy, Opening Your Spiritual Gifts, and two sets of posts I did, one on how Christians might think about immigration reform and another on how they might think about the 2008 presidential elections. (In neither of these last two sets of posts did I advocate specific positions. I simply sought to give people Biblical prisms through which they might consider the issues at hand.) (By the way, you can use the search function at the top of this blog page to look for anything mentioned above that might interest you. You can also do separate Google or Yahoo searches.)
  • There are several posts that seem to attract traffic every day. One was written six years ago, just before my wife and I celebrated our thirty-first wedding anniversary, about the lessons I'd learned regarding marriage. Another dealt with the phenomenon of tiny houses. And another is one which I think simply attracts the traffic of those looking for photographs relative to the Holocaust and Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I hope that you've enjoyed your visits here. 

I also pray that God uses this blog not just to present Christ to readers, but also, I hope, to demonstrate that if God can love and redeem and use an imperfect, sinful person like me, God can love and redeem and use anyone!

5 comments:

Geoff said...

Congratulations Mark,

What an amazing legacy. So many blog entries, so much persistence and faithfulness to communicate your heart to others...

I am glad for the simplicity of your expression here. The simple and uncomplicated nature of your deep faith is all we need to witness and hear.

Congrats again... here is to many more blog entries my friend.

Best
Geoff

Mark Daniels said...

Thank you for your kind words, Geoff!

Keep at your own blogging; you have something unique to offer. And that's not "the seven sentences" format, but your perspective.

God bless you and your wife as you wait on parenthood.

Chuck said...

Mark, loving your blogs... keep them coming to us!! Congratulations bud!

Spencer Troxell said...

Happy anniversary, Mark.

Spencer Troxell said...

I should also add that your staying power as a blogger is impressive. So many people start blogs, and so few of those blogs survive.

I can only hope that being a regular visitor to your blog will rub some of that endurance off on me.