Tuesday, July 15, 2008


...or, "What's Right is Right."

Anyone reading here for anything north of ten minutes knows that I do enjoy staking out my ground. Funniest rebuke I ever got - while we were still just dating, Ladybug nearly bought me an antique wooden soap box: "You can keep stuff in it when you're not standing on it!"

(That may have been the first moment I thought to myself, Please marry me forever! Anyone who can dig you like that, lovingly, is a keeper.)

Well, I still try to be certain of things; and if I have any defense it's that I'm usually good about revising my certainties based on further evidence. One thing I'm still poor at, however, is holding forth when uninvited. Granted that people expect a little of that in a blog... now and then.

Just a couple of nights ago, I was trying to figure out what this blog was about, actually. There's such a forested tangle of categories. Should I be pruning them? I don't want to, particularly - I enjoy hockey, I like posting goofy pictures of cats sitting on chessboards, I enjoy debates about church and culture. Why narrow myself? I quickly ditched that idea, and instead decided to try to think of an overarching theme that tied it all together.

Eventually I decided that there wasn't one. It was just me and a buddy I've known half my life, talking about the things that grab our notice, be they momentous, trivial, exasperating, or fun. Heck, the sidebar is pretty much all about whatever strikes my fancy. There's no reason to change that.

BUT here's where the BUT comes in.

One thing I have noticed is that I get lots of lurkers but not a lot of talkers. In the past that would kind of bug me, because I love long conversations and big debates. It could be about the Anglican Communion or the DH rule or what-all. I would be upset if I upset someone, and would fret if people didn't hobnob in the combox. In short, the reason I began blogging was to connect to folks, sort of like hanging out in college until they shoveled us out of the Student Center and locked the doors. And that really doesn't happen that much around here.

It doesn't bug me now because of two reasons: first, that there's the downside of having to police the unruly, a job for which I'm not well-suited; second, because people DO read, and that's a great compliment. Still, there's the BUT. And thanks to Sheila's awesomeness I've found out what it is. The truth is that being certain about things is just fine, but having certitude sucks. Folks, I'm just full of certitude.

[At this point I wish to totally exonerate the Barking Spider from what follows. Please don't lump him in with me on this - I'm on my own shrink chair here.]

I'm certain about some stuff. In fact I give rather the impression that I'm certain about a lot of stuff because I tend to say how I'm feeling about things, unbidden - when in fact there's plenty on which I can change my mind. Also, I tend to post about stuff I'm certain about. Hence the soapbox. In fact, I nearly called the blog "Born on a Soap Box," so this is hardly a great mystery I'm sharing. Trouble is, I sound much too certain: in fact, so certain that nobody is free to disagree, and that's the certitude I'm talking about. It's enjoying my rightness as if it was inherent to me. But the first thing I should be certain of comes right on top of the list of Big Important Certainties - "Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me." Right is inherent to only one Being in creation, and anything that comes my way is a gift, to be shared with others, but not inflicted on them. To quote an old joke from college, when my friend likened the Bible to a pillow instead of a stone - "PILLOW FIGHT!" Well, no, not so much. Or at least, not without the knowledge and consent of the other people. It's fun at a campout; not so much fun in an office, or while walking about busy with the day, bereft of your own pillow.

So, yes, there I am, hoist on my own Blinding Flash of the Obvious. The reason I don't have many conversations is that I don't start them. I simply pronounce. People hear that and think, well, that's that - and you know, I can't blame them at all. They think they're being yelled at. And if one thinks that, then why disagree and invite further yelling? It wasn't fun before, it's not going to be more fun the more one gets.

So, while I still think I'm going to be sure, and I'm still going to stake out my ground, I don't want to keep everyone else out. I'm going to make an effort to hold more conversations, or even step back and let other people have them without my two cents. I'm broke, anyway.

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