Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Getting What You Pay For In Free Speech

Cynicism and satire have their limits, don’t they?

Not that I claim to be particularly erudite at writing with provoking cynicism or whimsical satire. But most of the essays I’ve written for this blog have been heavy on the cynicism, which makes for a decidedly negative weight, doesn’t it?

And a steady diet of satire can become tasteless, can’t it?

That realization has brought me to a conundrum, or at least a fork in the road, regarding this blog. For several months, I’ve pecked away at this keyboard on ideas and opinions that alternatively blast people I think are stupid or grumble against a society that in reality is only slightly more narcissistic than I am.

Without the cloak of specialized doctorates to hide behind, I’ve championed awkward and unpopular ideas, such as classical music in corporate worship. Even though I still strongly adhere to these convictions, I’m not sure I’ve been called to beat other people over the head with them like I have. I still think 1 Chronicles 16 gives me all the legitimacy I need to stand fast in my beliefs regarding corporate worship, but that oftentimes-pesky list of Fruits of the Spirit haunts the approach I’ve taken in sharing those beliefs with others.

She Whose Idea This Blog Was had a good idea when she suggested this project: use it as an online resume of my writing style and opinions. Tell people – prospective employers, mainly – who I am and how I think.

100-plus essays and blog posts later, though, I question the extent to which I’ve really provided a balanced perspective of who I am… or, if I have indeed succeeded in telling you who I am, I haven’t painted a very flattering picture of myself, have I?! I keep looking out my door, but I've yet to see publishers beating a path to it.

I suspect that many of my regular readers (not that I have many readers, but of the readers I have) have been friends of mine for years, and the fact that they’re still friends means they’ve developed either a crusty shell against my barbed thoughts or a gracious condescension for tolerating them. After all, they must think, we all have our faults. Tim just tells us his faults whenever he talks or writes!

Alternatively, I could currently be indulging in a bit of writer’s wallow and brooding nihilism. I wouldn’t be the first person trying to write who’s stumbled upon the realization that most people really don’t care what I think, or that what I think isn’t as important or essential as I imagine.

But even if that’s not the full story, I suspect that’s part of it. Even my blog’s numbers, as tracked by Google Analytics, are down. Total visits are down, and the length of time people stay on my site has declined from about six minutes to not quite two. And knowing how long it takes to read most of my essays, I’m not convinced my dwindling volume of visitors are all speed readers.

Not that I’m openly soliciting a flood of protestations from my readers saying how well I write and that my opinions are valuable. Indeed, whatever my readers are trying to do themselves to prove their worth, provide for their families, or exercise their abilities, you have your own seasons of angst and doubts, and we all have our seasons of success and failures. I've been blessed by the encouraging words and feedback from people who have read what I've been writing, I'm appreciative of every single person who has taken their time to read any of it, and I'm amazed at those of you who keep doing so! However, with no offense intended, that doesn't pay the bills, does it?

Is there a trick to successfully analyzing where we are, where we think we’re supposed to be going, and how we think we can get there? How long can people like me sit and listen to well-paid analysts blither about how the recession is easing and people are going back to work - without going insane? How much blithering like that have I committed?

There has to be a way for me to make what I write provide some sort of value to you, my readers. As nice as you may be, your graciousness in reading my stuff will only last so long. Plus, whether it's here in my blog, or in some other venue, I can't justify simply pontificating opinions day after day. What kind of contribution is that?

At some point, I could risk turning into the Rush Limbaugh of the disenfranchised evangelical set... which should send shivers up all our backbones.


  1. Throwing in the towel? It's a shame, because I've genuinely enjoyed reading your opinions, and I appreciate your different perspectives.

    Friend and loyal reader,

  2. You have a gift, T-Lite. Don't throw in the towel yet.

    Maybe take down your posting frequency a notch? How about M-W-F only blog posts?

    Or write about something silly more often to lighten it up (and to give you a break).

    Just some thoughts from "She Whose ..."


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