Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Thanks to Team Redd for linking to the following questionnaire. Name- Alastair Roberts Hometown- Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England Gender- Male Age- 24 Native Language- UK English Occupation- I work in the supporter services department in a Christian radio station Ethnicity- White Level of Education- Diploma in Theology from the Evangelical Theological College of Wales. I will be returning to theological education in September. 1-Do you blog? Yup 2-What is the name of your blog? '40 Bicycles' and the long dormant 'Sacramental Blog' 3- How long have you been blogging? Why did you want to start? (What was its appeal?) Since 15th September 2003. I started blogging after coming in contact with a number of bloggers on internet forums. When I found out how easy it was to start a blog I decided that I had to give it a try. Once I had started I was soon hooked. The discipline of writing down your thoughts is a very good one; it serves to hone your thinking considerably. However, I guess the central appeal lies in being able to interact with interesting people from all over the world. My blogging is, among other things, a reaction against the anonymity of cyberspace. If there was no discernable community of bloggers, I don’t think that I would bother. Through this blog I have been able to get to know people from a whole variety of different walks of life, ecclesiastical backgrounds and age ranges. This has done me much good. I trust that, by God’s grace, I may have been the means of good to some of my readers too. 4-How often do you update your blog? Are you happy with how often you update it? Why or why not? It varies: sometimes I post daily; at other times I can go a week without posting. From time to time I get annoyed with myself for posting irregularly. On such occasions I try to remind myself that my blog is my servant and not my master. However, I do feel very bad about letting people down. I have started a number of series of posts in the past that I have yet to finish. I feel very disappointed in myself when this happens. 5- How would you classify the people who read your blog? Can you categorize them? (In other words, who do you believe is your audience?) My audience (there needs to be a better collective term for the readers of a particular blog: something that falls between 'audience' and 'readership') consists chiefly of thinking Christians. They tend to be predominantly Reformed and seek to express this identity in a manner that avoids unnecessary sectarianism and keeps faith with the broader ecumenical tradition of the Church. I also have readers from a number of other backgrounds, whose interaction is especially valuable. They challenge me to give other traditions their due weight and not to screen out opinions that might not tally with my own. They challenge me to interact with grace and love with concrete positions and not just with abstract generalizations — to be ‘catholic’ in my sentiments and not merely in my words. 6-Do you know any of the people who read your blog personally (or in ‘real’ life)? Why or why not? If you do know any of them personally, why did you choose to meet him or her? Yes, I do know a number of my readers personally. My family and close friends all know about my blog, as do a number of people I have met over the last few years. I have also been able to meet some people in ‘real’ life, who I first met through my blog. These have been great experiences and I hope to get to meet more of my readers in the future, particularly among those who live in the US. I firmly believe in integrating my ‘real’ and ‘online’ life as much as possible. I want to form real friendships with people online and deepen these friendships by taking any opportunity I have to get to meet people offline. 7-Do you keep any other kinds of “journals” besides your blog? Why or why not? Not really. I don’t have the time. I have done in the past. I do, however, write a short review for myself of every book that I read. I suppose that some might count that as a journal. 8-If you do keep a “traditional” journal, is there any difference between your online version and the pen and paper version? What kinds of similarities are there? Differences? 9-Which do you like better, online journals or traditional journals? Why? They both have their advantages. Writing a journal with a pen, rather than with a keyboard, tends to make one’s style more personal and considered. The ease with which one can create blog posts can sometimes detract from the quality of the message that they contain. My writing style on my blog is frequently very poor when compared to my writing style with paper and pen. Typing, as opposed to writing, tends to encourage laziness in certain areas. I do not resist this as much as I ought. The advantage of the blog is primarily to be found in the wider readership and the ability to link to other articles and websites. The strange intimacy that is created by a blog is something that could not be easily replicated offline. This form of semi-public intimacy, in turn, has both advantages and disadvantages. I have had to try to avoid using it as a substitute for concrete friendships. This is a real temptation. 10-What is your language itself like when you blog? Do you edit for spelling errors, capitalization, or grammar? Why or why not? My writing style on my blog is overly functional and lacks the beauty that the subject matter (generally theology) is worthy of. I am frequently ashamed of it. I do not generally edit for errors; however, I do try to discipline myself to take these things seriously whenever I write. I generally try to write in a gracious manner (I frequently fail). 11-Do you think it is important to do this? Why or why not? Given the sterility and ephemerality of most of the writing that we encounter from day to day, I feel that I have a duty to invest myself in my posts and give thought and consideration to my style. As I have already confessed, I do not do practice this as consistently as I ought to. 12-What subjects do you write about in your blog? Is there any topic that is off-limits? Why or why not? Most of my blogging is concerned with theology. Is there any topic that is off-limits? There are certain things that I do not want to talk about. I do not think that it is helpful to use a blog as a place to air personal grievances. Such things should be dealt with privately. I would like to say that my blog does not often descend into rants. However, I have ranted far more often than I ought to. 13-Is there anything else you think I should know about why blogging is important or about why you blog? Not off the top of my head.

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