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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Dreaming of new blogs.

Dan Harper is looking for blogs that get beyond partisan cheerleading and dear-diary confession. He likes place blogs, but would also like to find:

A blog written by a fictional character about his/her fictional life.
A blog by a real person about his/her travels in a fictional place.
A blog of literary or arts reviews (by multiple authors).
A "historical blog," written from the point of view of a historical figure as if s/he were blogging in her/his own era, a sort of blog re-enactment; e.g., a Plimoth Plantation blog, a Civil War soldier's blog, etc.
A blogicization of Dante's Inferno, or Defore's Journal of a Plague Year, etc.
Or best of all, something that's just plain new and different.

As for me, I'm particularly interested in hearing people's visions of multi-author blogs, especially ones that might touch on liberal religious concerns. (Personally, I'm going to go looking for Taize-visitors' blogs.) Any more wish lists out there?

Incidentally, Shawn Anthony of Lo-Fi Tribe has set up a blog to encourage religious humanist blogs: The Alliance of Religious Humanism.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 14 August 2005 at 7:51 PM

Previous: Mr and Mrs Philocrites, guest preachers.
Next: Brother Roger, founder of Taize, killed in worship.





August 14, 2005 10:26 PM | Permalink for this comment

The Adventures of Vanessa Virtue for a fictional blog by a fictional character. Local, too :-).

[Comment edited 8.15.05 to add blog's name]


August 15, 2005 12:10 AM | Permalink for this comment

Personally, I thought what he had to say was kind of silly. I've responded to it here.


Lynn Gazis-Sax:

August 15, 2005 12:34 AM | Permalink for this comment

Libertarian Girl was sort of a blog by a fictional character :-). Unfortunately, the fictional character spent most of her time talking about libertarian politics (but using a cuter photo than that of her real creator would have been), and a small amount of time talking about her imaginary sex life, so I doubt that's what he's looking for.

Some people do have fiction blogs.


August 15, 2005 08:40 AM | Permalink for this comment

Ah, CC, but I was hoping to draw out dreams of new kinds of UU blogs -- maybe even some group projects. I can't keep up with the blogs I'm already interested in, so Dan's situation isn't my own. But I would like to hear ideas about new and interesting kinds of UU and liberal religious blogs.


August 15, 2005 01:44 PM | Permalink for this comment

Fair enough.

I don't really think we need to change ourselves much. I like the blogsphere. I'm an addict to my RSS feeder as is.

I write the blog that I would want to read. A little bit of theological theory, a lot of practical application of the writer's principles in the world, minimal political bitching though not so little to indicate political unawareness, funny stories like you would tell your friends in the bar. Links to cool stuff and thoughtful commentary. Lots of ideas that are works in progress and lots of anecdotes that give readers a sense of the world I live in.

What's going on in my head is interesting to me, so I write that. If it isn't interesting to other people, they have lots of other choices.

I tend to think oragnic change will work better than change for change's sake. My next major change will probably be to start incorporating more of my photography in but I need to get back into the habit of carrying a camera.

That having been said, if we started a group novel or other large group project, I would participate. Everybody reading a book together every month and discussing it online would probably work, too.



August 15, 2005 02:04 PM | Permalink for this comment

One more idea:

An anonymous group minister blog where ministers could clue us mere church members like myself in on how best to treat our ministers (if we have you over to dinner with a bunch of other folks from the church, is that work for you?) and we could ask y'all questions like "What's the weirdest thing somebody's ever asked you to bless?"


Clyde Grubbs:

August 15, 2005 04:47 PM | Permalink for this comment

I understand the need that Chalicechick is writing about, laypeople deserve to know what minister's think about their relation to the people among whom they minister.

But I am concerned about the idea of a group of ministers under the clock of anonymity speaking for other clergy. I would hope, we should be able to speak to this question openly and without fear of being known for our views.

For me, to be with congregants is work, I enjoy my work, and I love to eat with congregants....but occasionally I like to take my shoes off and that I don't feel empowered to do that with congregants.


August 15, 2005 05:27 PM | Permalink for this comment

An interesting possibility is the blog that Henry David Thoreau is writing these days...

Yes, no kidding. Thoreau himself is rewriting his famous journal on the web, with each day matching the entry for the same day in 1853!

Of course this is a "ghost writer" (never a better term". Greg Perry, the owner of the blog, explains that his plan is that "each blog post is an excerpt from that day's entry in the Journal, and although not necessarily the complete entry, it is an integral and intact section thereof."

So here you are, a new/old blog representing a Transcendental journal by a fictional/true character writing now/then. Enjoy.

The address is, of course:


August 15, 2005 05:29 PM | Permalink for this comment

(((For me, to be with congregants is work, I enjoy my work, and I love to eat with congregants....but occasionally I like to take my shoes off and that I don't feel empowered to do that with congregants. )))

That was pretty much what another minister said to me once.

And it never would have occured to me that one of my parties was anything but good conversation and fun if she hadn't.

To be honest, I was pretty much throwing out ideas. But I envision the "ask-a-minister" blog as more a panel discussion than one person speaking for all.

But since we're remotely on the topic:

What's the weirdest thing anybody's ever asked you to bless?

(I'm guessing dogs and cats are up there. But I don't know. I think Mary-who-Dances was asked to bless a new car once.)


Clyde Grubbs:

August 15, 2005 05:53 PM | Permalink for this comment

The idea of a panel of ministers on topics of this sort is interesting, I think I might round up a crew of young/old, male/female, serious/comic and give it a try - I feel called to do that. (My objection was to anomyous pontificating, it think it smacks of Rome.

Wierd blessings? I have done dogs and cats at animal blessing services, people love those things, get folks who never come to come. I have done boats and houses. Don't think blessings are wierd.

What I found weird to bless is the weird wedding idea, and I have many wierd wedding requests. Since James Luther Adams pointed out weddings are public covenants, so I avoid the weird weding. But it would be a good blog panel...line drawing and all.


August 15, 2005 07:42 PM | Permalink for this comment

Anonymous was so you could tell us how you hate to perform weddings without worrying about last week's bride reading your blog and getting all weepy.


Clyde Grubbs:

August 15, 2005 07:53 PM | Permalink for this comment


well I guess we need to know when to hold, and when to fold.

I am so idealistic, I thought my colleagues that hated to do weddings didn't do them. How silly of me.


August 16, 2005 05:22 PM | Permalink for this comment

Well, I guess if you like religious stuff you can check out my religious blog or my personal one

Let me know what you think! :)



August 17, 2005 12:01 PM | Permalink for this comment

I started a group blog for military affiliated UUs ( after our GA program on UUs in the Military. So far it hasn't gone very far. I have no other experience with group blogs except Coffee Hour, which also seems to be languishing lately.

Jason Pitzl-Waters:

August 17, 2005 01:16 PM | Permalink for this comment

I oversee a multi-author modern Paganism blog called "The Juggler"

It isn't updates as often as I would like but it has been rolling forward for over a year now.

Dan Harper:

August 18, 2005 09:34 PM | Permalink for this comment

Philocrites, I hadn't really given much thought to a group blog, but by a rather circuitious route it leads to another path I've been following.

Recently, I've been reading a translation of Basho's literary prose ("Basho's Journey," trans. David Barnhill, SUNY Press 2005), and enjoying the way that Basho incorporates stanzas of poetry written by travelling companions and friends into his own work. Japanese literature has this whole tradition of renga poems, where one person starts off the poem by writing a stanza, and then each poet in turn contributes another stanza, until there are 36, or 100 (depending on the school of poetry) stanzas -- usually, a master such as Basho set the overall tone for the poetry. All this goes against our individualistic traditions in Western literature, and we can't copy this idea wholesale, but it's something I've been musing over.

I've also been finding theological inspiration in Japanese litearture. Much Japanese literature has an attitude towards nature that I find theologically exciting -- human beings as a part of nature not separate from it, and no concept of wilderness (which can slide into a kind of human/cosmos dualism). I'm thinking that this non-dualism is related to the literary aesthetic that allows group poems.

And the Japanese genres of travel literature, and diary literature, provide models of how to write intimately but without revealing way too much about yourself. I don't think there's any non-dualism at work here, just a different balance between personal and private that's worth learning from.

While I really like Japanese literature, I know I'm a Westerner at heart. I think I'd find it equally hard to write a group blog, as to write renga poetry -- I just don't have it in me. But maybe there are other ways....

As an example (maybe) of another way, recently my older sister (who teaches writing at Indiana University East) and I took a week-long road trip together, and we each blogged daily, referring to and cross-linking to each other's blogs over that week-long stretch. It was a blast! --and I think we both wrote the better for the interaction.

Not that what we did was anything totally new, but it's another little step along a path. If my sister and I had tried to write a group blog together, we would have killed each other. But writing in parallel, and using the power of hypertext to cross-link as we wrote, allowed us to engage in a kind of group effort that felt true to the medium of blogging, went beyond the weak linking of comments and trackbacks, and took us further down a path of exploration.

In any case, what I hope about blogging is that we don't all get bogged down by the relatively narrow conventions of current blogging efforts. I see blogging as just one more small step in the evolution of hypertext literature. I hope we allow new blog/hypertext genres to evolve that are consonant with the evolving medium, and I hope we'll continue to explore the nature of hypertext including not just static links, RSS feeds, comments and trackbacks, but cross-linked blogs, group blogs, and beyond.

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