Recently, Ann, an Episcopal priest friend of mine, asked for some of my thoughts about why I consider my own weblogging (blogging) and visiting the blogs of like minded folks (blogwalking) as a form of spiritual practice. Somewhere in the Sacred Ordinary archives I have a post about this, but darned if I can find it.
People unfamiliar with our cutting-edge genre (yeah, right) would probably agree with Wikipedia’s definition of blogging in general: A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a website where regular entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and presented in reverse chronological order. Blogs often offer commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are primarily textual although many focus on photographs, videos or audio. The word blog can also be used as a verb, meaning adding an entry to a blog.
So, Ann, in response to your question about considering my blog as spiritual practice, it all began with Natalie Goldberg’s 1985 book “Writing Down the Bones,” a primer for all of us who keep journals and diaries. She speaks of writing as spiritual practice and though I had always considered my journals a form of spiritual practice, it was the first time I had thought about writing per se in this way.
When I began Sacred Ordinary in November 2003, it was always about keeping track of my daily life with intention. Soon I found that blogging was yet another form of spiritual practice for me—along with centering prayer/meditation, private and community ritual, spiritual reading, and group psycho/spiritual work. Since then, I post fairly consistently and regularly, even if it is only a few lines some days. Though it is nice to have people leave comments or e-mail you as a result of an entry, I do it for me—not you, I must admit. And the majority of my entries are more like journal entries, versus disseminating information, promoting causes, or simply pouring out feelings. I do all of those things some days, but that’s the sacred ordinariness of it all. Some entries contain bad language, heretical or liberal thought, and sometimes I’m driven by angst. All in the life of a day. I definitely have come to believe that my love of photography and SoulCollage are also more ways I practice spirituality.
The best definition of what blogging means to me personally is at Quaker Net. This is a rich site with many links to weblogs as spiritual practice. At the Spiritual Directors International Conference this past spring, I was intrigued by a workshop I took about using e-mail, websites and weblogs as tools for spiritual direction—for self, or for people you might not see one-on-one for direction.
Here are a few other blogger’s takes on writing as spiritual practice:
There are contests on the Internet for the best spiritual blogs. Needless to say, mine is not one of them. Sacred Ordinary is definitely not a spiritual blog; it is just me checking in on my life through the perspective on my worldview of things. I like to think that I am open-minded and that my daily musings on this and that are not harmful or cruel.
So, Ann, that’s it in a nutshell—for now, I guess.