I had no idea when I started blogging a little over two years ago that I would learn as much, and be changed as much as I have. I began with a chip on my shoulder of sorts, thinking that I had all the answers but not realizing that I was the unconscious incompetent.(1) It didn't take long however to become the conscious incompetent. But this isn't really a bad place to be when you think about it. I heard once that the man who knows not that he knows not is a fool. So, if nothing else, I did escape "fool" status under that qualification. As the "about this blog" states, the reason for this exercise is the dire need I feel to be sharpened in my ability to engage the world, a world in which my family and I must exist.
These two years have been a love/hate experience. I can't tell you how many times I've quit, only to come back with another post. I keep reminding myself why I’m doing it, which is to learn, and to become sharper. My reasoning was affirmed recently as I listened to a local radio talk show hosted by Andrew Tallman, who admonished his college students to not only listen to the debate going on around us, but to also be engaged in it. By doing so, he said, we learn that it isn’t as easy as it looks and that we have to learn how to present our arguments in a cogent and succinct way, and to take the more difficult step of defending them against what may, on surface level, seem like legitimate assertions and responses. One way of doing this, he said, was blogging.
I had always held virtual relationships in low regard. I assumed that there was something wrong with meeting people on line, people that I would probably never meet in person, and becoming friends. So the last thing I expected was to actually meet people that would eventually become what I would consider friends. One of those people, Jon, I recently did a tribute to for graduating from seminary. Another person my wife and I both have grown to love is Susan from Penless Writer. Somehow we met her blogging in the beginning and I’ve always looked forward to her comments ever since. We have exchanged email conversations and even though I’ve never met her in person, I’m sure that if I were to one day knock on her door, it would seem we were old friends. Such is this new world of blogging and some of the benefits that were unexpected. There is also Nancy who used to correct my spelling. (If you’ve been hanging around here any time at all you know that spelling does not come natural to me. In fact it is atrocious. There have been times that I couldn't even get words close enough for Google to figure it out.) Thank God for spell check. Perhaps one day that tool will even be able to decipher between the correct uses for sew and sow. Thank you so much Nancy, for your ever watchful eye. These are two women that have become closer to our family, than I ever thought possible in cyberspace.
There are many others listed on the “my favorite blogs” to the right including my wife Kathy and Field Lily as well as many other friends whom I know personally and many that I do not. There is Terry D, one of my favorite reads but who has never linked to my blog (wink wink), and Larry, both excellent writers I think. The only person that has transitioned from blogger to personal friend is Stan from Winging it. I learned while reading his blog that he was not only from Phoenix, but was actually my neighbor. We’ve been meeting over coffee and it’s been quite a refreshing time. There is also Neil at the 4Simpsons’ blog at Eternity Matters that I’ve been visiting lately and will hold him to coffee if I’m ever in his neighborhood, which is a very real possibility because we have family that we visit there. Reading these two guys I gain much insight in fighting the good fight on the battlefield of ideas.
Barney and The Bumbling Genius
When I first began blogging my wife suggested The Bumbling Genius as a title. I thought I'd use it as I gave blogging a few dry runs thinking that later I would come up with a more serious title. As you can see, that never happened. I personally have never felt comfortable with the word Genius in the title but the sub-title, I think, kind of takes the edge off to a degree. Anyway, it now is what it is. As for the profile photo, I was watching the Andy Griffith Show one day and as I saw Barney trying to be someone that he wasn't, which was almost always the case, I related with him in a weird sort of way. This gave me the idea to use Barney as a quasi mascot photo. The one here came in a close second place to the photo I choose for my profile page. I thought it matched The Bumbling Genius title pretty well.
Around The Corner
I honestly could, and would, love to write and post every day. But most of my posts come at quite an expense in time; time that I feel prudence would demand is often better spent with my two children. That said, I have begun to feel a certain niche which has given me a clearer direction. This has begun to settle the biggest dilemma I’ve faced in blogging: who am I writing for? Although the answer to that question is still very vague, I believe I am clearer on it now than I was for the first eighty or so posts.
I want to thank everyone who reads this blog for stopping by whether or not you leave comments. I also want to say thanks to those who have left comments, and especially those of you who do so often. Thank you for the much needed encouragement, and even corrections. I would love to respond to all of them, and I try to, but many times I am simply unable.If you're still reading, know that I’ve allowed myself this personal post for this my (finally) one hundredth post. Thank you for indulging me and happy blogging.
(1) This refers to a list of four levels of competence:
- The unconscious incompetent-someone who is incompetent but doesn't yet realize it. This is a person who has only watched something done and is fooled into thinking that it is easier than it actually is
- The conscious incompetent-someone who finds out after attempting something that it is actually more difficult than it looked and realizes that he is incompetent.
- The conscious competent-someone who after practice has become somewhat competent but still must concentrate and pay close attention to be so
- The unconscious competent- someone who is so competent that it is second nature to him.