Lo! from the north we come - from east and west and south.

I've been thinking about the internet and use of it. Through my own musings and some contact with others recently, I have begun to think that being so open about things (although there are many things that I do not post that I could, as they are within the realm of this blog, but I would prefer not to), may well be a little more detrimental to relationships an my wellbeing than is ideal.

I know that this post in itself is a little ironic, but I felt it worth seeking people's thoughts about this. You see, I don't really have people nearby with whom I can speak about the things that I share here and on discussion forums. It could be considered rather sad, but the interaction that I have here is the most support I regularly get, and will be until I am able to go to and from my new church with more regularity. I can share my thoughts and feelings here, and can discuss doctrinal issues here and elsewhere. I don't think that I have come to rely on the contact here as a substitute for real life conversation, but it serves as a very useful and helpful source of information and support. That said, I'm not sure it's entirely a good idea to keep on.

Too many people saw a recent post of mine as a personal attack on them, which was unfortunate, but this is the sort of thing that I don't want to happen again.

8 responses:

Anonymous said...

Michael, you always get people who are a bit sensitive who may misinterpet. Don't let them get you down. Steady on, young man.

Jack the Lass said...

I know what you mean - sometimes I feel a bit like "ooh, I'm not sure it's a good idea to write 'x' in my blog", and there have been times when I've deleted entire posts as I've thought better of them, but I think that as long as I exercise reasonable caution I've found it more beneficial than detrimental to chuck out ideas (including some quite personal stuff) on my blog for comment/criticism. What I find helpful is that knowing that random people might read what I say helps focus what I write more, whereas if I write in my "for my eyes only" journal it tends to end up as rambling streams of consciousness which is as incomprehensible to me as it would be to anyone else.

I suppose the rule of thumb I use is not to post things if I know that criticism would be hurtful or upsetting (to me or others), or if I think what I'm writing is boring(!), or if I'm writing stuff that would identify other people when they may not be comfortable with that (so for example I don't include stuff about relationships with particular people even though sometimes I'd like to), but that taking risks is OK sometimes. I've found that people tend to warm more to openness and honesty rather than posturing, and I think I've made a number of good online friends from people who read my blog and comment on it, so it's definitely been worth making myself vulnerable sometimes. But I always do that with my limits in mind, if that makes sense.

Sorry I'm a bit rambling here (it's been a long day!). My 2p - carry on drawing benefit from your online discussions, but consider the consequences of personal revelations (something it seems you're already doing). But as anon implied above, sometimes you just can't predict peoples' reactions. I guess you just can't please everyone.

Joe said...

Michael--first of all nothing discussed online can be of as much import as what you get from your Priest. Always ask him, don't simply assume that because the all holy posters of St. E's forum or whatever follow some practice. The online fora do attract real people, but they also the real kooks that come out of the woodwork, although they are seldom seen in church because it is "not Orthodox enough for them" watch out for these people especially.

Other than that, the online world can provide a wonderful way of communicating with others and of good solid learning.

Joe Zollars

Ian said...

Michael,

I for one would be sad if you packed up. Reading your blog and your comments on various fora is a highlight of my day [I suppose that might say something about my life! ;-)]

I can understand your concerns. The wise posters above have hit the nail on the head. While some people were offended by a previous post, at least you discovered how and why they were, and if you feel you need to modify language or tone accordingly, you can. Or, if you feel they were overreacting you can say that and continue. Discussion and an open exchange of views is important.

I have a few friends I discuss church and theology with, but only a few. Ship of Fools and other people's blogs are my main method of communication and discussion on these issues. But, as Joe said, the internet tends to bring out the kooks at times. Everything we read must be taken with a grain of salt; seeing and talking to your priest is the best way to answer questions.

That said, I know that I take the opinions of those people whose occupation/vocation/credentials I know on SoF seriously. Time tells who is giving the Church's teaching and who may be not.

Anyway, waffling. It is always good to consider the purpose of conversation: whether online or face-to-face. My prayers are with you as you consider this.

Anonymous said...

My dear, this is totally unrelated, do excuse me: I thought I would check your blog as I haven't for ages and have to say that your profile pic is totally handsomely fagalicious. Where is the young boy whose pic I saw all those years ago when you first joined SoF? snif snif

Love,
Jimmy.

PS. Don't give up now that I've only just checked your blog!

Michael said...

Jack the Lass, you are no more guilty of rambling than I am (though I'm not sure what that says), and even if you are rambling, you're making perfect sense to me. I need to be more mindful. I think that this ties in with what ian was saying as well.

Joe, wise words. I have seen this sort of internet conservatism, to the point where it has become hostility. I always wonder that these people have axes to grind.

Coot, what happened? He got old and put 3stone on. :D More seriously, thank you. Outrageous flirt!

Ben Johnson said...

Hi Michael,

I'd hate to see the blog go the way of all flesh. Knowing many people who are as liturgically isolated as you are, I think the online interaction is important; admitted, not as good as personal interaction, but....

God bless you, and I hope no one will get you down.

God bless,
Ben Johnson

Merseymike said...

Whilst i can't really empathise with the views and approach you now advocate, I too find reading your blog interesting and enlightening - though I'm still at a loss to understand why you came to these conclusions, perhaps because what you value and appreciate doesn't have that same appeal to me.

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