Folks may have noticed that I have been blogging less over the past year than in previous years. The change is easy to explain. I have been reading challenging material (like Aquinas and Bonaventure) that really is beyond my training, capabilities, and competence. And because it is new and difficult, it takes me considerably longer to read and assimilate (to the extent I can assimilate it)–and even longer to write about. Four years ago I could pump out a new article every few days. Today it takes me one or two weeks.
There is also another difficulty: my brain does not work nearly as well as it used to. My intelligent days seem to be gone. Today I sit down to read and do not remember what I have read, and so have to read and reread the same material over and over. Even then comprehension of the material may not be achieved. My doctor assures me that this is not uncommon for a man in his mid-sixties, but it’s still worrisome. I fear the onset of dementia. I have dozens and dozens of unread books in my library. I hate to think they will remain unread because of the loss of mental ability. Getting old is a bitch. Where are those darn car keys?
I do not know what the future of Eclectic Orthodoxy may be. I know that the blog is attracting less people than it once did. This may suggest that readers are not interested in the topics I am now writing on. It may suggest that readers have noticed the deterioration in the quality of my writing. It doesn’t really matter. I blog principally for my own benefit. I write to try to understand what I have read. If others find my articles interesting and helpful, well and good; if not, well and good. That probably means that I will continue to blog into 2018 but at a slower pace.
There was a time when I enjoyed theological and ecclesiastical debate. Today it interests me very little. The contention disturbs my equanmity. Since the death of my son, I find that I am shedding my opinions on a whole host of matters. Most of my opinions are grounded in bias and prejudice, and if I am honest, they always have been. They ain’t worth arguing about and certainly not worth defending. I am an ignorant man. Today I think of opinions–my opinions, your opinions–as rooted in passion and disordered desire. They do not draw me closer to God, and they certainly do not help my fellow man. Do I really need to trumpet my views on the political, cultural, ecclesiastical, and moral issues of the day, especially when I am uninformed about most of them and will likely never know what I am talking about? Is the world made a better place by me tweeting my ignorance? Is democracy strengthened or undermined by all the strident opining? Do your opinions become better informed having been informed by mine? As Dirty Harry quipped: “Opinions are like ass-holes. Everybody has one.” Of course, that’s just my opinion.
I am finding that at this point of my life I want to read more fiction. I want to reread the Iliad. Yes, I’ve already read it at least five times, but I want to read it yet again. Perhaps this time I can persuade Hector not to wait for Achilles outside the gates of Troy. I want to reread the Silmarilion. I want to read and reread the fantasy fiction of George MacDonald (Phantastes is next up). I want to read at least one William Faulkner novel. I read some Faulkner back in my college days. I didn’t really enjoy him then. Perhaps I wasn’t mature enough. Perhaps it was all the reefer I was smoking. Regardless, I want to revisit Yoknapatawpha County. I want to read a novel or two by Walker Percy. God willing, I will definitely read Dante’s Paradiso. I tried once and quickly gave up. This time, though, I’m going to have a commentary at hand. And of course, there is still Moby Dick. I have tried to tackle it twice in the past five years. Each time I found it impossible. Perhaps that simply means it will always be beyond my sympathies. “Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” Needless to say, the more time I spend reading fiction, the less time I’ll have for blogging.
Yet as blogging becomes more difficult for me, my prayer life is changing, for the better …