meme-fishing

I find it interesting that some combinations of words simply float past our eyes and vanish again, while others resonate with us so much that we want to remember them, share them, retweet them or otherwise let other people know how profound we found them.

The internet is awash with many things but seems to exist (at least the nice parts) in order for people to share cute pictures / videos of kittens and for people to share what have become known as memes. And while many of the memes are disposable, lol-worthy (or at least we lol in our head, if that’s not an oxymoron) others stop and make you think.

The main reason I do this is that it gives me a space in which to reflect and process some of the thoughts that are bouncing around inside my skull. It is first and foremost a personal act which I share with those who choose to muse. If others find help, humour, inspiration, encouragement and blessing in what I create then it blesses me too.

But as I have dug deeper into my limited self-awareness I have found that there’s a part of me that would rather like to be the source for one of these memes. Perhaps I am meme-fishing in the vast waters of cyberspace hoping to get a bite. Beneath the main reason that I write these bloggages, post pictures of Minillennium Falcon and share the musings of Mr QR Grenville-Stubbs and his ‘view from my pew’ maybe subconsciously I am also hoping that the brighter side of the internet will become excited about something I have created and it will go viral.

fishboat

We all like recognition. We like acknowledgement. We like affirmation. And maybe one of the reasons why I (and the myriad of other bloggists out there) release our thoughts into the wild and untamed world wide web is because the occasional ‘like’, ‘retweet’ and ‘share’ provides us with some of that.

And if those of us who have the time, inclination and desire to share some of the more palatable stuff that’s inside our minds with others via blogs, social media and the like do it partly to receive recognition, acknowledgement and affirmation I suspect that it’s something that everyone else would quite like too. So today I am going to look out for more opportunities to recognise, affirm and acknowledge what blesses me about others, and I am going to tell them – regardless of whether it goes viral.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

newsflash

Dear Bloggists

typewriter - permission for blogTomorrow I am having some minor (keyhole) surgery on my shoulder, which may mean that my blogging is curtailed for a little while during the period my shoulder is incapacitated and typing is a bit difficult.

I am sorry to say that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. You have been warned!

In the meantime, be wonderfully blessed and be a massive blessing

just so you know

I am going to be away for a week receiving training in transforming conflict  – mediation and conciliation. This means that I won’t necessarily be lobbing bloggages in your direction this week. I have scheduled a couple that I have prepared earlier just in case you feel too bereft of my bloggerel and pray you’ll have a wonderful week

Be blessed, be a blessing

For anyone who’s interested, here is a review of my blog in 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

kiloblog

Da dada da da da daaaah!
Da dada da da da daaaah!

 

So here we are, my bloggish peeps

as I journal my thoughts like an online Pepys:

I have managed to write a kiloblog*

of entries. It’s been a slog

that has taken me since February

2010 when I began revelatory

ramblings based on the contents

of my brain and events

that happen to occur

from which I infer

some reflections

connections

corrections

and intersections

between God’s brilliance

and my flawed experience

 

Be blessed, be a blessing

*kiloblog=1000 bloggages

em-fassis

cloudNo, you aren’t experiencing some sort of strange cyber double vision. The image in this bloggage* is the category cloud from the blog. I try to tag most of my bloggages. Apparently it makes it easier for people to find me. But it also reveals, through this clever cloud thingy, the emphases in my reflections.

If you aren’t familiar with these cloud thingies, the larger the word the more frequently I have written about that subject. I am pleased about the relative size of those words and how that represents the emphasis of my bloggerel*.

I would love to think that those are also the most popular words used in our church and I hope also that they represent the emphasis of my life. I can’t claim that they always do, but that is my aspiration and ambition.

What would a category cloud of your life look like?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

*If you are unsure about these words, let me explain. ‘Bloggage’ relates to a blog post. ‘Bloggerel’ relates to the words and thoughts within a post.

count me in

MeterIt seems that this is my 900th bloggage. That’s 900 separate posts – probably the best part of 500,000 words with 526 different subject categories and 814 tags spread over just 10 pages. Amazingly I have only used 10% of my space allocation on WordPress. There have been 319 approved comments and I have been protected from 11,717 spam comments.

There have been over 44,000 views of my blog on WordPress (plus 23,000 from when it was hosted elsewhere) and that doesn’t include the people who receive bloggages directly through email. The most views on one day is 375. The largest number of visitors are from Britain (almost half of all visits), followed in order by USA, India, Canada, Australia, Germany and the Philippines. I have had visits on the site from people in 160+ different countries across the globe, which is the vast majority of nation states!

Of course not everyone came to the bloggage to read my bloggerel. Some will have come by mistake – looking for other items through search engines that have somehow linked them to me. The most popular search term that lands people here is… Some of you may recall my joy when the most popular search term was ‘Elmer Fudd’. Indeed I almost made it onto Google’s first page when you searched for ‘Elmer Fudd’ at the height of that silliness! But Elmer Fudd is only 1/3 as popular as the most popular search term that lands people here. What do you think it is?

Jesus?

God?

Christian?

Nope.

It’s ‘Bugatti Veyron’! Which is very interesting because this blog is nowhere near the top of the list of suggestions on the most popular search engine mentioned (but not necessarily endorsed) above.

What does all this tell you? If you only read this information what do you find out about me and this blog? Other than that I am a bit of a statgeek you don’t know much about it. Sadly a lot of people have the same approach about the Christian faith. They know about it (from RE or visits for ‘hatch, match and despatch’ services). They hear about it in the media (often negative). But all they know is about it.

If you want to get to understand my blog and get to know me a bit more (unless you live locally) the best way is to read the bloggages. I’m not suggesting that you have to read them: I would much rather you spent your time trying to find out more about the person who motivates and inspires me – the carpenter from Nazareth who has transformed the world and transcends history. But if it helps you to catch of glimpse of him through me and this bloggage it will have been worth it.

Thank you for visiting: be blessed, be a blessing.

 

statistically speaking again

blog visits

I have noticed a trend with the visits you are making to my blog. When someone else advertises a bloggage lots more of you visit than on the other occasions. That’s what the chart above reveals. The significant peaks in views and visits coincide with the occasions when one of my bloggages was featured on the Baptist Times Daily News Sweep. This encourages those who are not normally bloggists on my site to have a look and see what sort of bloggerel I have generated on that day.

That is interesting in itself but what I also find interesting is that on the subsequent days the number of views and visits drops back to whatever is considered normal. Clearly those visitors did not feel sufficiently inspired to make return visits. Actually (and by way of making myself feel better) these statistics are slightly misleading because (bless you) over 130 of you receive my bloggages each day by e-mail and those stats would show up in the visitor stats because technically you have not visited.

Several reflections occurred to me as I considered the rollercoaster nature of the graph above.

  • word-of-mouth and recommendation are much better ways of advertising than simply being there and waiting to be found.
  • funny headlines and discussing relevant topics may well encourage people to take a look. However…
  • …unless you develop a relationship with your visitors they may well not stay.
  • in the pursuit of increasing the number of regular visitors it is easy to forget those who are already regular visitors and receiving from you.

Perhaps churches ought to learn these lessons too. And if we are unsure perhaps we should contrast it with how Jesus went about things.

Be blessed, be a blessing

Statistics joke:

Aunt Bessie loved to visit her nieces and nephews. However, she had relatives all over the country. The problem was that no matter how much she enjoyed seeing them, she hated flying. No matter how safe people told her it was, she was always worried that someone would have a bomb on the plane.

She read books about how safe it was and listened to the stewardess demonstrate all the safety features. But she still worried herself silly every time a visit was coming up.

Finally, the family decided that maybe if she saw the statistics she’d be convinced. So they sent her to a friend of the family who was an actuary. 

“Tell me,” she said suspiciously, “what are the chances that someone will have a bomb on a plane?” 

The actuary looked through his tables and said, “A very small chance. Maybe one in five hundred thousand.” 

She nodded, then thought for a moment. “So what are the odds of two people having a bomb on the same plane?” 

Again he went through his tables. 

“Extremely remote,” he said. “About one in a billion.” 

Aunt Bessie nodded and left his office. 

And from that day on, every time she flew, she took a bomb with her.

bloggage forecast

Barometer gone haywireFor the first three days of this week I will be attending the Eastern Baptist Association’s Ministers’ Conference. I always find it a blessing when I attend these conferences – sometimes as much for the conversations between sessions as for the sessions themselves. This time we have some people I am very much looking forward to hearing God through – Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, and ‘freelance community theologian’ Ann Morisy.

The reason I am telling you this, my dear bloggists, is not to make you jealous or to thumb my nose at you (metaphorically or literally). It is to alert you to the possibility that this week’s bloggerel supply may be different to whatever counts for normal. I don’t intend to be sitting in these sessions blogging away about what is being said. And I don’t know whether there will be opportunities for me to reflect to you what I have received during the course of the conference. Equally it is possible that there may be more opportunities than normal and I may serve you a series of bloggettes on which to snack during the day rather than the larger bloggages that I usually dispense.

This seems like a good moment to restate why it is that I spend time writing this bloggerel and posting it on t’internet. Initially I blogged for entirely selfish reasons: first and foremost because the discipline helps me to reflect on my life and faith. I find that God speaks to me as I write, or that writing down what he has already said to me helps me to understand it more. I also enjoy a laugh, chuckle or occasionally a groan and the bloggages give me an excuse to look for a joke that may be relevant, or to think humorously about something. And, if I am honest, I also find the gentle increase in the numbers of visitors to this blog simultaneously secretly gratifying and slightly bad for my ego in the same way that cream cakes are for the waistline.

All but the last could be carried out in private, of course, through a journal. But I am a man of the 21st century and the cyber world beckoned to me irresistibly. So I started posting online and heard from some of you that occasionally some of my bloggerel has been helpful to you too. For me that’s an added bonus, a blessing, a joy. So I now add to the reasons a more altruistic thought that God may bless someone through what I write, just as he spoke through inanimate objects like a burning bush and spoke through an apparently stubborn and disobedient donkey.

My prayer as I write is that this will not simply be a place where you visit and receive some blessing occasionally, but that it may inspire you to reflect on your own faith and life. You need not post it on a blog, but if you find that my ramblings have inspired you to think about your own relationship with God, or encouraged you to continue to try to be a good free sample of Jesus, then that thought blesses me more than anything.

So thank you for blessing me with your visit.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

How many Baptist Ministers does it take to change a lightbulb? Change?

How many Baptist Church Meetings does it take to change a lightbulb? Six – mostly dedicated to talking about how good the old one had been.

How many Youth Ministers does it take to change a lightbulb? Who cares, anyone fancy pizza?

How many young people does it take to change a lightbulb? It wasn’t us, we didn’t break the old one.

let them eat cake

CupcakesI noticed that yesterday’s bloggage was number 750. Wow, doesn’t bloggerel fly when you’re having fun? I suspect that this landmark deserves celebrating so please feel free to go and buy yourself a cake in honour of the 750th bloggage.

Assuming an average bloggage contains 500 words, that means that I have released 375,000 words into the world wide web. It may be more because I have not counted them all and 500 words is based on a very unscientific sample of recent bloggages and then reducing the average to take account of shorter bloggages. Gulp.

Of course I have a long way to go to catch up with God. He’s posted about 775,000 words in his blog, aka The Bible. (It depends on which translation you use). Please don’t misunderstand me, I am NOT suggesting that the bloggerel I share here has anything like the status, inspiration, quality and significance of the Bible. But there is one similarity, I hope.

The bloggages I write are generally based on something that I have been pondering, praying about or simply that pops into my head (psychologists analysing the content would have a field day!). And as the Spirit of God is involved in my life I dare to think that he has also been involved in helping me to discern, discover and disseminate these thoughts as far as they are helpful to me, and perhaps will be helpful to others. He was doing the same thing for the people who wrote the 775,000 words in the Bible.

Again, please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that the bloggerel on this site has the same status as the Bible. Oh, no, no, no, no, no! But God is still speaking today through his Spirit. If he could speak to Balaam through his donkey (Numbers 22) then it’s possible he might be able to speak to people through me, through this bloggage, and through you.

That carries with it some responsibility. We need his help to try to ensure that what we say is seasoned with salt and generates light – that they are godly words even if they are not God’s words.

Please God may that be so.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

Clean Christian Jokes suggest the following songs may be appropriate for some biblical characters:

Noah: “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”
Adam and Eve: “Strangers in Paradise”
Lazarus: “The Second Time Around”
Esther: “I Feel Pretty”
Job: “I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues”
Moses: “The Wanderer”
Jezebel: “The Lady is a Tramp”
Samson: “Hair”
Salome: “I Could Have Danced All Night”
Daniel: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
Joshua: “Good Vibrations”
Peter: “I’m Sorry”
Esau: “Born To Be Wild”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: “Great Balls of Fire!”
The Three Kings: “When You Wish Upon a Star”
Jonah: “Got a Whale of a Tale”
Elijah: “Up, Up, and Away”
Methuselah: “Stayin’ Alive”
Nebuchadnezzar: “Crazy”