All things considered, it seems appropriate that I chose April Fools’ Day to launch my blogging “career,” such as it has been, lo, these 10 years. Like most creative endeavors, you don’t really know what it actually is until it’s already underway. And – surprise, surprise – I sort of turned out to be a kind of court jester. You know how those jesters are, they can be bluntly meteoric or even metaphoric, sometimes snark or perhaps just stark, a little ironic and maybe sardonic. They also seem to say a lot of mysterious things that just don’t seem to make sense at the time, but eventually become unveiled. Yeah. That seems to be a fit.
I started up blogging on April 1, 2003, mostly because the good people leading the WabiSabi event in Austin, Texas, felt I needed to. That event was to bring together polar opposites and maintain the paradox in order to bridge the gaps between older generations with younger, men and women, emerging paradigms with conventional. Afterwards, some of the key organizers told me enough talk, now write. They included Andrew Jones, Shannon Hopkins, and Jessica Stricker. A lot of others encouraged along the way that first year or so especially, including The Austin Gang and The Dallas Gang. It may have seemed an odd endeavor at first for me. But, in retrospect, I’m very glad that I stuck with it.
It never became about being in The Top 250 Christian Blogs. I knew/know my blogs are not designed to be hipster and popular. Mostly they’re for church leaders and social entrepreneurs who are just plain tired of the conventional paradigms and ministries structures, and also tired of more deconstruction of them. I have focused on practical help for when readers are ready to start (re-)constructing a preferred future. So, blogging became about three key things for me:
- To capture the questions I was having … and I do mostly work from questions. In fact, about 15 years ago, I was introduced when giving a guest lecture on culture and contextualization as one who was “working on answers to questions that no one else was asking yet.” And most of my questions the past 20 years have been about culture, contextualization, organizational systems, and the missional movement as the best hope for a balanced and preferrable future.
- To process ideas that I was thinking about, with the odd notion that if I was thinking about a topic just maybe others were and they might be interested in what I had to say. That started out mostly with my own peeps, but a few ripples went out from there and other people found something intriguing to chew on in one or more of my blogs.
- To be generous as possible with whatever giftings I’d been given. This was really something that Andrew Jones has always stressed in blogging, and it’s something I’ve seen embodied as a lifestyle of missional stewardship by Andrew and Debbie Jones and their family. Their gracious hospitality and being people of peace left its mark on my spirit, and I am grateful to them for that – and just for being wonderful friends since, well, the last millennium.
Sometime soon I’ll be reposting my very first post and its introduction, from the first week of April 2003. It was “The Frodo Syndrome,” and the topic was the melancholy that people on both sides of the divide experience in the shifting of paradigms from modern to post-modern friendly, and generational leaders from Builders and Boomers to Busters and Beyonders. This was written the month of the Austin WabiSabi event. And maybe I’ll also post some other analysis pieces about things I’ve learned from my blogging experiences. Til then, I’ll leave you with some Top 5 and Top 10 lists that capsulize some of my thoughts and findings from looking at 10 years of blogging.
Meanwhile, thanks for dropping by, hope you find something of interest here, and please add your comments to this post!
Five Pieces of Advice About Blogging
- Your blog needs to match who you are, even if it means a micro-blog for people with a special interest or particular reading level, or multi-blogs to express more of who you are. I’ve created nearly 20 blogs in 10 years, and 8 are still going – 5 are mine and 3 were to help out friends. All 8 have very specific readerships – missional movement, specific movie/media interests, culture and contextualization, identifying systems that are spiritually abusive.
- It takes long to write short. Many of my articles are dense because that’s how they exit my brain and it takes too long to edit them into multiple smaller pieces. But, to write something that can use a sound editing than to write nothing and leave a void of silence. And I am a research writer, doing “primary source” writing from an insider activist perspective – not simply digesting the ideas/blog posts/articles/books of someone else. It’s hard to write when it’s original material, especially if it is responding to questions others aren’t asking very often yet.
- Be generous, because we are connected. We get ideas from others; we need to give ideas to others. Share as much as you feel comfortable with, and maybe push yourself to give 5% more.
- Virtual communities can become important sources of encouragement, fellowship, and discernment. So, participate at least occasionally with others in online experiments and experiences. It has opened up new ideas and new friendships for me by collaborating on unique online experiences like: the Missional Synchroblog and the Missional Order Group in 2008. The Missional Tribe experiment in about 2009-2010. Barb Orlowski’s doctoral research Spiritual Abuse Survey in 2008 that led to my blogging here and elsewhere on spiritual abuse recovery from 2008-now. Connecting with Peggy from OR and Oz mates-down-under Matt and Mike through co-commenting on Alan Hirsch’s blog, and then all of us forming The Virtual Abbey. I wouldn’t have survived IRL without these vIRtuaL peeps …
- You don’t have to continue every blog you start, but it is good to persevere a while and see where each one takes you. Same with reading other people’s blogs that fit with your interests. Invest yourself by contributing through thoughtful commenting. Help create online learning communities of participation instead of celebrity consumption.
Top 10 Articles (average hits per year since posted)
- Seven Mountains Movement / Dominionism (2008) – 2,000 hits per year
- Key Transitions in Church Systems in the next 10 to 15 Years (2007) – 600
- Frank Viola’s Three Questions on the Meaning of Missional (2008) – 550
- Reflections on Malignant Ministries and God’s Mercies Thereafter (2012) – 450
- Veteran’s Day 2011 ~ And “Buddy Poppies” (2011) – 400
- Frank Herbert’s Dune and the Uses/Abuses of Power and Foresight (2011) – 360
- Recovery from Spiritual Abuse: Part 1 – Five Personal Lessons from My Surviving Toxic Leaders (2008) – 300
- Willow Creek REVEAL #1 (2007) – 200
- Kingdom Leadership After Lakeland: Part 1 – Discernment and the Costly Descent into Darkness (2008) – 160
- Parallel Culture becoming Counter-culture (2008) – 125 [currently removed for editing]
Top 10 Tutorial Pages (total number of hits)
- Harry Potter Notes – 3,000 hits total
- About Opal Design Systems Research and Development – 1,500
- Learning Styles – 700
- Transformational Teamwork – 500
- Transformational Index – 500
- Quadruple Bottom Line – 500
- Quadruple Bottom Line Reconfigurations – 450
- Cultural Curriculum Project – 400
- Interpolators – 380
- Trajectory-a – 300
Top 5 Fun Feedbacks on “futuristguy” ~ in person and online
- “I love to talk with Brad – in short doses!” (L.)
- “I come to your blog and read til my head hurts.” (J.)
- “Me too!” (brad/futuristguy)
- “I’ll be back.” (A.)
- “… I look for your comments on [spiritual abuse survivor] blogs, your crisp, clear thinking not only puts issues into perspective, you motivate. Thank you …” (BD)
Top 10 Most Curious Internet Searches By Which People Found Their Way To “futuristguy”
- coffee fractal organization
- will we ever be able to “breed superhumans”
- are people who have adhd polymathic
- who is blogging dangerously
- the spiritual meaning of chickadees
- hintergrundbilder ornamente
- tweezers analogy for pastors
- woo hoo Naomi
- is there any recovery from a seared conscience
- messianic cause of sexual addiction
- [BONUS] i am bored that’s why
Winner: Oddest Search Route Leading to a futuristguy Blog:
- how to evangelize a cryogenic [to my now defunct RadoxodaR blog]. My thought: “Now, that would make an interesting FAQ on someone’s site … not sure I wanna respond though.”