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Elder’s New Year’s Resolutions for The Oysters

28 December 2009

 1. Prioritize health, family, and work before the blog

An all-too-frequent occurence is my child coming up to me as I am writing, and requesting that I give her some attention – either in the form of playing games with her, or reading to her. Most of the time when this happens, I ask her to wait. A lot of times, she does wait, and we both end up with substandard “quality-time,” and end up going to sleep way too late.

I have also been putting off establishing a time for family devotions and worship. Work and health – I have important projects here, too.

2. Know when to declare victory

I started this as a watchdog blog aimed at DSO. Since its inception, I have been awarded a spot in StandFirm’s prestigious blogroll. I have garnered the occasional support of good clerics from both within and outside of DSO. I have established a reputation among fellow bloggers as a blog that (per Per Christum), “chronicles the fight for orthodoxy within the Episcopal diocese of Southern Ohio.”

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. 

2a. Write less frequently

Since about the time of Bp. Briedenthal’s announcement of his intent to allow SSB’s within the diocese, it has been my unofficial goal to produce at least one article each day between Monday and Saturday, with only “time off” on Sunday. I think I was afraid that if I stopped for even a weekday, that my readership would disappear overnight.

Honestly, the pace has been killing me.

At the same time, I do think that a factor to the success of the blog is a committment to blog several times during the week. Therefore I will retain this goal (scaling back to three or four articles per week, back from the minimum of six). Exceptions to the rule would be breaking news and articles written by other contributors.

…And this time, I really mean it. 😉

(..and to prove it, I’m publishing this on Monday of New Year’s week, rather than Saturday of Christmas week).  🙂

2b. Write better articles, more consistently

I am proud of some of my less popular articles – like e.g., the one about Detroit Casinos. At the same time, I cringe when I think of others. The one about finding artwork for the blog, really is an orphan as far as I am concerned, and should have stayed that way. I may simply create an “off-topic” category and force myself to use it, as a way to stay on course.

Yet another reason why the writing everyday from Monday thru Saturday thing, is toast

2c. Cut out the dead wood

Okay, okay, I get it – The quotation articles are annoying. Poor Norman Cota (“Gentlemen, we are being killed on the beaches. Lets go inland and be killed.“), not to mention TR, are taking a beating. Time to retire (officially) the quotations as a staple – they simply are not being read.

2d. “Accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, yada-yada..”

Another goal of mine has been to find other DSO Episcopal laity who could write for this blog on a semi-regular basis. The ultimate point to that would be to be able to take a vacation without working twice as hard before and after (not to mention, burn out on blogging entirely).

I accept that within DSO, there may not be another guy (er, ‘person’) like me or Nasty, Brutish, and Short (as far as I know, the only two conservative DSO bloggers);

I also accept the possibility (but not the inevitability) that The Oysters may be partially or wholly defunct, at some point.  😦

.. though, not in the foreseeable future.  😉

2e. Stop obsessing over stats

Sometimes stats are a valuable metric (e.g., I used stats to figure out that the quotation-articles weren’t working); and sometimes, they are not. ‘The Rapture’ took me about an hour to create all-told, and so far is the fourth most read posting. On the other hand, some of the articles in the series on the Wisteria campground took a lot of time, yet garnered not very many readers. I stand by both articles as appropriate and worthy of The Oysters.

So, the lesson I need to take to heart is that I need to be true to my goals for this blog first, and (while also cutting out the dead wood) the popularity of individual articles, second.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen – someone will cut my pay? 😉

3. Sharpen my existing set of goals for The Oysters

Sarah Hey really nailed it the other day. StandFirm recently highlighted an article that may have been written by what may well be a baby Christian, and she (i.e., Sarah) made this comment to a certain (sometimes) overly zealous commenter: 

“I think people distinguish between leaders of the church and merely new converts [if such they are].

I have no idea if this woman is regenerate—and thus on a life-long path of learning to know and believe the Truth—or merely in a “religious phase” that gives her some temporary peace and hope. Five years from now, she could be out of the church and out of her phase. Or she could be as conservative as you. ; > ) I expect it all depends on whether her arrival in a church—such as it is—springs from the regenerating spark of the Holy Spirit. Or merely from a slight indigestion.

But most of the people who get denounced on this blog are purported leaders of the Church. I personally distinguish between those two. Leaders of the church don’t get to indulge in—[to quote from one of my favorite lines of Radner’s latest essay]—“ignoring Eucharistic discipline and the responsibilities of being “stewards of the mysteries” of Christ; altering the gifts of liturgical order on personal whims, spewing misinformation from pulpits while indulging idiosyncratic spiritual predilections with complete disdain for the gifts of former generations.” “

I’ve intuitively (and implicitly) proceeded with this philosophy in mind.  Perhaps it’s time to be more explicit about that. 

4. Sharpen my next set of goals for The Oysters

And now that I mention it, I really need a viable mission statement for this blog.

5. Identify and pursue other innovative ways to serve the Lord, in addition to this blog.

‘Nuff said.

6. Stop fawning over Bp. Briedenthal’s conservative streak.

A couple of you have called me on this, and I have relented somewhat.

I still say that there is a coming struggle between clerics like Bp. Briedenthal and the Spongians, and I still think it will be news (especially here, I promise you that).

But in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t put on this earth to save other people from the troubles they are intent on creating for themselves. This I suppose falls into the “things I cannot change,” category… and frankly, it takes away time from those things which I can change.

His leadership might not warrant any ranking whatsoever on my ‘A-list’ of preferred bishops, but it does not warrant a top ranking on my ‘S-list’ of unpreferred bishops, either. 

But anyhow – that’s par for the course, for Traditional Episcopalians. 


7. Nail down a routine

I discovered early that breaking news is inconveniently infrequent, in those times when it is not happening too fast. To counter the effect of dwindling readership during those times, I started doing other things – fisking, the (De)Motivational series, and movie reviews. These last two had the benefit of being “palate cleansers” to me, and I suspect, to some of you. In as much as they have helped me avoid depression and burnout, I’m gonna have to keep ’em; even though they don’t directly serve the purpose of this blog, as eloquently stated by Per Christum. 😉 Routines for other things though – fisks (e.g.,) I haven’t figured out. I’m going to play around some more before I nail anything down. 

8.  Refine my Google alerts

Though how exactly .. I’m not sure. 

9.  Read the “WordPress for Dummies,” book I had purchased

..and pick out one or two ‘low-hanging fruit’ things to implement for The Oysters.  

..Well, as they say, that is it. 

– Elder

  1. Fr. Theoden
    31 December 2009 at 3:35 PM

    Congratulations on recognition well-deserved, Oyster. An admirable maiden voyage, indeed. We are blessed to have you offer your gifts in this engagement with the Enemy. Godspeed for 2010. We need ya. As far as your retrospection, review, understandable hand-wringing, I offer you this “pearl” from no less an Anglican navigator of culture than T.S. Eliot:

    “Do not say, farewell, Voyager, say “fare forward.”

    1. In a spirit of fraternal affection, I particularly commend your strategic vision in #6 above. Fawning is unbecoming even for syncophants. Your blogging gifts are manifestly more worthy–and far more urgently needed– than that.

    2. Further, your #6B –the intra-revisionist conflict you deem imminent between +TB and the uber-leftists–while of archival interest, is imho not to the DSO faithful on the order of our salvation. You can’t report what hasn’t happened yet.

    3. By contrast, +TB’s overall stewardship of the mysteries entrusted to him is. Focus on that. Let the larger national blogs be your colleagues, as they have already indicated, in contextualize this local terrain and situation in the national TEC metamorphisis into a neo-Catholic heterodox cult.

    I think of you as a war correspondent. To elevate you into that pantheon, I’ll liken you to no less a trench journalist than Ernie Pyle on Omaha on D-Day. You are our eyes and ears reporting a local, tactical theater of engagemet with the Enemy. God has put you here for a reason. Methinks you should focus like a laser beam on +TB’s manifestly heterodox behaviors, actions, inactions, prevarications. Call them for what they are, take off your rose-colored glasses, etc., etc.

    Whether he will be eaten alive by his own is of historical interesting, but we can safely guess that it is a question of when, not if. It is not salient to our faithful here in DSO who are either already gone, starving to death, or, worse, spiritually somnabulent. Perhaps you can help alert those DSO faithful wose Christian consciences are so dulled they are morally asleep. Leave the national leftist fratricide for another day.

    Happy New Year, and keep up the good work!

  2. Elder Oyster
    1 January 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Thank you Fr. Theoden; both for the kind words, and for giving me a lot to chew on. My guess is that I will be referring back to your comment, more than once.

    – Elder

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