Most of us have heard the old quip, made famous in Annie Hall, about a meal in which the food is terrible—and the portions are too small. Recently I heard the inverse complaint made many times about this fledgling blog: The content is great—and there’s too much of it!
Initially, I was sympathetic since I was beginning to have the same concern. But then it dawned on me that this is a bizarre objection that reflects our fast-food mentality toward information. Not only do we think that all worthwhile content has to be delivered to us right now but we feel as if it has to be consumed in one sitting. Otherwise, why bother with it at all?
But many—if not most—of the posts on this blog are meant to be timely while not being constrained by the calendar. All of the discussions so far will be as relevant next week, next month, or next year, as they are today (or would have been yesterday).
Indeed one of the goals of this blog is to fight the pernicious effects of the type of information consumption that discourages the placement of issues and events into a larger or deeper context. As historian C. John Sommerville once noted, the very survival of the news business depends on our seeing life as jumpy and scattered rather than as falling into a historical pattern or embodying some philosophical outlook. The constant need to find new events to talk about tends to displace any serious attempt to discuss the historical and philosophical implications of such events.
Its certainly true that we want to create a blog that is entertaining, relevant, and interesting on a daily basis. But as evangelicals we also want to take an eternal perspective, recognizing that we are part of a narrative that doesn’t always fit into the contraints of Internet time. We don’t want to be long-winded and dull, of course. But most discussions of lasting significance can’t be distilled into a soundbite-sized blog post.
So if you’re having trouble keeping up with the content, try this: Read this blog on your own schedule. Don’t worry about finishing every post every day. Save some of the threads for when you have more time to read—and digest—them. If we can use our DVRs to “timeshift” our favorite TV shows and catch up on entire series on DVD, why can’t we do the same for blogs? Why do we have a need to “finish” a blog’s daily content in the same day it was produced?
Many blogs can be successful by tapping into the microzeitgeist, focusing on what is going on . . . right . . . now. Evangel is not one of those blogs. If you don’t think our content will be worth reading two or three days from now, then we have failed—for that means it probably isn’t worth reading at all.