When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to create yet another weblog and thus add to the verbiage already cluttering the blogosphere, exercising the verbal and mental abilities which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God have bestowed upon us, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that one should declare the causes which impel him to do such a thing (shamelessly paraphrased from someone much smarter than me).
This personal blog is something I have pondered doing for several years, and finally, “impelled” by wife, daughter and others, have taken the plunge. Will anyone read it? I hope so – but that’s not really the point of this blog. It’s for me as much as anyone else – my interests, my thoughts and words (and the thoughts and words of others), and my interactions with the thoughts and words of others.
It’s “eclectic” – from the Greek ἐκλεκτικός, which can be defined as “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources (adjective); or, a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources (noun); selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles; or, composed of elements drawn from a variety of sources, systems, or styles.”
Because I spent the last seven years co-editing a new hymnal – Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs – much of my consciousness is still oriented in that direction. I will continue posting my “Hymn For Today” feature which has been a regular aspect of my Facebook page since last June.
But my interests are broader and more diverse (eclectic) than hymnology, extending to history, religion, language, broadcast media, sports, and more: much of the broad range of human endeavor and achievement. I taught history in a state university for a number of years (history of religion, journalism, science and technology, the history and impact of “significant events,” e.g., World War II or the American Civil War, as well as the obligatory “survey” courses) before “declaring victory” and retiring from the field. History is arguably the broadest of the liberal arts, since one can, after all, write a history of nearly anything. Additionally, in a brief spurt of insanity during my long and checkered past, I did some news broadcasting (NPR and CBS affiliates).
Partly my “eclecticism” is due to my more-or-less typical baby-boomer career path of eight different jobs in three different “careers.” Some people have said that I just haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. My retort is: “Why grow up? No future in that!”
But the one common interest which binds all these eclectic disciplines together is, for me, religion – and the quest to understand the meaning of it all. Much of my adult life has been spent working as a minister – sometimes “bi-vocational,” supporting my family by working in the “secular” marketplace; often fully supported by churches. Much of my work has been with small-to-medium-sized, independent congregations whose stated intent is to be “Christians only” and attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus and his first disciples – those He sent out as apostles to spread and share the gospel of God’s grace. Thus, this blog has a decidedly Christian orientation.
Some individual blogs will celebrate the joys and hazards of living in suburban Chicago and the diverse (eclectic) advantages of a truly global city – as well as the agonies and ecstasies of following daBears, Bulls, Blackhawks and, of course, the Cubbies (World Champions, 1908).
The format of some of the blog , a series of “Footnotes,” is a nod to my former academic career. I cite a source in more-or-less standard academic format, and then reproduce a quotation or segment from some eclectic source. Sometimes I may feel a need to comment; sometimes not. Some of them may be “explanatory” footnotes, like this one. I stole this format shamelessly a few decades ago from one of my academic mentors who long ago abandoned the practice. Perhaps I will re-cycle portions of a series of “Footnote” articles I wrote several years ago in the “popular” (non-academic) press. At this stage it’s probably too late to come up with something else which is new and clever.