Friday, August 04, 2006

Reformatting

Over the past few weeks, I've been giving some thought to the nature of this blog and it's future. Over the past year or so, Transforming Seminarian has been my venue to vent and talk about whatever stuff I think is important at the time. My original intention for setting up the blog was to give me a chance to hone my writing skills, and I have been glad for the extra chance to practice and improve. While I've never gotten a huge number of hits here, I have nonetheless been surprised at the diversity of people beyond just the standard "family and friends" that can be expected to read such a venue. Thanks to all of you.

That said, this site is going through a time of change. "Reformatting," if you will (Transformers fans will understand the reference). Some changes have happened already. I'm sure everyone has noticed that I've cut down somewhat on the number of posts I make. Instead of posting nearly every weekday, I've chosen to post closer to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday rotation. I believe that it's better to write when I have something to say rather than just for the sake of meeting a 5-day-a-week deadline, but still wish to have some level of "standard schedule" in place, that I might continue to discipline myself to keep writing. One only improves by doing.

I've also been somewhat intentional in reducing the level of explicitly political commentary. This is not because I am afraid of negative feedback (in fact, the level of such feedback I've gotten has been surprisingly low), but rather because I'm aware that complaining about such matters serves more to sour my own attitude toward the world than it serves to engage people in making positive changes in the world. (Longtime readers will know that this is an issue that I have wrestled with a lot over the past year and a half.)

But now, it's time to make the next step. In addition to the written blog, I'll also be starting a podcast, which will be tied to this page, but be its own entity that is much more explicitly Christian in nature. The podcast is called The Reflectionary, and will be posted on Sunday morning each week. If Transforming Seminarian has been an effort to hone my writing skills, The Reflectionary will be my attempt to practice broadcasting and "radio" speech.

The podcast will be a 10-15 minute weekly program, and will offer three of the lectionary readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (for the time being, I have not included the RCL's weekly reading from the Psalms, nor will I be including readings from the Apocrypha) intended for the following Sunday. I will offer comments and questions for each reading, but will try to keep from making each a "sermon" in any serious fashion. Many of my questions, in fact, will remain open-ended. The intention is to give listeners some advance preparation for what the pastor or priest is likely to talk about in Church the following Sunday (many churches, but certainly by no means all, use the Revised Common Lectionary in their weekly Sunday services. I do not know if churches that meet on non-Sundays would use the same readings, but since most churches do meet on Sundays, it seemed to be the way to go.).

The podcast is set up (assuming I did everything right!) to be subscribed to via standard podcasting programs, and also via iTunes. Starting on Monday, a link to the RSS feed may be found on the right. Also on Monday, you will also find a link to the archive page for The Reflectionary, which will be updated weekly as new programs are added (I'm still working out a kink or two on that page, so while you might stumble on it before then, don't expect anything to work, yet!).

A note on site policy. With the addition of the podcast, I have decided to drop the rule against using my name on the blog. Feel free to call me "Mark" if "B-W" has seemed unnatural to you. I will probably keep the use of my full name in text down to a minimum, so as to avoid spammy search engines. Also, I have made an e-mail link available on the Profile page, which is a new account I set up specifically for this blog and for The Reflectionary. If you have a comment that's not meant for a specific post, or that should be kept private, feel free to use the e-mail.

The Reformatting has begun!

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