Famous Last Words

Blogging today, when you are a nobody like me, is a little like small-scale organic farming. You show up at the inefficient but quaint farmer's market each week, dutifully. People love your fresh brown eggs and parsnips. You might even have a unique treat you're known for, like home-grown morrells or apple-cider donuts, that draw a faithful dozen to your stand week after week. It's a nice group of people who meander through. The county newspaper did an article on your enterprise that highlighted the role of the local farmer. You know your efforts are not really 'worth it' the way big ag would calculate it, and you have to take a second job off the farm, but you are 'adding value' through community building, sustainable development, and micro-harvesting, and giving people a connection to their food with the hands who produced it. There is value there, an idealism being kept alive because of the people who support it.

I've been writing on Blogger since 2007, when blogging was in its prime. I had an eclectic blog titled Rob's Fobs that I retired after eight years. It consisted of poetry, short stories, plays, inventions, musings, and struggles with mental health. In 2015 I wanted to have a blog focused more narrowly on my life of faith, how I lived as a Catholic man, a husband, father, and disciple of Jesus Christ. Anything not having to do with faith, family, marriage, chastity, or discipleship I consciously omitted or (saved for Facebook). This was Wisdom and Folly. Prior to 2007, I blogged on (wait for it)...MySpace. I have always written, whether it was on scraps of lined notebook paper folded in the back pocket of my Gap corduroys in high school, or on a small NEC laptop in a rented room in Mexico, or pumping quarters into a desktop computer at an internet cafe in Bangkok...I've always written.

Blogging has always been a nice outlet for me. I've never tried to monetize my blog, and I'm proud of that for whatever reason. As the pastor Francis Chan said, "money makes people do weird things." I don't fault anyone for trying to make some bucks from their writing; I just felt I'd rather pick up trash from the curb and resell it on Craigslist as a way to bring in some extra cash rather than taint something I treat as a kind of sacred recreation. Writing, especially when it comes to matters of faith, isn't really valued among the general populace. Why should it be? Christ the Lord offers the Gospel as a means of salvation for all who would accept it free of charge, though it is worth more than the finest gold. And what percentage of the population joyfully hear it, take it to heart, and keep it close to their breast?

I like to offer what I write as a gift to whomever it may bless. I'm a 'take what's useful and leave the rest' kind of guy, and I imagine some of my readers are as well. I'm not big on exploiting controversy or capitalizing on the latest Church scandal or leveraging liberal nonsense as part of a conservative mouthpiece. I just write about what I feel prompted to write about as it comes, and if it pertains to faith, I entrust that intuition to the Holy Spirit to bless my efforts and keep me from error. Sometimes I'll jot down a few keywords on a bar napkin, or make a mental note during a homily at Mass, or get up in the middle of the night to pen something and stake it to a page before it expires. Writing is a compulsion and a curse. Always has been for me. A blessing and a curse.

I have always felt close to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote,

"But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." (Jer 20:9)

Writers, even secular ones, know this to be painfully true, this spiritual constipation. Writers write. That's why blogging today feels like a lonely enterprise...because it's really not about the writing anymore. It's about SEO, monetizing, building your network, ad revenue, pay per click, etc. Though I love to write, I'm wondering if blogging has been co-opted enough that it's lost it's plausability as a legitimate hosting platform. That's a hard pill to swallow when you've invested, oh, the past 15 years or so building and feeding your blog with content. I did a XML export of all my blog content (367 posts over the past three years at Wisdom and Folly) for PDF/docx conversion, and it's a LOT. I want to keep it. I know my wife wants to keep it. It's the public part I'm struggling with.

I am not a journaler. What I write, I write to share. If no one is going to read it, I usually don't write it. This is a double-edged sword. Writing for an audience hones and focuses your content and helps you develop your voice and style, but it's hard to detach from the need for validation, to know what you're writing is being read, to track stats and analytics. So much ego in writing, and so wily. There is also the privacy aspect, and for my family's sake, the desire to keep a lower profile, and not to exploit those tender private moments I have with my children, as I am wont to do, for the world to see.

Some people have encouraged me to consider writing a book. At this point I have no plans to, but with the blog off the table, maybe it will move me closer to consideration. I will continue to write for Catholic Stand and maybe work on branching out to other Catholic publications as well. To all thoughts contrary, I'm not drying up in the material department. I could keep writing and churning out posts and content. In fact, I feel as fresh as ever. Which is even more reason why I feel God may be calling me to put this on the altar right now while things are in their prime.

I've never really 'fit' anywhere, another struggle for me and a reason I've enjoyed maintaining a kind of independence here on Blogger. I'm not a hardcore conservative and I'm not a hardcore liberal and I'm not a liturgist and I'm not a theologian, I'm not a stay at home mom, I'm not a Thomist, I'm not a social media guru, I'm not a super Catholic, I'm just some 38 year old guy trying to get to Heaven and bring his family with him and leaving a trail of words in his wake.

I will be embarking on a 90 day prayer discipline with a few other Catholic men starting on January 21st, which will require a good bit of focus, time in prayer and scripture, and asceticism. I've decided to keep the blog public until that day, at which point it will come down and be archived. If you want to reach out via the contact form, I may be able to send you a copy via email of every post ever written in PDF 'book' form, but only if you promise to keep it to yourself! I hope to have that done sometime this week. Please stay in touch by way of email, should we happen to connect in this way.

This is not an easy decision, and I don't even grasp fully why it needs to be this way. But I am trusting the conviction, that in hoping to honor God in all things and above all things, that I would tie my words to the altar and draw the knife if it's what He wants. He has His reasons; He knows what He is about. He is leading me somewhere deeper and I don't know where, and taking my prize possessions as collateral. Who knows, maybe He will give them back some day, maybe even a hundred fold? I honestly don't know what is ahead, or what kind of outlet I will have in place of this blog. I'm trusting Him. Though he slay me, I will trust him still. (Job 13:15)

Comments are open to the public, and are enabled. I am so grateful for your support, those who promoted Wisdom and Folly and those who simply took pleasure or solace in reading.

Please pray for me, and I for you.

In Christ,

12 January 2019


  1. Thank you for your trust in what He is leading you to do. Thank you for your openness to have shared your thoughts in word with us, no matter how many people may or may not seen, read, or ingested them via the blog, Facebook, website, or whatever outlet you've shared your work. Thank you for using your gift of words. Thank you for providing me with thought provoking content I may not have otherwise considered, had I not read your thoughts. Thank you for doing what you feel God is leading you to do, even though you may not understand the reason you are being led to do what may be difficult. I admire your willingness to make that decision and follow through with it, no matter how hard it is. I only wish I had that much fortitude in my life to do the same. Be assured of my prayers, and thank you for yours.
    Blessings and Peace - Jeff


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