|Old blog header, pic by our friend Jules.|
In the winter and spring of 2005, through the kind of series of connections you could map through three or four particular individuals, a dozen or two bloggers began to think of themselves as friends. This was true even though many used pseudonyms and most were vague about location. We read each other's blogs daily, and we left comments, and we began to get to know each other.
That summer, one blogger wondered if we could get a t-shirt?
We celebrate that anniversary every July and send you to read the comment thread, but here are the steps we took.
Two of us went off in separate Internet directions to see if we could start a webring. We also started this blog. Another opened a CafePress store and designed our first t-shirt/coffee mug. We did this with no idea what would come of our efforts, no business plan and no prescribed vision.
We created a point of connection, a hub with a blogroll and a mechanism for navigating from my blog to your blog to someone else's blog.
|You can still buy it, |
but the texts are Year B.
Eventually we made a few rules for membership (see the sidebar). We formed a non-profit. We responded to a collective desire to offer an in-person meeting by organizing our first Big Event in 2008.
From the start we have been an ecumenical collaborative. Yes, our board has officers. And our blog has administrators, as does our Facebook page. But we don't belong to any one person or denomination.
We've come a long way from our pseudonymous blogging days. Facebook led to a lot of nickname-shedding. Over the past seven years, many of us have met in person, arranging meet-ups at the Festival of Homiletics and denominational meetings and in the course of our personal travels. We have become dear friends in real life. We've celebrated births and new relationships, and grieved losses in each other's lives, even the death of a ring member and blog contributor.
Today is not a particular anniversary for our group. If you look back to seven years ago, it was a Saturday, and a retired blogger who is still with us on Facebook offered a round-up of posts, some on blogs that have ended or morphed, just as our lives have done. In those days we didn't have a schedule, and feed readers were not on everyone's radar, and I didn't know anyone who read blogs on a smartphone.
Now we're not 30 or 40 bloggers, but 400, with more friends who don't blog but do comment, and others who know us primarily through our Facebook group. We have many published authors among us.
|Mostly pseudonymous board member feet, 2007.|
We've grown, with all the pains that are part of expansion and all of the joys, too.
|You know you want one.|
You can leave a comment and know someone will read it.
You can come late to the Preacher Party and find someone else staying up all night, too.
You can ask a question and know someone will try to answer it.
And you can still buy a mug that asks the eternal question, "Does This Pulpit Make My Butt Look Big?"