I registered with wikio about a year back. It was a bid to get my blog to a wider readership. How I whooped and cheered when my rating was in 3 figures. I think initially it was around 700 ish: I had the 700 ish most popular blog in the entire wikio world.
And then it slipped and slipped, until last month it was down to around 3200. Now I have just noticed that it has gone up to 1426: an incredible leap of around 1800 places. I’m whooping louder. This means I am either so much more popular, or around 1800 bloggers have stopped blogging or the stats are wrong.
Me? I’m tending towards the latter 2 observations.
‘Fame, fame, fatal fame. It plays hideous tricks with the brain…’
I get to speak a lot in public: it comes with the territory. It is never easy to speak, but over time I underestimate how practiced I have become. That is not meant to be boastful, it is just how things become with practice.
I’m wary of being able to/being given space to do this. One of my well worn phrases is about the danger of ‘believing in one’s own publicity’. When you speak in front of people it can be very gratifying; the adrenaline surges, people appear to listen and be quiet for you and the occasional ‘well done’ can lead to feeling very puffed up with yourself. There is a way of accentuating this with a kind of false humility at the end (I have seen it and I have done it!) of what you have spoken;
* ‘oh, it was nothing’ (means: ‘I poured my whole life into that and it was fantastic. I am glad you recognise that’).
*‘simply doing God’s will’ (‘If a humble Galilean carpenter was as gifted and fantastic as me’) or
*‘I’m glad you thought that’ (‘Bow down and worship me now, minion’).
I think I can speak and hold an audience of whatever age and am fond of, in an ever so slightly understated and postmodern way, ‘subtly’ impressing this on people. I think I read a survey somewhere that over 90% of preachers think they can preach well. The same survey showed that around 60% of congregations thought they could. The survey did not go on to measure those who have no connection/disinterest/hostility to church or faith- I think that would be a truer measure.
I got to speak in front of a group of older people this week. As I get older and preach/talk more frequently, I am moved by the grace of people who sit and listen and try to discern God’s word through what I say. I often think that they have much more grace and understanding than I do. What I loved about this group was that they reacted- they dialogued- and I learnt so much more and came to different understandings of what I had initially said.
I came away both humbled and lifted up by their presence. I wish church could be more like that sometimes. The presence of fixed pews and a ‘way of doing things’ can serve to inhibit. The people who lead do not often get any feedback or sharing in what they have said and led (apart from the occasional comment at the door of ‘nice tie’: this tends to be disheartening when you have not been wearing one) so it is easy to get puffed up, talk about a church that is ‘yours’ and a congregation that is ‘them’.
It was just lovely to be reminded this week that that is not the way it is meant to be and as one of the prophets said ‘Do not despise the day of small things’. Small most often has a lot more integrity than ‘succesful’ ‘Big’.
I have just realised that WordPress does not count visitors the same as dear old Blogger. WordPress counts visitors during a 24 hour period only once (I think). So my WordPress count looks lower than my old Blogger one. These things are important to me (if I was talking like this at a party, by now you would be edging away from me; welcome to the blogosphere- hang out for social misfits and anal retentives….). I seem to be getting about 30 hits a day during the week- thank you very much- my ego is being massaged. Just as I take this in, some words from the immortalÂ ‘Frankly Mr Shankly’ (by the incomparable The Smiths, of course) Â hit me:-
‘Fame, fame, fatal fame; it plays hideous tricks with the brain.’
I won’t, though go on to quote the next line;
‘Still I’d rather be famous, than righteous or holy, any day’.
Ooops, I just did.
Happy Saturday evening….