Looking back on Lent

Readers of the blog may not have noticed much different during the last couple of months, but those who follow me on Twitter or like the page on Facebook may have noticed that I decided to give up self promotion for Lent. Instead of using social media to push my own writings to those who ‘like’ or ‘follow’ me, I wanted to highlight the work of other bloggers, all of whom I regard as better quality writers than I, even if I don’t agree with everything they write.

My aim was to do 40 blogs in 40 days, only I managed to learn for the first time ever (at the age of 29) that contrary to what I had been told for years, that Lent doesn’t last for 40 days. While I didn’t manage to do one per day (my week in Scotland hindered that) I did want to make sure that I did all 40 by the end of Lent. Only when I thought Easter should have been a week away, I looked at the calendar and realised it was 2 weeks away. When I asked on Twitter why this was I was deluged with responses from those from a high church background telling me that for counting the days of Lent, Sunday isn’t regarded as a real day. The only time I’ve had more responses on Twitter in a short space of time was when I was retweeted by the BBC’s Conservative party spokesman, Nick Robinson. Anyway, you live and learn!

When I began, it was just after Valentine’s day and I had written a piece specially for it (you can read it here). I had tremendous joy in writing that and conceitedly thought it was rather good. So I began Lent by being hugely frustrated that potentially good work may be ignored. However, as I went on, I no longer started to twitch at the idea that I was throwing words down a hole. Rather, I was hoping that someone might pick up on a blog they had never come across before and might start reading. I know of two people who said that I had helped them find new works they had been unaware of, so I think it was worth it even if it were only for those two.

I think it would be a fair criticism to say that behind some of my self promotion is a desire to win approval from others. Though I mostly muse, with writing as a form of thinking, I do like to make you think at least as much as I have thought about what I write. Even if you don’t agree, I hope that some of you feel ‘nudged’ a little. Sometimes I may prod a little too hard in some directions. I try not to be needlessly offensive. If I think offense may be warranted, I try to bite my tongue, though I wouldn’t claim my judgement is anything but flawed in deciding when to speak out and when to stay silent. As I write this (it’s about 9:30pm on Tuesday the 2nd of April) I have been much angered and upset by the news. There has been the conviction of the Philpotts for the manslaughter of their children. There have been arguments over the government’s changes to social security which have begun to kick in and I saw an article on the news about Welsh farmers who have lost large parts of their flocks due to the harsh weather in March. I plan to write about tax and benefits soon, but I may well remain silent over the others, even though they move me greatly. Is that a bad choice? Are so many writing about the economy that the voices on the left are now just an incoherent cacophony rather than a united chorus?

With Lent now over, I have returned to self promotion. Please let me know if you think I do it too much. My aim is generally to post once on my Facebook page and three times on Twitter (once in the morning rush hour, once at lunchtime and once in the evening rush hour). I know I find those who promote more heavily than this to be irritating, especially those on twitter who retweet any recommendations they get. If that’s you, maybe you might consider your own motivations as I have tried.

Anyway, here’s the list of blogs I promoted. Only towards the end did I realise there was a gender imbalance, so I apologise that it does lean more towards male authorship than being egalitarian. I apologise if you think I overlooked you. Most of these blogs have their own blogrolls, so you could springboard your way to many more from these. I hope you have fun exploring them, though I do hope you come back and have a read here sometime. Let me know if you think I’ve erred, omitted anything or if there’s anything you’d like me to write about. I’m also happy to host any guest posts if you want to write.

Confessions of a Doubting Thomas
Pam’s Perambulation
Renaissance Mathematicus
Teenage Christian
Rogue Stardust
Rev’d Claire
Stranger in an Even Stranger Land (though this site is blocked on some servers for malicious links – nothing about the content. The author is a lovely bloke)
Running Life
God and Politics
Dyfed Wyn Roberts
Longing to be Holy
Half Way to Normal
eChurch Blog (though, having taken a break for Lent, Stuart has now joined the ranks of The Church Mouse & Rev’d Lesley as one to have ceased an immensely readable blog)
Broken Cameras
We Mixed Our Drinks
Simon Clare
Lucy Mills
Admiral Creedy
Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley
An Exercise in the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy
Dreaming Beneath the Spires
Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
Vicky Walker
James Prescott
Thorns and Gold (my personal favourite from this lot)
Thirsty Gargoyle
Recovering Agnostic
Lay Anglicana
Kurt Willems
Opinionated Vicar
Vicky Beeching
Finally Human
Part Time Priest
Sat n’ All That
Black Coffee Reflections
The Church Sofa
The Big Bible Project (a collaborative project, to which I contribute on the 10th of each month)

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