Many things amuse me when I peruse comments on this Church of the Churchless blog by religiously-minded people.
One class of comments that generates an especially large smile is Brian, you spend all of your time bashing religion, so you're obviously obsessed.
When I see someone saying this, I know that just as they're prone to drawing inaccurate conclusions about the cosmos from biased beliefs, they also draw false conclusions about me from a very limited body of evidence -- my posts on this blog.
Actually, almost everybody is a complex mix of varied interests that include much more than religiosity, or the lack thereof.
(I'd leave off the almost, but maybe cloistered monks or nuns, to offer up a Christian example, really do eat and breathe religion 24/7.)
Me, I spend almost all of my time occupied with non-religious aspects of life.
When it comes to blogging, I have three blogs, and I try to give roughly equal time to each of them, though this depends on whether a hot topic demands that more time be given to HinesSight (personal blog), Church of the Churchless (this blog), or Salem Political Snark (politics and such).
I got to thinking about how varied my interests are in the course of recently putting together a JournoPortfolio site to showcase my writing, plus some of the videos and photo essays I've created.
Yesterday I wrote a post praising JournoPortfolio, "I'm loving JournoPortfolio. It's a writer's dream." In it I shared a link to the site I made -- which has some of my 5,839 blog posts (well, 5,840, counting this one), links to the books I've written, and the aforementioned videos and photo essays.
Here's a screenshot of the top of the home page. You can behold my JournoPortfolio creation at https://brianhines.journoportfolio.com
It was an interesting process, deciding which blog posts, videos, and photo essays I wanted to include on my JournoPortfolio site. Since I've been a prolific writer, obviously I had a lot of material to choose from. So what I had to do was ponder what I wanted to share as a sampling of my varied pursuits, passions, and such.
Of course, I realized that few people would actually visit the site.
So the question before me was really "Out of everything I could share, what comes closest to being how I'd like to be known?" Well, having written that last sentence, I realize it doesn't do a very good job of reflecting a feeling that is considerably more subtle than those words.
So here's another try.
Each of us, me included, has to decide how open and transparent we're going to be with other people and the Big Wide World outside of our cranium. We can't be a completely open book. We also can't be a completely hidden treasure. A balance has to be struck.
In choosing what to share on my JournoPortfolio site, I'd face choices such as... should I include my post about being seriously depressed? Or my mescaline use in college? Or my relationship with Conrad Hilton?
Part of me would think, How might people view me if I share this or that? And another part would think, It doesn't matter how they view me, what matters if whether what I share reflects an important part of my life.
That latter part would win the debate, since like most people, I'm a believer in being as truthful as I can, within reasonable bounds, of course.
(When the checkout person at a grocery store asks me, "How's your day going?," I always say something like "Pretty good," regardless of whether this is true. With a friend at a coffeeshop, though, I'll answer differently.)
Facebook has its problems, but I like how every person who posts on Facebook is expected to use their genuine identity -- no false names allowed. This helps remind me that when someone expresses a strong opinion on some subject, they're a complex human being with a wide variety of interests and beliefs, only some of which conflict with my view of the world.
Likewise, I enjoy it when commenters on this blog use their real names. I wish every commenter did. Just as with Facebook, this would remind us that religiosity, or the lack thereof, is just a part of peoples' lives, often a small part.
As it should be.