Why I Blog OR A Short History of What We Do Here: Part One

Whatever blogging “career” I might have I owe to Paul Harvey. (No, not that Paul Harvey, this one!) On July 5, 2007 I found Harvey’s new blog (it was a solo operation then) called Religion in American History and wrote a comment on a post I liked on W.E.B. DuBois. Here is what I wrote:

Paul: Great post. I found your blog on the Cliopatria blogroll and have enjoyed reading it so far. –John

About an hour later, Paul responded:

John: Thanks! Please spread the blog address to Am. religious history folks, and let me know if you have any interest in contributing to the blog — Paul

I decided to take the plunge and within a few days I was listed as the blog’s first “Contributing Editor.” On July 7, 2007 I wrote my first blog post– a review of a Boston Review essay by Lew Daly on Catholicism and the common good. I have since written 58 posts for Harvey’s blog, including one of his most popular, and still try to contribute something worthwhile every now and then.

Some of my readers may be wondering at this point why I have taken the time to indulge in all of this blogging nostalgia. My nostalgia was triggered by a paper Harvey prepared for a session on religious history blogging at the 2010 meeting of the American Historical Association in San Diego. In this paper, which he posted today at Religion in American History, Harvey reflects on the founding of this premiere American religious blog, its eclectic nature, the demands associated with keeping it going, and the tension he feels trying to write a blog for a scholarly audience in a venue that is open to the general public.

Stay tuned: Part Two will deal with the creation of the “Way of Improvement Leads Home” and why I continue to blog here.