Five Years of Leorningcnihtes boc!

WordPress informed me that yesterday was my fifth “anniversary” blogging with them.  So I revisited my first post which introduced the purpose of this blog.  I’m pleased to see that although some of my original ideas have long since fallen by the wayside, much of the purpose of this blog has endured these five years.

It’s like a party in the blogosphere!

Where did this start?

The title of that post is On frymþe wæs Word which is Anglo-Saxon for “In the beginning was the Word” – the opening lines of the Gospel according to St. John.

I firmly believe in communal theology.  The study of the Bible and the development of Christian doctrines is never to be done alone.  Christ promised the Holy Spirit not simply to the individual disciples, but to all of them together.  Thus, all have a role in the development of sound teaching and the building up of the Church.  Some people will have more academic contributions than others, of course, but oftentimes there is need for distinctly nonacademic, or earthy, approaches to keep theology from turning into an activity for the intellectual elite only.

My focus on “communal theology” has remained as I have read and posted about writings of various other Christians from various other times including St. John Chrysostom, George Herbert, Bl. John Keble, and also current bloggers.  I’ve varied my style somewhat between formal and informal language, particularly as I’ve grown into the role of a pastor and preacher – trying to learn how to communicate lofty truths in ordinary language.

I cannot deny being an academic myself, but I have come to terms with the realization lately that I am not a proper scholar; I don’t have the drive to be that devoted to study; I relish the opportunity to make complicated things simple again, such that the farmer across the street could understand it.  So sometimes I’ll tend towards seminary lingo, and other times I’ll cast it aside in favor of more real-world explanations.

This year (2015) I have actually begun studying again.  And by studying I mean reading through serious books with the intent to getting out of my own worldview and learning from the various teachers and times that the Church has encompassed.  But this statement is still true; I probably don’t have it in me to become a full-scale scholar and pursue a PhD.  I still prefer the work of translation between “heady” and “simple,” even though I no longer live across the street from a farmer.

I do have a thing for languages, though.  I’ve studied Spanish, Latin, Greek, Ancient Hebrew, and Anglo-Saxon, and tend to use a number of these rather freely.  In previous centuries this was normal, and academics did this far more liberally and skillfully than I ever will.  I am not trying to copy the practices of a bygone age, but simply express my thoughts more precisely or whimsically.

Let’s all breath a sigh of relief: I’ve finally stopped doing this!  Except for when it’s actually relevant or useful, that is.  But of course, there’s still that hard-to-pronounce title of my blog to contend with:

The name of this blog is leorningcniht, which is the word used in the Anglo-Saxon gospels for “disciple.”  The breakdown is fairly visible: leorning-cniht, or learning-knight.  These date back probably to the 900’s AD, so this isn’t so much a knight in shining armor as in the Late Middle Ages, but rather a loyal subject who serves a nobleman as a warrior or as a lesser lord.  It adds a measure of dignity and purpose to the compound word, as leorningcild (learning-child) is a more normal word for student.  Overall, it strikes me as a much more cool and complete rendition of what a disciple of Christ is: not just students under a teacher, but a servant of a man of noble stature!

To that I should add that “leorningcnihtes boc” means “disciple’s book.”  There is no Old English word for blog, after all, so book was the best I could do.

What am I most proud of?

A number of projects never came to completion, but there are few things that I did get through and am particularly pleased with (at least so far).

The Gospel in a Year – I made a commentary on each Sunday in the liturgical year according to the traditional Prayer Book calendar of readings.  I didn’t finish the title page for it, but I should soon.

Frequently Misused Verses – I only started this series this year, but it has proven to be rather popular on Facebook.  I don’t know when I’ll run out of ideas, but it’s fun while it lasts.

Studies & Series & Such – This link is an index page for a number of multi-post projects.  In particular I’m pleased about “An Exploration of Classical Mariology,” “Anglican Spirituality,” and my commentaries on St. Ignatius’ epistle to the Trallians and The Shepherd of Hermas.

My favorite posts – I also compiled an index of some of my favorite posts over the years.

Popular Posts!

Blessing of a New Wedding Ring – On Christmas Sunday in 2013 I blessed a replacement wedding ring for my Aunt & Uncle, and shortly thereafter I shared the brief liturgy for it on my blog.  It has since become one of the most-searched-for articles on this blog.

The Seven-fold Spirit of God – Also from December 2013, as I was preparing a student for confirmation, I wrote this summary of the classical “seven gifts of the Spirit.”  I’m sure there are tons of websites out there that list them, but it seems my explanation of where they come from has proven a popular search item.

Psalm 45 on the Blessed Virgin Mary – Based on a short homily I gave in August 2012, this post is probably the all-time most-searched-for and most-viewed article on my blog.

Seven Genres of Prayer – This post was the beginning of a multi-post series on prayer, and has been highly viewed each year since I first wrote it.  People seem to like to read about different types of prayer!

Set Prayers – Similarly, this short post from 2011 about pre-written prayers turned up in a lot of Google searches over the past few years.

What’s Next?

There are a few projects or ideas kicking around in my head that I hope to do over the next few years.

  1. I want to increase the number of sermons that I turn into blog posts.  It’s a lot of work to do that, especially if I want to take the time to edit them down into shorter blog-friendly lengths.
  2. I hope to write an Overview of each book of the Bible.  I already did this for a couple books, but the preparation required for each post is a lot more extensive than I originally expected.
  3. I would like to post brief reviews of each book that I read.

How about you, readers?  What you have enjoyed on this blog, and/or want to see in the future?

About Fr. Brench

I'm an Anglican Priest and a sci-fi geek. Therefore, I write about liturgy & spiritual formation, theology & biblical studies, and Doctor Who. But I keep those blogs separate so I don't confuse too many people!
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