Before the blog, the log

Back when I was in my Clinical Pastoral Education unit — which all candidates for Unitarian Universalist ministerial fellowship must complete — the on-call hospital chaplains recorded rounds, deaths and pastoral care issues in a large log book in the Pastoral Care office. A tight running log of the pastoral care life of the hospital. Sailors, pilots and security guards also have logs. Scientists and engineers keep detailed logs, sometimes with images and diagrams, to record discoveries and developments as proof for future patents.

Here we have some precedents of the web log, or blog. But there’s another: the personal diary. A way to remember the day and to put on paper what the mind can loose, conflate or confuse. Diary-keeping is a Puritan spiritual discipline for this reason: it makes it possible for to review your life with as little self-deception as possible. (In practical terms, too, Hubby and I have been able to lose so much weight because we have food intake diaries. It’s a nuisance, but it also works and shows what foods we ought to be eating.)

I mention this because George Orwell’s diaries are being published in order, 70 years after the fact, beginning today. I don’t expect all my pressing Orwell questions to be answered — indeed, the first entry was about a snake found in the garden — but I like this use of the blog.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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