It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
A few months ago—during a seemingly routine transfer of this site’s contents to a new host—a fairly depressing thing took place: the database backup for my site was corrupted, and all of the work that I’ve done since at least 2009 was feared lost. I was already under a decent amount of stress at the time, and my efforts towards the site had slacked off for a few weeks, but the impact of potentially losing all of my own personal research (as well as the writings of others) dealt a significant blow. At that point, I was ready to give up completely.
And then the emails, donations, messages, texts, and phone calls from everyone who wanted—at the very least—the site to remain online and searchable poured in. I was humbled and encouraged by this support, and determined that—after some time for reflection and decompression—I would begin work on re-launching the website. And here it is.
Now that things are back up and running (for the most part, and minus several dozen posts that have been lost forever), I have decided to join the 40 Days of Blogging project being spearheaded by Fr. John Peck and Preachers Institute.
That journey begins tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 15).
Each day’s post will follow a particular theme (determined by Fr. John) and this should provide an interesting context for interaction on this site for the duration of the Nativity Fast. I might throw in a few unique posts here-or-there, as well, and my other contributors will hopefully submit their own new articles and reflections alongside my efforts towards that project.
Before I close this out, I wanted to share some (anonymized) excerpts from a few of the messages I received when I was considering closing the blog. You helped me change my mind, and so you deserve some space on the resurrected site.
>> I have written to you before regarding the blog. You know my thoughts. I highly respect you and you work, and your beautiful family as well. I would love to see your site continued.
>> I would love to see your site returned to working status, but I also know how difficult this endeavor is when you are a father to your own children, a provider for your household, and then at the same time you have all these internet nut jobs telling you they NEED you. Whatever your decision, please be assured of my prayers for your family, for you, and for your continued struggle.
>> I was born, baptized and raised in the Orthodox Church … at the age of 21, I became an atheist … After spending the next four years going deeper into darkness that almost resulted in extreme self-mutilation … God broke through all that darkness and saved my life. I remember how in exactly one second, I went from all that unlimited hate to being completely free of it. Not one ounce of hatred was left in me. I then spent the following years every single day, every free second researching Christ both historically, philosophically and spiritually. Then when I was ready, God showed me the gifts of the Orthodox Church. YOURS was one of the first sites that I found to answer some questions and teach me. I owe you and your efforts an infinite debt. Truly Christ was working through your works to bring me deeper into faith and no doubt countless others.
>> I have greatly benefited from reading your blog, and have learned an enormous amount about my lifelong Orthodox Faith, and I thank you for that. I have not been a commenter, and I wish that I had offered you thanks and encouragement.
>> I have visited your blog on several occasions in the past 6 months or so and have enjoyed it very much. I’ve always intended on going back to reading more of the posts, but as with all spiritual endeavors, one always gets sidetracked. It would be a shame if you did shut it down.
>> I know you have a wife and kids, which have to be your priority (I can tell that they are). I know you have a job to provide for them. However in addition to all this if you feel you can continue on any level, I sincerely hope that you do!
>> My name is [removed], a 25 year-old, fellow Orthodox Christian, all the way from the beautiful (but cold!!) country of Finland! … Your blog has had great importance for me! Thank you for all the effort you’ve done for your webpage, please consider to continue your blessed work!!
>> The work you have done with On Behalf of All is remarkable. It has certainly blessed me as I have looked toward Orthodoxy … I will always be indebted to you and will never forget you. You have served well. Though I have never seen you, I think of you as one of my friends. I want to impress on you that your work has been enormous.
>> I would like to encourage you to continue blogging. The presence of Orthodox web sites is very helpful to those who are trying to learn about Orthodoxy. You may not see the results but they are there.
>> Your perspective is fresh and unique and especially relevant toward the development of a uniquely Orthodox culture in America (or “the diaspora”), which would suffer in the absence of so astute a commentator and critic. You can be assured of my continued prayers for your refreshment and the revitalization of this project of these past four years. I sincerely hope that, by the grace of God, you will persevere through this season of uncertainty and that the blog will be up and running again before long, much to the benefit of the entire English-speaking Orthodox world.
I’m thankful for all of you, and I pray this site continues to be a blessing and encouragement to my Orthodox brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Glory to God in all things.