I’m sorry to see that Marvin is apparently hanging up his blogging spurs, although I understand and respect his reasons for doing so. Still, it’s a loss for those of us who’ve been edified by his writing but aren’t part of the academic or religious milieus where he plans to re-focus his energy. I have some hope though. Blogging is a bit like the mafia–no matter how hard you try to get out, it finds a way of dragging you back in.
One reason Marvin offers for quitting is that his blog had become a place for venting anger rather than for constructive writing. Although personally I rarely found his posts to have an angry tone, I agree that there’s a danger of blogging being nothing more than a forum for angry rants. Over time, I’ve become less interested in the “someone is wrong on the Internet” model of blogging and drawn toward an a more exploratory approach focused on working through texts or ideas and hopefully coming to some clearer understanding of things. In other words, less polemic and more inquiry. Which is not to say that I always succeed, but it’s definitely the direction I’ve found my energies going in.
Anyway, best of luck on the dissertation, Marvin!