July 16, 2019

Blogs I’d Like to Read (or How To Perk Up A Boring Blogosphere)

blog.jpegI’m not one of those constantly offended, hand-wringing bloggers who has to run a monthly post complaining about the Christian blogosphere or tell you ten rules for the Christian blogger. That may be because, as some frequently note, I’m part of “the problem” in the Christian blogosphere. (Yawn) Well too bad. I’m happy to do my phampleteering and pirate radio in my way and for you to do whatever you do in yours. Talk hard, as we say around here.

I have noticed, however, that blog writers tend to be the majority of blog readers (and vice versa,) which is somewhat unusual in any kind of literature. That means it’s appropriate to talk about blogging in blog posts without too much concern that the audience will be left out or bored.

I’ve not just noticed that blog readers write blogs; I’ve also noticed that the same kinds of people write the same kinds of blogs. Ditto for reading. The blogosphere has a lot of similar “clumps.” Diversity isn’t our strong suit. We, the pajamaed class, can, and should be, easily caricatured as rather repetitive and devoid of curiosity.

I’d like to change things. I’m looking for some diversity in the blogosphere. Instead of reading more Bible commentary, academic ruminations, analyses of the church, condemnations of people who don’t do it our way, barkings about politics or insights into the adventures of homeschool mothers, I’d like to read something completely different.

It wouldn’t just be different for difference sake. It would actually be good for us. I think I’ve read (and written) enough earnest posts on the topics of limited atonement, the crisis of the American empire, how to fix every church, the evils of the emerging whatever it is and the sordid goings on with Osteen, Warren, Driscoll, Wilkins and Mclaren.

Life is short. Just how much of it do we want to spend saying “Bob: great post on why the Federal Vision is worse than the bird flu”?

I’d like to read something different. Regularly. I’d like to hear some points of view that may be in the blogosphere, but they aren’t linked in my circle of blog reading. I’m going to make some suggestions, and you can make yours, or answer mine.

What are the blogs I’d like to read?

I’d like to read blogs written by pastors and church leaders in the third world, global south churches; particularly those that can respond to the “wisdom” of American church leaders who seem to know exactly what the church should be like everywhere. I’d like to hear about the church experiences of those who aren’t dealing with white suburban Americans, but with the uneducated poor.

I’d like to read a blog by thoughtful believers in other religious traditions who are able to intelligently dialog with Christianity from the standpoint of respectful issue-raising and shared perspectives, not just hostile attacks or biased attempts to discredit.

I’d like to read blogs by artists discussing the artistic process, particularly writing poetry, acting and film-making. I’d enjoy hearing about the connections between art and real life. I don’t want to read technical, insider geek info. I want to understand the moments of insight and inspiration; what draws us to create in the first place.

I’d like to read a blog by a working anthropologist dealing with issues of religion as a human phenomenon. I’d like to read thoughtful questions and responses to aspects of religious belief Christians are routinely afraid to touch. The same with a sociologist of American religion.

I’d like to read a blog by a psychologist or counselor who could compassionately discuss the subject of Christianity and mental illness.

I’d like to read a blog by Larry Crabb, Terry Taylor, Peter Kreeft, Ravi Zacharias, William Least Heat Moon, Howard Snyder, Brennan Manning, Will Willimon, Dallas Willard, Lauren Winner, Karen Armstrong, Iain Murray, John Grisham, John Michael Talbot, Paul Johnson, Dave Ramsey, Ted Christman, Steve Mcfarland or the departed soul of Mike Yaconelli.

I’d like to read personal blogs by Christian leaders and authors who rarely, if ever, show us their personal lives, struggles, obstacles and journeys. What does Macarthur have to say about golf? Could we get Piper to a baseball game? Ravi on Indian food? Do some of these people have stories about marriage and parenting that would make the rest of us feel better?

I’d like to read a blog by someone who is dying, and knows it. Which is all of us, but you know what I mean.

I’d like to read a blog by someone making Christian community happen on a deep level in a difficult place.

I’d like to read a blog by someone who is an exceptional teacher of cooking, and relates their cooking to lessons about life and Christian faith. (Think Supper of the Lamb by Capon.)

I’d like to read a blog by someone going through real struggles in raising a rebellious teenager.

I’d like to read a blog by a celibate Christian who struggles with feeling homosexual. If you’re going to write me about how I’m going to hell for that last sentence, save yourself the time.

I’d like to read a blog by someone inside the mainstream Christian music industry who is struggling to make the music more credible and authentic. I don’t want to read hype. I’d like a sense of what’s really going on in that mess.

I’d like to read blogs by Christians living in Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu cultures.

I’d like to read a blog by an Asian Christian, especially in China or Japan. I’d like to get a clearer view of the Asian take on Christian spirituality and western discipleship.

I’d like to read a blog by someone with a lot of money who is giving it away for the Kingdom.

I’d like to read a blog by someone going on the adventure of visiting every major and/or minor league ball park. Man, that would be one awesome way to spend a year.

I’d like to read a blog by someone who knows how to get us all laughing at the blogosphere, especially at ourselves. The blogosphere is overloaded with puritans and sourpusses. Most of the time it’s like reading The Onion’s religion page, only everything is for real. Where are the comics and foolmakers?

I’d like to read a blog by a dog and a cat.

I’d like to read a blog by someone church planting in Appalachia.

I’d like to read a blog by a Christian in prison for doing something really terrible.

I’d like to read a blog by a group of cutting-edge, push the envelope Shakespeare scholars.

I’d like to read a group blog of original Christian poets sharing their work.

I’d like to read a blog by reformed theologians who are learning how to cuss, and are reflecting on the process. (I’m kidding. Sort of.)

I’d like to read a blog by someone having fun being way, way less than perfect. Fat. Ugly. Chronically unemployable. No love life. But not whining about life; instead having fun with a life that is supposed to suck.

I’d like to read a gossipy, tell all blog by a discerning, critical voice within mainstream Christian publishing. What goes on in those places? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’d like to read a blog by someone relating the Christian faith to their long-term, twelve step recovery from alcoholism. I want to go to the meetings. I want to feel the journey.

I’d like to read a blog by a Christian and an atheist in intelligent, respectful dialog about all of life. I’d especially like to get off the usual debate points and into real life, family, questions of beauty, meaning and so on. Sort of Freud and C.S. Lewis in conversation.

I’d like to read a blog by current classroom students of some of the world’s best theologians. I especially like to read about classroom discussions where teachers have to answer tough student questions.

I’d like to read a blog by someone writing great choral music.

I’d like to read a blog by an effective, gifted, but unknown preacher.

I’d like to read a blog that takes me places I’ve never been, shows me beauty I’ve never experienced and makes me hungry and thirsty for real, abundant life.

Now, I’m very tempted to write a post on “Blogs and Blog Posts I Never Want To See Again,” but that could get out of hand and close to home. Spurgeon says I shouldn’t write it.

I’m looking forward to your responses and suggestions.

Comments

  1. concerning sigmund freud and c.s. lewis, i watched a dual-biography on georgia public broadcasting a few years back comparing and contrasting the lives of these two men. it would show parts of their lives (childhood, adolesence, etc.) then have roundtable discussion about their lives, particularly concerned with their views and perceptions of God. the members of the discussion came from many different backgrounds and professions to get a varied opinion.

    here’s a link if you want to check it. i enjoyed it.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/why/index.html

  2. “I’d like to read a blog by a celibate Christian who struggles with feeling homosexual.”

    Here’s a good one: http://formerlygay.wordpress.com/

  3. http://mytippy.blogspot.com/index.html – my uncle – he is dying and he knows it although it isn’t something he talks about – don’t let him know I sent you!!

    http://cechaffin.blogspot.com/index.html – I would guess you will find him very, very interesting…

  4. Micheal, Thanks so much for writing this not just as a Christian writer and reader but as a presence on the Internet as well. I have bookmarked this article and will be sharing it with some others because you make some good points. There is too much “me-tooism” everywhere and regretfully in the Christian world as a whole. I’ll probably be linking to this article from one of my other blocks via the trackback feature soon.

    BTW, when I tried to log into this blog today I got a page not found kind of error but was able to come back and post anyway. May want to check into that.

  5. “I’d like to read a blog by someone making Christian community happen on a deep level in a difficult place.”

    Michael, I linked this guy last month at the BHT, but I’ll pass it on here, too.

    His blog is called “In the Way.” Though it isn’t necessarily the purpose of his blog, he’s been writing much lately about ministry to the homeless in Dallas. It isn’t the occasional deal, either. He’s with them weekly, bringing food, hand warmers, clothes, use of cell phones, and love in Christ above all. Good stuff.

  6. Me, too!

    (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

  7. >I’d like to read a blog by someone making >Christian community happen on a deep level in a >difficult place.

    Does an Army base town in the middle of southwestern Oklahoma (read, “dust bowl alley”) count? Stay tuned, as I am writing a series of articles describing our area’s spiritual, physical, and historical geography. Impressions from an outsider-observer. I’ll also write about our quirky little church which is really cool, in missional terms, but doesn’t know it.

    Anna

  8. I’d like to read a blog by a guy who is going through his spiritual midlife crisis….wait a minute, I think I’ve found it. ::wink::

  9. jmanning: :-p

  10. Excellent post, as usual. I’ll have to think about this a bit.

  11. I’d like to read a blog by someone who is dying, and knows it. Which is all of us, but you know what I mean.

    Nothing New under the Sun is a blog by a young seminary graduate just about to enter f/t ministry… and who has just been diagnosed with cancer. I’m not sure if he’s dying but the prognosis doesn’t look good.

    I’d like to read a blog by an effective, gifted, but unknown preacher.

    That’s a hard one to judge. Personally I feel that I would fit that category but it’s not for me to judge. Besides, I’m so frustrated with how life is turning out that I have probably given up preaching altogether.

  12. “I’d like to read a blog by thoughtful believers in other religious traditions,”

    If you’re looking for some blogs from other religious traditions, then try some of these:

    Muslim
    http://muslimunity.blogspot.com
    http://www.alislam.org/

    Buddhist
    http://buddhistanarchism.blogspot.com/
    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com

    Jewish
    http://jewschool.com
    http://abigjewishblog.blogspot.com/

    Mormon
    http://www.mormonmommywars.com/

    Sorry I couldn’t provide links for these. I haven’t thoroughly looked at all of them either, so sorry if some of the blogs listed aren’t up to your standards.

  13. a long time ago, as a new blogger i put down my frustrations about the frustrating homogeneity of the christian blogsphere. it drew some comments and a cultist who trolled me till i had to ban him. but no one suggested blogs of the kind i am looking for, in the end i did find some, and now i stick to that hand ful. i second the
    christian artists, lewis vs freud, poets.

    I am in Indian, though i have for not blogged on my faith in the context of my cultural heritage. (I am not sure i have one)
    http://thephilip.org/2006/06/01/godblogs-are-bugging-me/

    that was the post

    ciao

    schizo

  14. Mission from a Non-Western perpsective
    http://www.urbana.org

    Personal Blog following global Christianity
    owens.vox.com

    I am struck by how global the church really is. Our Western theology is not the only academic discipline within Christianity. God is definitely at work around the world as centuries of western mission efforts in Africa and Asia have produced a vibrant global church. One African Christian stated that the west has more pagans today than does his homeland. Although I agree he could be right, I do not have the data to prove it.

    One defense of this reality could be the nature of the two-third’s world church. At Urbana,(a missions conference hosted by INTERVARSITY) it was emphasized that these churches tend to be more conservative and less likely to embrace liberal ideas concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps Conservative Evangelicals can embrace ideas from our brothers and sisters in the global south. Perhaps there is support for orthodox Christianity there.

    Missionaires from around the world are coming to the U.S. and Europe to recharge Christianity in post-christian cultures. What a change from only a century ago!

    One African brother at Urbana referred to the “poison chalice of Western Theology.” In reference to the call by the U.S. Anglican Church for openly gay priests, he is right. But not all Western Theology has fallen away from orthodox truth. Conservative Evangelicals are alive and well in the west and I pray that we can in turn embrace and gain strength from our conservative brothers and sisters around the world.

    Urbana has inspired me to finally pick up a book that I have wanted to read for nearly a year now. “The New Faces of Christianity” by Philip Jenkins, Oxford University Press, 2006. My thoughts on this book will follow on this blog.

  15. Michael,
    there was a website started up last year that is trying to be a forum for Christians in the arts but it really hasn’t taken off…might be worth checking out anyway http://godlycreatives.com

    BTW, I looked at the whole list and it seemed all about finding people who were SERIOUS about trying to walk with Christ but also REAL enough to show people themselves and not just a facade. You might want to check out http://www.internetmonk.com — I’ve found out he’s pretty good at that.

  16. Man you want to read you a lot of blogs. I think I’m tired.

  17. “I’d like to read a blog by a celibate Christian who struggles with feeling homosexual”

    Check out Dreadnought. He’s Catholic, gay and celibate. Very erudite and well worth taking a look at.

    http://johnheard.blogspot.com/

  18. “I’d like to read blogs written by pastors and church leaders in the third world, global south churches; particularly those that can respond to the “wisdom” of American church leaders who seem to know exactly what the church should be like everywhere. I’d like to hear about the church experiences of those who aren’t dealing with white suburban Americans, but with the uneducated poor.”

    Not quite a blog, but I bet you would be interested in reading or getting a copy of the “Christian Community Bible.” It is a version translated by a poor Catholic priest working among the poor in the slums if Chile. In the process, he created his Bible version with the poor in mind on a borrowed typewriter (remember those?). I have documented the story of the Christian Community Bible here and reviewed the Bible version

    What is great about this Bible are the notes. It is like reading the Bible along with a third world, dedicated man of God. The notes are decidedly oriented toward the poor of the third world and open up whole vistas that as rich Americans, miss. It would be well worth the time to read.

    In my reviews, I also note places where you can read PDF versions to test it out. I have purchased two copies of my own, I find it so challenging.

  19. Messed up my links above. The summary about the Christian Community Bible is here and the review of the Bible is here.

  20. “I’d like to read a blog by someone inside the mainstream Christian music industry who is struggling to make the music more credible and authentic. I don’t want to read hype. I’d like a sense of what’s really going on in that mess.”

    http://www.andrewosenga.com

    Guitarist for Caedman’s Call, formerly of the Normals. Tours with Andrew Peterson’s christmas tour and is well conected in the Nashville christian music scene.

  21. “I’d like to read a blog by someone who is dying, and knows it. Which is all of us, but you know what I mean.”

    Here is one by Mark Palmer, an exceptional man who watched his own wife die of cancer, then died of cancer himself not long afterward leaving behind a young son and his 2nd wife (who now writes the blog).

    http://palmerlp.livejournal.com/

  22. You’re my kind blogger!! And I’ve got some blogs that with satisfy your tastebuds like a fresh strawberry banana smoothie…

    If you want a SNARKY yet spiritual, extremely well-written blog look no further than: The View From Her at http://www.theviewfromher.com/ Jan, makes me laugh and think deeply at the same time.

    Then there’s…

    1. Speculative Faith at http://specfaith.ritersbloc.com/ which talks about all things Sci-Fi and Fantasy from a Christian point of view.

    2. Shelley Lubben at http://blog.myspace.com/shelleylubben She’s an ex-porn star turned Christian with a fire for saving those in the sex industry.

    3. Me, myself and I (i.e. my blogs). Writing about the unusual is my thing. Past topics have included Vespas, Folk Dancing, Vampires, Red Light Districts, Grocery Store Art, Sci-Fi shows and how to make a wicked cool vegetarian dish.

    Check me out at:
    http://solshine7.blogspot.com
    http://scifijournalist.blogspot.com
    http://sweetveggie.blogspot.com

    And you gotta check out my blogroll, you’ll find a lot of other very cool and mucho interesting blogs, some match up pretty well to the ones you WANNA read.

    Read. Write. Live.

  23. Blog by a third world church planter:
    http://guymuse.blogspot.com/

    James

  24. .

    I think you should see some photos of the China christian church. They speak for themselves.

    SOME PICS ARE HERE
    In english: http://www.christianlook.blogspot.com

    ALL PICS ARE HERE
    In portuguese: http://www.china4jesus.blogspot.com

    ——————————————-

    Paradoxaly, all posts you wish to see in special kinds of blogs maybe you should write them

    Joao Cruzue/Brazil