Top 200 Church Blogs and Then Some

Photos: puuikibeach on Flickr

A few weeks ago, Kent Shaffer’s Church Relevance Blog posted a list of Top 200 Church Blogs. And while I am honored to have cracked the charts at #90 the list, like many others, on first glance, I felt as though the list lacked diversity in many areas: gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. Of course, I did not walk through each and every blog to record and analyze demographic identifiers and I don’t think the make-up of the list would change that much if a different set of matrices was used, but, just as Kent acknowledges in his final FAQ, the church-based blogging landscape is dominated by dudes. This list bears that out big time.

Where are the top Christian women bloggers? Some are undiscovered. Some write outside of the topical scope of this list. Many write for the multi-author blogs on the list and aren’t listed by name. However, we must also acknowledge that there is a huge gender gap within the blogosphere as well as within church leadership that ultimately affects this list. Be sure to read our lengthier explanation as to where are the top christian women bloggers.

And in this explanation, he does do a little more in-depth sharing about the bloggers, lifting up the female bloggers who might not be so easily identified by the blog name or are part of a group blog. Be sure to take a look at the filtered list and as well as the comments to see even more folks. At the end of the note Kent lays out another acknowledgement:

So while there is a gender gap, keep in mind that the disparity isn’t just among gender. There is an even greater gap with racial disparity (most are white), and the greatest disparity is that very few of the bloggers are not from the United States. With time we can hope that things are better equalized.

Kent later follows up with an Open Letter to Christian Women Blogs where he tried to address some of the reactions to the list. I know from seeing some of the reactions to the letter that not all were were satisfied by his response, so I am glad to see that Kent continues to come back to the post and offer edits and explanations. From the public posts, he seems to have handled the critique with a genuine spirit of openness.

Still . . . the list, as many point out is still pretty White and, I would guess, hetero.

So rather than pile on Kent and give his list, or any other lists like it, more power or clout than it would organically generate, I will simple offer 10 blogs and a few kick-ass lists that can broaden your blog reading experience. Still missing are bloggers outside of the United States, but let me offer these other folks who might expand your experience around race, gender, sexuality, etc.

MUST READ LISTS: First and foremost, you MUST check out D.J. Chuang’s 2010 list, Top Church Blogs By Minority Leaders for some racial diversity. I would also commend to you Rhetoric, Race and Religion for a solid group blog and API Women Faith & Action for some great histories as told through this blog. Glancing through these lists, these are some solid folks on here. Still light on female bloggers, this is a good place to start.

10 MORE BLOGS TO READ: So here are 10 folks that I am drawn to, not always because I agree with what they write, but because through their sharing, I am given the privilege of seeing the world through lenses that would not otherwise be possible. This is a list of academics, practitioners, friends and strangers each with a little snippet from their blog bio. In no particular order . . .

Randy Woodley // Rev. Dr. Randy S. Woodley grew up during the turbulent 1960s in the multiethnic Willow Run district of Ypsilanti, Michigan. With his roots steeped deep in southern working poor families, he is a legal descendent of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. Education: B.A. Rockmont College; M.Div., Palmer Theological Seminary; Ph.D. Intercultural Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission. He is the author of Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision.

Alex Patchin McNeill // Alex’s driving passion is working for queer and transgender inclusion in sacred spaces, and fundraising for progressive social causes. He is the first openly transgender ministry candidate in his conservative Presbyterian region in Western North Carolina. Alex earned his Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School with scholarship on the intersection of religion, gender, sexuality, and reproductive rights. He has been writing, organizing, training, and preaching for LGBT equality for the past nine years.

Jenni Clayville // Welcome to my chaotic world. Sometimes, it’s chaotic because of life circumstances… but usually it’s chaotic because I excel in CHAOS. I guess I find it more interesting that way.First and foremost, I am the CEO of my home. I make sure everyone’s loved up, fed up and clothed up. I have also been a Worship Leader/Pastor over the last 15 years and am currently the Worship & Creative Arts Pastor at Paseo Christian Church in El Paso, Texas.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim // Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her M.Div. from Knox College (University of Toronto) and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology and the Director of the Master of Arts in Theological Studies program at Moravian Theological Seminary. She is the author of The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology and The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology.

Eliacin Rosario-Cruz // I am a husband & father, wandering spiritual companion, photographer, communitarian, community cultivator. I unashamedly drive a mini-van. I’ve been known for paradoxically falling asleep watching movies and drink way too much coffee. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. In 2005 my family and I moved to Seattle as part of our pilgrimage toward a more harmonious life and vocation.

Soong-Chan Rah // Professor Rah is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church. Soong-Chan is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism and North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL.

Katie Mulligan // Itinerant Pastor. Parent of Oldest and Little Guy. Cat Person. Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation. It also does not represent my children’s perspective, nor my mother’s; they think I am funny, but misguided.

Yolanda Pierce // Yolanda Pierce is an Associate Professor of African American Religion and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. She holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. degree from Cornell University and undergraduate degrees from Princeton University. Pierce’s research specialties include African American Religious History; Womanist Theology; African American Literature; and 19th Century American Culture. She is the author of Hell Without Fires: Slavery, Christianity, and the Antebellum Spiritual Narrative.

Nanette Sawyer // I’m the founding pastor of Wicker Park Grace and Grace Commons in Chicago. I grew up in very rural upstate New York and later lived for many years in Massachusetts, including five in Boston. I received a Masters of Theological Studies in Comparative World Religions from Harvard Divinity School in 1997 and made my way to Chicago in 1999 to attend McCormick Theological Seminary. From there, I graduated with a Masters of Divinity and became ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2002. She is the author of Hospitality-The Sacred Art: Discovering the Hidden Spiritual Power of Invitation and Welcome.

Roland Stringfellow // Rev. Roland Stringfellow works to create dialogs on the topic of LGBTQ equality with congregations as the Director of Ministerial Outreach with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Sexuality on the campus of Pacific School of Religion. He has conducted multiple workshops on the topics of race, religion, class and sexuality.

Like Kent’s, D.J.’s or anyone else’s list of blogs, there are many great folks who have undoubtedly been left off and deserve to be read. The additions that I offer are limited by my own experience, relationships and context, so, if there are some bloggers who you think need some love, please leave comments in this blog post or this Facebook Update. Lastly, for all of my blogging friends who I have not included, please know I still love you and I’ll try to get you the next time around.

Three Reasons You Should Attend Wild Goose West

UPDATE on August 17, 2012 – The WGF folks have extended my 15% discount code until Midnight on August 29th, so if you are still deciding if this is an event to attend, there is still time to get a little break on the registration fee. Register here: Wild Goose Ticket Website and use the code, WILDBRC (all caps).

UPDATE on August 12, 2012 – If it helps give you a sense of the kinds of things that are going at Wild Goose, here are two draft descriptions of talks that I’ll be giving.

  • Saturday @ 9am – Panel on difference
  • Saturday @ 2pm – Solo talk, “Are we still talking about race?”
    Still one of the most “awkward moment” inducing topics in today’s church is the issue of race. Some want to just “get beyond it” while, for others, race seems to be the only discourse worthy of attention. And then there are those who “don’t see race” and think that we perpetuate the racial divide by talking about it. Race is a difficult topic, but one that new expressions of faith must address with nuance, passion and faith . . .  so that’s what I’ll attempt to do.
  • Saturday @ 7pm – Solo talk,  “The radical nature of the middle way”
    As we move deeply into the presidential election season, what will it looks like to be a positive presence in the public square? In a world where it seems as if many people – politicians and pastors – find refuge in strident ideological camps, might the radical calling of Christ be to genuinely hear the other, cross the aisle and find moments of grace that strengthen the common good? Lets talk about it.
  • Sunday @ 2pm – Panel on the future of denominations

This Labor Day Weekend near Portland, OR, I will be participating in the gathering known as Wild Goose West 2012 and I would love to see you there! I have never been to a Wild Goose, but have had a good number of friends who have attended the East Coast version that has been in existence for a few years, so I am excited to finally be able to make it.

In addition to this thoughtful reflection from Katie Mulligan, here is some info from the official site:

We are a community creating a festival at the intersection of justice, spirituality and art. The first festival took place in June 2011; the next one is August 31-September 2. We take inspiration from many places, such as Greenbelt, Burning Man, the Iona Community, SXSW, and others. The festival is open to everyone; we don’t censor what can be said; we invite respectful – but fearless – conversation and action for the common good.

The Wild Goose is a Celtic spirituality metaphor that evokes unpredictability, beauty, and grace. The festival resonates with this image because we recognize that in the current climate of religious and political division and lack of civility, embracing the creative and open nature of our faith is perhaps our greatest asset for re-building and strengthening our relationships with each other, with our enemies, with our stories, our questions, and the other. In that spirit, in an informal setting, and in the context of creative and respectful relationships, we invite you to imagine a new world with us.

Here are three reasons that you should consider attending Wild Goose West’s inaugural gathering:

1 . . . If you have ever wanted to meet these other people that I have talked about in my blogs, tweets and instagram pics, this will be the first event in a long time where my whole family (spouse and three daughters) plus my mom and step-dad will be at the same event. They are all much more fun than I and if you want to play a little Settlers of Catan, we are so game!

Second . . . there are some awesome folks lined up to speak, sing and create, so there will be plenty to feed your soul. I’m speaking as well, but please do not let that deter you from coming because you can also listen to and interact with yahoo’s such as: Dervish D’Light, Nadia Bolz-Weber, No Kind Of Rider, Rachel Evans, Yvette Flunder, Brian McLaren,Fr. Richard Rohr, Alexia Salvatierra, Richard Twiss, Sara Fischer, Susan Leo David, Leslie Melissa, Marley Bonnichsen, Kurt Neilson, Brittany Ouchida, Kerlin Richter, Maria-Jose “Cote” Soerens, Diane Syrcle, Menomena, Linda Hornbuckle, Obo Addy, Josh Garrels, Gungor, Aaron Strumpel, Blacque Butterfly, Randy Woodley, Shelley Short, Lauren Steele, Mike McGonigal, Beyondadoubt, Speaker Minds, Ryan Sollee, When The Broken Bow, Hannah Glavor, Great Wilderness, Kat Jones, Kelli Schaefer, Agents Of Future, and . . .

AND C . . . There is a serious rumor going around that my mom and step-father will be cooking up some chicken adobo, so you will NOT want to miss your chance to experience this yummy Filipino cuisine.

If you do decide to go, the good folks at Wildgoose have set up a special 15% off promo code, so when you register, use “WILDBRC” (all caps) on the Wild Goose Ticket Website and click on the reddish “Enter Promotion Code” link.  The code expires at midnight on August 15th.

To keep up with Wild Goose West announcements on the interwebs:

Hope to see you then, but if you can’t go, I’ll be tweeting and instagramming (sp?) all the while!