Welcome to the “Best Thing Blog Hop”

Blogging provides writers like me with lots of opportunities—to publish and reach audiences without going through lengthy (and often demoralizing!) editorial selection processes, to market books, to test new ideas that might later become a full-fledged article or book.

But the blogosphere can be a difficult and frustrating workplace as well, for lots of reasons. As I mentioned in my post several weeks ago about the “tyranny of the news hook,” I sometimes grieve how disposable my blog posts can be. On the one hand, they stick around forever (someone Googling my name can easily read posts from several years ago). On the other hand, the fast-paced, fly-by-night nature of Internet content means that even a great blog post is quickly eclipsed by newer content.

Most of the time, that’s fine. It’s the nature of the beast. But when I or someone whose work I read regularly posts a really terrific blog post, one with insight, originality, and staying power, I mourn how quickly it vanishes from the spotlight.

So today, I’m pleased to host the “Best Thing Blog Hop.” I and several of my writer colleagues have each chosen a blog post we think reflects our best work, and are reposting the piece (or a link to it). My own “best thing” is here (in a separate post)—something I wrote at Easter time two years ago. It is one of those rare pieces that simply emerged from my keyboard almost effortlessly, and nearly whole. When I originally posted it (on one of my now-defunct blogs), it got about 10 times more hits than anything I had ever written.

Here is a list of the others participating in the Blog Hop. Please take a few minutes to click through to read several of these pieces from some of my favorite writers, colleagues, and people. I will be adding to the list throughout the day today, as I receive links from the participating bloggers, so please check back! (If you click on a link and get an error message, it is likely because that blogger’s post is not yet live. Please try again in a little while. These are some of the technical concerns that I’m working out; if I do this again I’ll have the process down pat!)

The “Best Thing” Bloggers

Amy Julia Becker (Best Thing: “Arms Like My Grandmother”) — Amy Julia blogs for Patheos on faith, family, and disability, and is the author of the award-winning A Good and Perfect Gift. Learn more about her and her writing at amyjuliabecker.com.

Jennifer Grant (Best Thing: “Ooh La La Over Lady Gaga”) — Jennifer is a journalist and freelance writer with particular interests in parenting, family life, and international health and development. She is the author of two memoirs, Love You More and the soon-to-be-released MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family.

Alison Hodgson (Best Thing: “A Terribly Good Friday”) — Alison is the expert on the etiquette of perilous times. (If you’re not sure what that means, stay tuned. I’m going to link to some of Alison’s recent posts later this week.) She lives in Michigan with her husband Paul, their three children and two good dogs. Follow her on Twitter and visit her blog Older Than Jesus.

Karen Swallow Prior, Ph.D. (Best Thing: “Want to Follow God? Go to Sleep!) — Karen is associate professor of English and Chair of the English and modern languages department at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Karen is a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Human Society of the United States. She blogs regularly at Christianity Today’s women’s blog, Her.meneutics and is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Her work has also appeared at Think Christian and Relevant.

Jana Riess (Best Thing: “My Snarkiest Review”) — Jana is author of the funny and highly praised memoir Flunking Sainthood, and blogs for Religion News Service. She also happens to be my most excellent book editor. Visit her RNS blog.

Margot Starbuck (Best Thing: “A New Message at the Strip Club-Church Showdown”) — Margot is a communicator who is itchy to live out the kingdom Jesus ushered in.  She’s planted in Durham, North Carolina with her husband Peter, their three children, and a faith community she cherishes. Visit her web site at margotstarbuck.com.

Rachel Stone (Best Thing: Her story of being in a German town when several old WWII bombs went off.) — Rachel blogs about food, family, faith and how these intersect with justice and joy. Visit her blog at Eat with Joy.

Michelle Van Loon (Best Thing: An essay on “what it means to be put on the proverbial shelf after a time of active ministry.”) — Michelle uses her words to blog about spiritual ragamuffins, rebels, and refugees to show how God uses our mess and his grace to transform us. Visit her web site at michellevanloon.com.

…and of course, me!

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.


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