Group Blog, Anyone?

pencilsFollowing my recent and completely unfun foray into group blogging, I received a number of suggestions that I start my own group blog. At first I dismissed the idea; but it kept returning to me, and slowly but surely grew on me. I’m now at the point of thinking that it might in fact be a fun/good thing to run a group blog.

The blog I’m thinking of would be in the form of an online discussion, wherein a group of no more than a dozen Christians, each representing a different strain or denomination of the faith–conservative, liberal, Catholic, emerging, Calvinist, fundamentalist, and so on—- would discuss a specific question or topic. I or any of the group would put forth, for instance, “Today’s topic is ‘Tithing: The Pain of Giving,’” or whatever the subject might be (need I mention who would pre-approve  the discussion topics?), and then our writers would chime in on that topic. No comments from readers would be allowed, since that’s the only way to avoid unwieldy separate exchange threads. And each of the blog’s members would have to agree, going in, on the rules governing membership to the blog, which would consist first and foremost of the assurance that they would at all times respect ways of being Christian that are different from their own.

I think it’d be cool to have a place where Christians of distinctly different strains and traditions could come together to discuss matters of concern to all Christians (and people). If there are Christian group blogs out there like that (and I imagine there must be), I don’t know of them. All the Christian group blogs with which I’m familiar consist of writers who believe and practice the same things. I’d like to see a blog where people could come to learn about and appreciate different ways of doing and understanding Christianity.

What do you think of such a blog? Sound good to you? Think it’d be something you’d read and visit? Have any thoughts or suggestions on it?

(Also, if you think you’d like to be one of the writers on this group blog, please include in your comment to this post a link to your own blog. Please understand that I’m not at all committing to doing this new blog; I’m only taking these few exploratory steps. But of course part of that is giving a little thought to who the writers on the blog might be.)

Thanks for your input/thoughts.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://minoritythinker.blogspot.com Shannon

    I think it's a great idea and would definitely read it. I'd also consider writing for it, though I'm not sure which category I fall into — conservative, I suppose, but with influences from a variety of denominations. (I grew up evangelical, went to a Presbyterian college and a Pentecostal graduate school, and spent the past ten years in a Brethren in Christ [cousin of Mennonite] church.)

    I wouldn't be able to commit to daily posts, though — maybe weekly.

  • http://www.epcomm.com/ddawson Dennis Dawson

    Hmm – too bad it's limited to Christians. I'll have to start another blog and see if you'll join that one. ;)

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Bur

    Would there be a place for the non-believing perspective? I would be happy to contribute.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Skerrib: Yeah, I think having a slot for guests would be a good thing to do.

    Shannon: Gotcha. I would need people who could commit to posting more than once a week, though, as I'm sure you understand.

    Dennis and Mike: You two should start an atheists' group blog!

  • http://www.scg-wakeupcall.blogspot.com Susan

    I would likely look at this, and might be interested in being a part of the group… if you need lesbian laity from the Episcopal Church (which probably places under the 'liberal' category). I'd like to know more about what you'd need.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    I WOULD TYPE IN ALL CAPS AND THROW IN THE OCCASIONAL PROFANITY AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS TO KEEP THINGS INTERESTING!!!!!!!!!

    Or not; either way.

  • http://www.epcomm.com/ddawson Dennis Dawson

    You must understand that I don't walk around all day following the path of the atheist, reading atheist tracts, converting people to atheism, etc. It's an absence in my life, not something I have to work toward. I'm not watching my step, afraid that I'll have spiritual thoughts and become a fallen atheist or anything like that.

    I was thinking something more along the lines of wry and witty observations, les bons mots, n'est-ce pas? For now, I'll just post limericks and keep my head down.

    Since I'm in the awkward position

    of not coming close to a Christian,

    I'll have to refrain

    from being urbane.

    (My sole contribution: abstention!)

  • Leonardo

    I really enjoy reading your blog; you know, the way you express different themes (makes me feel totally limited). But what you suggest sounds like a forum: you just put the theme and the rest debate or comment. Comments are always interesting, but what about your writing, will you keep this blog?

  • http://steveinmarines.blogspot.com steve

    Dennis and Mike, I've got you covered. Just post comments and I'll make you admins.

    John, I'm a cloud-worshiping cybernetic lizard person from ancient space Belgium. I know you specified "Christian," but I've had a lot of crazy adventures I could write about, due to the fact that clouds are hard to worship.

  • http://steveinmarines.blogspot.com steve

    Apparently I didn't have you covered. This is what I was referring to:
    http://atheistgroupblog4000.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.tracetalks.blogspot.com Tracey

    I love the idea and would definitely read it! I'd like to say I'd write, but feel a bit intimidated…

  • http://kansasbob.com/ kansasbob

    Sounds interesting John. Here are my blogs for your persusal:

    An Eye for Redemption: http://redeemed.kansasbob.com/

    Daily Prayer: http://praying.kansasbob.com/

    Kansas Bob: http://kansasbob.com/

  • http://levite.wordpress.com/ Jon Swanson

    I read you, so i'll read it. And would enjoy the conversation.

    And I'd like to be considered for writing. I already write daily at http://300wordsaday.com and occasionally at http://levite.wordpress.com. I'm ordained in the Missionary Church (no one knows about us). I've worked at Catholic, Mennonite, and Missionary Church colleges, and have attended Baptist, Brethren, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and generic evangelical churches.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty (Michael)

    I will totally read it. And if considered I'd certainly be able to write on it a few times per week (my own blog writing stopped two months ago due to birth of baby, and is now silent simply due to inertia). I'd be in the liberal/sarcastic/Jesus-centered group, and God knows you don't need many of those! So I understand there will be a lot of people vying for those slots and I'll be perfectly happy reading from the sidelines if I don't fit.

    My background is ultra-fundamentalist and I'm also an amateurish scholar with some college-level theological training. I love cultural studies, neuroscience, physics, red letters and the smell of oregano.

    Keep rockin'.

  • mm

    You know what's funny about life? You spend half your life trying to break free of your parents and the other half trying to understand how they messed you up.

  • mm

    thats just a thought i had today. Blog sounds interesting.

  • Mack Ramer

    "I think it’d be cool to have a place where Christians of distinctly different strains and traditions could come together to discuss matters of concern to all Christians (and people)."

    That already exists, it's called the Boar's Head Tavern.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Well, I was thinking we'd start a group blog written by Christians who AREN'T also pompous sacks of hot air.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty (Michael)

    p.s. — Dennis Dawson's limerick is freakin' brilliant

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    I’d read it. Would there be a way to allow occasional guest comments, or would that be too much of a pain to moderate? I might like to write on it too.

  • Rich

    I'm all ears…eyes…ahh, whatever. I'll tune in.

    (and quietly hope for a guest comment option)

  • http://wittenberghall.com Jamey Bennett

    John,
    great idea! I'd definitely read it. If you want an Orthodox Christian, I'd be game.

  • ginamarie33

    Maybe you can call it "NOT "bores" head" or something……

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita cadonau-huseby

    Ooooohhhhh. Okay. I just checked out "the other white meat" group blog and see what you mean now when you talk about starting one. Oh, count me in Bro. Count me in!

  • janeyruth

    No interest whatsoever. Your readers, fans, hangers-on are just weird. There's not one actual professed Christian in the lot. Everyone's an atheist, or an agnostic, or a wicca, or an animist, or a fucking druid, or an I-don't-know-what-I-am-but-I-think-I-know-what-I'm-not.

    I prefer the jihadis. They know what they are…

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita cadonau-huseby

    Someone needs a hug.

  • casey

    *raises hand* I is the wiccan. Although I will masquerade as an atheist when I feel there aren't enough non christians supporting each other in that particular corner…. But I am wiccan.

  • textjunkie

    well, you'd definitely be to the left of the Boar's Head. And you'd have (gasp!) women, while they apparently don't. So yeah, I'd probably follow, and/or post if I could (couldn't guarantee how often, though).

    and then once a season you could do cross-over postings with them, like on related TV shows… (oh no, probably not. ;)

    I'm liberal Episcopalian, but was raised a weird mix of fundamentalist charismatic and Catholic. (I got bettah.) I don't unfortunately have a blog per se that writes about religious stuff regularly, though. You've seen some of my thoughts in email, so you know if I'm inane or not. ;)

  • http://www.twitter.com/atseminary JAy.

    Well, John, if you need a Methodist, I can try to help out. Not that I am really all that qualified, but I could give it a go! Posting would have to be limited to a few (short) posts per week, though. Seminary takes a lot of time, not to mention working!

  • http://living3dfaith.blogspot.com/ Tim

    I’d like to be involved.

    One question, though. How often would the selected bloggers need to participate/contribute? More than once a day…three times a week?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Leo: Kind of you to ask. Yes, I would definitely continue my separate blog here. The group blog would be a side project.

    As to how often I would expect people to post: I would think any of our writers would want to check in at least once a day to see what’s happening. I would further hope that when they did, they would at least three times a week be interested enough in what’s happening on the blog to be compelled to leave a word or two. If not, then we’ve either got the wrong writers, or we’re completely failing to be adequately interesting—wouldn’t you think?

    Tracey: You’ve been reading me long enough to know I’m hardly intimidating.

    Wait. Am I?? Wow. I have no idea. Maybe I am! Well, I trust I don’t intimidate you, anyway.

    Wait. You must have just meant the idea of writing on the blog is intimidating, not me. Gotcha.

  • http://namesake.wordpress.com Dale

    John – I’d love to participate. Though I definitely have an unusual theological background and view, I seldom articulate it with great definition on my personal blog. It would be great to have such an outlet and/or to have the insight, as a reader, into such an exchange. Good thinking.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.blogspot.com/ Julia

    Well, quite honestly, if you have an all Christian only thing where non-Christians will not be able to contribute or comment then I probably wont be reading it. Being it's not my faith and all…..

    But it sounds like y'all would have fun and you should probably do it. I'll be good for you.

    If you keep this blod going I may drop by now and again. I actually was enjoying your blog.

    Have fun with your new adventure!

    Peace,

    ~julia

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    This blog will remain as is; I'll continue to post here, same as always. And, again, I'm only thinking about the group blog, and haven't even almost committed to it.

  • http://www.aelc.edu.au/the-naked-ape-blog/index.html Nathan

    Sounds interesting.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Janey: I’m also one of the most popular bloggers on Crosswalk.com; the content I run here is identical to what I run there. Do you suppose the Crosswalk audience is Christian enough for you? (And do I have any Wicca, animists, or Druid readers? If so, identify yourselves! I’d be totally interested to know!)

  • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

    John,

    I find your idea intriguing, and yet I am constrained from contributing due to the fact that (A) I can’t keep up with the three other blogs I’m already supposed to be contributing to, and (B) I am still not sure if I’m a Southern Baptist or an Orthodox Quaker. Which seems like it would be a simple distinction to make.

    And I love the little parenthetical Jon threw in about his denomination (“no one knows about us”).

  • http://theskinhorse.wordpress.com theskinhorse

    In response to this: "(And do I have any Wicca, animists, or Druid readers? If so, identify yourselves! I’d be totally interested to know!)"

    I am largely influenced by Vajrayana Buddhism and Mysticism. My partner would also describe some of my beliefs within Hinduisn, though I haven't studied it in detail enough to confirm or refute this. I have looked into many other belief systems, mostly to have an answer for people when they want to attach a label to my beliefs and practices. So while I am not Wiccan, I do have a background knowledge of the religion, and I agree with some of the tenants in it. Of course, these tenants with which I agree are very similar across many religions. I tend to see a lot more similarities among religions than differences.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    hmmm… do you promise no "pompous sacks of air" ??

    And Anita, "Someone needs a hug." – lol, you are such a pastor.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    Sounds good to me.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    In terms of being open to non-Christians or not … that depends on the purpose of the group blog.

    If it's meant to be a discussion of Christian ideas and thinking, then, of course, we're going to want Christians on it.

    If it's a general discussion, then of course we'd want non-Christians. That's a question of the purpose. For my own part, I'd be more interested in being a part of the Christian group than in the wider group. From what I've seen around Beliefnet, for example, the conversations wandered too much for me to stay really interested. Other people love it. There is a good place for both, but this would be a question of what John and co. want to do.

  • http://dudethatscrazy.wordpress.com Jennifer

    I think not having comments is brilliant. Its a christian group blog. We aren’t writing to show all sides of religion and decide who’s better. We all know. We may not all have all the same traditions or beliefs. But he is a “big” God. He deserves all the different praises he can get. If we all conformed to each others rules. So what if people have skipped around to different denominations – its not like they skipped around to completely different religions. You have to find what is right for you through christianity, that’s what makes it right.

  • textjunkie

    Thinking more about this, it would be interesting to see what kind of group you end up with. I don’t think the guys over on BHT are just sacks of hot air–some of them are, but a lot of them are careful thinkers. They are just to the right of center, representing a particular brand of fundamentalist Protestant thinking. They do cover a spectrum of thoughts within that range; it’s just that their most liberal thinking is to allow questioning the literal interpretation of Genesis, and they spread from there to the right into stringent fundamentalism. They can look to their right and see still other groups, so they think they cover a pretty broad spectrum; but seriously, they’re still (recently) discussing the pros and cons of the medical model of mental illness, for heaven’s sake. (What century are we in?)

    Given your blog has readers that are not in the Calvinist tradition (or even Christian at all, and yet find your tone and content interesting), I would imagine you’d cover the gamut from a little left of center through Spong and on out the other end, unless you draw the line somewhere. Which would be cool–I was just saying the other day that I don’t know of any left-leaning religious blogging communities to balance out the ones I know of on the far or near right.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian Beyer

    I think there are some pretty good points made about not limiting the blog to just Christians? Why not open it up to other faiths as well? It might be surprising to see how much we all have in common. And I wouldn’t draw any lines anywhere – let it all hang out. But, this is your idea and you’ve probably already made up your mind on it. Without committing anything yet, of course.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Roger: You're kidding, yes? God, please say yes. Unless you actually DO mean it. Then … really? You're to the right of the BHTers?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Wow. Lots of interesting stuff here: lots of great comments, good writers, good food for thought, etc. Good work, guys! Thank you.

    Hmmm. Well, I wouldn’t do this unless I had a writer representing the far right, the middle, the left, and so on. The whole spectrum would have to be represented. Though I HAVE noticed that all my favorite blog writers are kind of … lefty. So I could see a SLIGHT tip that way. But … I personally am a true mix of “conservative” and “liberal” Christianity, so … so that means about nothing.

    Anyway, right. It’s all about the mix.

    As to why I decided to keep it about Christianity: two reasons. First, I feel that would make for a more engaged readership, because it would make the writers engage between themselves to a depth and degree that i think unlikely to happen in a forum written by writers of Actual Different Religions. If the question to be discussed was, say, the one about tithing, and the forum was being written by representatives of different readers, then each writer would just say what their faith system sort of directs them to do, or whatever—and then … I think that would kind of be that. I feel that everybody would be likely to sort of STAY where they are, because, after all, they would know that what they really feel and know isn’t REALLY being absorbed by the other writers, since the other writers really wouldn’t even believe in their religions at ALL, if you see what I mean. (Sorry; I’m about blind with exhaustion right now.) Those wall, I think, would too often prove too thick for truly engaging exchanges.

    MOSTLY, though, I’m interested in this blog because I’m EXHAUSTED with Xtians constantly criticizing and fretting over the way all the OTHER Xtians practice their faith. I want it all on one table. All Xtians either believe in the same God—they either believe in the reality of Jesus Christ—or they don’t. I think we should find out just how deep the divisions between different kinds of Xtians and Christianity are. Let liberals defend the idea that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was mainly metaphorical. Let fundamentalists defend taking the Bible literally. I’d like to SEE that, you know?

    As ever, my only real guide in doing anything is asking myself what I’d like to read. And, in this case, I’d like to read an assortment of differing kinds of Christians addressing the same question or topic. So … that’s what I personally would put together. (Though, that said, I DO always read articles where reps of different religions are chiming in about the same thing. I just don’t think it would be too interesting day in and day out. Like everything, of course, that would really depend entirely on the writing. Those writers would have to be … too good to do this for free. With an all Xtian cast, I can get away with writers who are perhaps a little less … precise in what they say, and how.)

  • RogerC

    Yes I am to the right of the BHTers. I'm in rural Arkansas, what do you expect?

  • textjunkie

    Well now, if we could keep it polite, that WOULD be interesting. ;)

  • Leonardo

    I would like to be in the group. I can't figure if you want me there or not. Mike described me as a Scripture Quoter, if that is useful to your purpose, you might consider me.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty (Michael)

    Hey Roger, I grew up in Jonesboro and went to college in Searcy. Most of my family still lives in Arkansas.

    So I feel you, brother.

  • textjunkie

    Next thing you know John'll be holding auditions… LOL

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    By asking people to leave their blog addresses, I sort of was.

  • textjunkie

    Ah! Dang, this will probably be scraped and there goes any hopes of maintaining anonymity in the future, but I've posted religious thoughts here:
    http://jaipur.livejournal.com/458033.html

    and here
    http://jaipur.livejournal.com/456602.html
    and here
    http://jaipur.livejournal.com/454958.html (though you got a shorter version of that in email at the time).

    But I don't keep a religious blog per se.

  • RogerC

    If you would like someone who thinks the BHT crowd is liberal, I’m your man!

  • http://odgie.wordpress.com Odgie

    Redlefty (Michael): You sound like a Harding man. So am I, class of '94. But i've mostly recovered from it :)

  • RogerC

    I can only be nice to those who agree with me. Everyone else I treat like family.

  • Candace

    I love the idea. I'd read it.

  • http://jockmcgonzo.wordpress.com Chris Williams

    i'd read and would be interested in posting always happy to put my $0.02 in.

    http://jockmcgonzo.wordpress.com

  • http://www.scg-wakeupcall.blogspot.com Susan

    OK, here's my blog address:

    http://www.scg-wakeupcall.blogspot.com

    and I have been known to offer comments at Anita's Sister-Friends Together site.

    As a cradle Episcopalian, I believe in the Holy Trinity… and heresy is serving a martini in an old-fashioned glass. :-)

  • textjunkie

    I'll vote for including Susan and her Wake up and Live site!! That's one of the blogs I never miss… :)

  • onemansbeliefs

    If it’s written, I will read…

    and in the hopes of getting a couple of hits…

    http://onemansbeliefs.wordpress.com/

  • http://craigbenno1.wordpress.com Craig Benno

    I know this is an old post. John… I think this idea is a fantastic idea and I would love to contribute towards it also.

    I'm not sure where I fit on the spectrum of Christianity. I have pentecostal / charismatic leanings in regards to fully experiencing the baptism and the gifting of the Holy Spirit with out the current trappings of personal wealth / tithe etc… nor do I hold to all should be healed…though maintaining that God can and does heal today.

    I would love to contribute towards a discussion of the tithe…. you can read a post I did on that subject on my own blog… .http://craigbenno1.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/called-to-live-generously/


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