About that ‘Bonfire’ list …

So, yeah, this has turned out to be a bigger project than I anticipated, but having gotten started it’s hard to stop.

It has also been a rewarding project. I’ve come across hundreds of terrific blogs and tons of brilliant, funny, moving, engaging, inspiring and informative writing.

There are also a few clunkers in that list, mind you. I hadn’t realized that anti-feminist women’s blogs were a thing, and some of those are pretty depressing, both in the execution and in the very idea of them.

But I decided not to filter the list apart from those three basic criteria of Christian women bloggers. That was the annoying question that provoked this project to begin with — “Where are all the Christian women bloggers?” or “Why aren’t there any Christian women bloggers?” — so I let that be the only basis for the list.

Plus one of the things that irks me about a lot of the lists of “Christian bloggers” that I’ve seen is the way they enforce strict limits — implicit or explicit — on what does and does not constitute acceptable content, or what may or may not be written. Most of the blogs on this Bonfire list are excluded from the popular evangelical blog listings — and from the conversation in the evangelical sub-blogosphere — for one such reason or another. Maybe they’re not explicitly excluded because they’re women, but there seems to be a high correlation between the sorts of things women write and the sorts of ideas that the boys running that show find unacceptable.

I’ve seen the delusional epistemic closure that approach produces and I don’t want to fall into that trap, so I didn’t exclude any blogs from the list, even those few that seemed to be pathologically codependent “complementarian” sites paradoxically insisting that Christian women must keep silent.

But that’s only a tiny handful of the more than 1,000 blogs I’ve encountered in making this list, most of which are really good.

The list is remarkably diverse. It includes pastors, priests, bishops and cloistered nuns. It includes students, scholars, scientists, professors in a host of disciplines, authors, artists and poets. There are wise teenagers and precocious retirees. There are food blogs, family blogs, style blogs, book blogs, craft blogs, eco-blogs and sci-fi blogs.

There are smart women writing smart things all over the U.S. and Canada, throughout the U.K., in Australia and New Zealand. There’s a blog from Vanuatu in that list. And there are bloggers sprinkled throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. (There’d be many more of those, of course, except that this English-language list was compiled by a parochial monoglot. My parochialism also accounts for this list being overwhelmingly white, a deficiency I’m working on addressing.)

I’ve resisted any impulse to rank these by popularity or preference. It would likely be useful to sort the list into categories, but I haven’t tried that either for fear of pigeonholing folks as “only” this or that category. Feel free to try ranking or sorting the raw material of this (still growing) alphabetical list. It might be a good starting point for someone looking to compile a list of the 100 Biggest Christian women’s blogs or of the Top 100 Blogs by Women Pastors or whatever.

(The list is alphabetical by first name, because this is the Internet and iTunes seems to have changed the rules. And it’s a bit of an uneven mix of names and blog titles, so if you’re looking for your own blog and can’t find it, try command-F, but if it’s not there, it should be, so please leave a comment correcting that omission.)

Rather than continuing to post periodic updates in full, as in the previous post, I’m hoping to incorporate this list — and the other two I’m working on — into the permanent architecture of this site. That way they’re easier to find, and I can keep updating them without more separate link-laden posts.

But I don’t want that to seem in any way proprietary. This isn’t my list, it’s just a list — and if anyone wants to copy and paste the whole thing elsewhere, that would be terrific too.

Finally, I probably don’t need to say this, but let me also clarify that in making this list — a list of only Christian women bloggers — I’m not in any way suggesting that Christian blogs are the bestest blogs and the only ones anyone should be reading. If you restrict their blog-reading habits in that way, you’re cheating yourself big time. So the purpose of this list is not to cheer for Team Christian or to elevate one tribe over anyone else, it’s more intramural than that.

Again, I started this partly out of frustration and annoyance at the question “Where are all the Christian women bloggers?” That question seemed disingenuous — the faux lamentation of boys who have themselves spent years and careers excluding and discounting the very same voices that they’re pretending to be unable to find. So this project is, in part, an attempt to shut up a bunch of annoying jackwagons, and since they’re specifically Christian jackwagons, this list also had to be specifically Christian.

Or, to focus on the positive, it was a way to try to help amplify the voices of women within the church and within the Christian conversation. Because these women deserve to be heard. And because the church, for too long, has been limiting itself and its ability to function by refusing to let everyone speak.

  • John

    I’m never going to make it through that list…

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    If the only requirement is that the blogger be Christian and a woman, my blog counts and I’d love to be added to the list.  I would have submitted it earlier, but I thought the blog itself had to be about religion.  I rarely talk about my faith explicitly, but it permeates everything I write.

  • AnonaMiss

    Aww, it’s OK Fred, I don’t think anyone here thinks you’re actually mean-spirited against non-Christians. If this is about the atheists in the comments recently, it’s just that we’re a little sensitive about that psalm and about people telling us we can’t think the way we do – or that thinking a way other than the way we do is necessary, which is pretty much the same thing. 

    I think normally you would have gotten a pass on each of those posts – except maybe the Psalm – since it’s your blog about what you find valuable; it was just bad timing that you had a few posts over a short interval that touched that nerve.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    The list is alphabetical by first name, because this is the Internet and

    … breaking someone’s name arbitrarily based on where the spaces are might not get you the right result, even in a list of people who post in English.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Of course, it might be amusing to see exactly what the other end has to say.
    Maybe you could differentiate for each end of the stick, one end intelligent women saying intelligent things, and one for… Prairie Muffins, the Happy-Clappies on fire for JAY-zuz, and all the Irene Steeles of the blogosphere.

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah | the smitten word

    faux lament–that’s exactly it! thank you for writing and lighting a better conversation about gender and the Church. it shouldn’t be so rare, and yet it is, even in “progressive”  spaces. your persistence in highlighting both inequalities and underrepresented voices is much appreciated.

    thanks for counting my writing in your list. (my name [879] currently links to jen’s site, tho.)

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    Wow, you took the time to look at all 1001 of them? Thanks for doing this list, Fred. ^_^ I hope I have time to check out a bunch of them.

  • Michael Pullmann

    The horse is dead. You can stop beating it now.

  • stardreamer42

     LibraryThing gets that wrong. I’ve had to manually change the author’s name format for every book in my library by A.E. Van Vogt and various other 2-word surnames.

  • stardreamer42

    the faux lamentation of boys who have themselves spent years and careers
    excluding and discounting the very same voices that they’re pretending
    to be unable to find

    Thank you again for highlighting that tactic. It doesn’t just occur in Christian circles.

  • Carstonio

    the way they enforce strict limits — implicit or explicit — on what does
    and does not constitute acceptable content, or what may or may not be
    written… there seems
    to be a high correlation between the sorts of things women write and the
    sorts of ideas that the boys running that show find unacceptable.

    Since I haven’t read any of those blogs, other than a few entries by Rachel Held Evans, I don’t know for sure what sorts of topics are getting the boys’ goats. If these aren’t about gender roles, then perhaps it’s the equivalent of educated blacks receiving the racist label of “uppity,” where the issue is that the women are simply being assertive in their criticisms instead of acting submissive.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think maybe it would not be a good thing for Yet Another Male Christian Blogger to take a list of female bloggers and sort it based on which ones are more valid or less valid.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I think normally you would have gotten a pass on each of those posts –
    except maybe the Psalm – since it’s your blog about what you find
    valuable; it was just bad timing that you had a few posts over a short
    interval that touched that nerve.

    In other words, “Sorry Fred, you aren’t allowed to love that passage.You must cede its meaning to other christians who interpret their faith differently than you do and whose views you have always been opposed to, and whom you have never been willing to  yield as arbiters of the true meaning of scripture. If you do choose to continue loving that passage, you must keep it to yourself and not share it with your readers”?

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

     Hang on. It’s likely that Fred wouldn’t have got a pass on the Psalm post, even if it had not been in the middle of some others that had annoyed some atheists. That’s not at all to say that he shouldn’t have “got a pass” on it.

    That phrasing is awkward, but I’m hungry and my fingers are too cold to type properly.

    TRiG.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Sorry about that. I was thinking more along the lines of a spectrum. Even Prairie Muffins do have worthy thoughts.

  • Ursula L

    While it makes a great deal of sense for you not to define these women’s identities, it might be worthwhile to invite any Christian women bloggers on your list to provide a brief amount of information about how they identify themselves.  

    To keep it from being overwhelming, I’d suggest providing some basic rules and limits for what you will provide.  Say, a Twitter-length statement by the blogger in question on how they’d like to be known, five keywords (other than “Christian,” “woman” and “blogger” [and related words, such as what  "lady" or "girl" is to "woman" - to keep things useful] since that’s already defined by the list parameters) as search words they think would help people who would like what they have to say find them, and one link, to the website of their congregation, church or denomination (their choice.) 

    You don’t want to re-host all their blog posts, just help people find them.  

    You may also want to also offer to let them changes or update these, within limits, such as no more than once a year.  Because individual’s identities change over time. But you don’t need to get overwhelmed by constant demands of maintaining the list.  

    (This might be useful for your other blog-lists as well.)  

    It would probably be easy to set up a database in Microsoft Access or Excel, or the Open Office equivalents, to have this organized for your own use.  (I don’t know how easy it would be to set up a searchable database online.)  But if you do set up a database, you probably want one for all your lists combined, so that you can have one record that covers any individual who may be on more than one list, and you can pull up updated and organized lists as needed.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Of course, Ross, because disagreeing with someone always means telling him to shut up.  I’m surprised you’re not lambasting the atheists for “denying Fred’s freedom of speech.”

  • SisterCoyote

    Between losing internet at home and finals week, I seem to have missed a great deal of Very Interesting Times. And… it is amazing how this list has grown. Fred, you are the best.

  • christopher_y

    storiteller, your link to your blog is borked because Disqus. IME, if you can still edit it, you should copy your URL and then insert it in the “a” tag by right clicking and selecting “paste as plain text”.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

     Thanks for letting me know – I’ve fixed it.

  • AnonaMiss

    …What? The horse that I like Fred and don’t think badly of him despite being annoyed at him recently, so I don’t think he has to disclaim himself every time he addresses Christians/Christianity, is dead?

    I didn’t know reassurances that we still like and give Fred the benefit of the doubt were so overdone.

  • http://twitter.com/susanizwright Susan Wright

    Thanks so much for compiling this list. It will be cool to go through this list and discover new blogs to read. Thanks for including me on this list.


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