Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes April 16, 2012

Changes are afoot at — at the Evangelical Portal — and at Philosophical Fragments.  In brief:

Patheos has unleashed its new design – check it out.  Better image and video capacity, a more intuitive architecture, more advanced tools that will keep you abreast of other content at the site.  Some of the most interesting developments are still to come.  Visit the homepage, visit the Library, the Faith and Family space, Patheos Press, and the Book Club.  Let me know what you think.  The greatest sources of traffic at Patheos are the blogs, but until now the blogs have not been promoted on the site as well as they should be.  Sometimes changes takes some getting used to, but I think you’ll enjoy the changes.

The Evangelical Portal is going through a re-envisioning process.  I want to rebrand it (the “Evangelical Portal” has never been an inspiring identity), reposition it (many of our most prominent bloggers are left-of-center, and I’d like to have more content representing the vast middle of American evangelicalism, which is center-right), and relaunch it with an expanded (yet more focused) set of writers.  There will be much more to say about this in the weeks and months to come, but I’m presently reaching out to potential sponsors, partners and investors who could get behind the vision of developing a better forum for, and representation of, the evangelical mind.  American Catholics have developed an excellent tradition of thoughtful, critical, creative Catholic reflection (think Neuhaus) on matters of society and politics.  Evangelicals by and large have not.  The aspiration for the new Evangelical Portal (in its new, rebranded form) will be to form a kind of Op Ed page for evangelical America, an instrument to cultivate a better conversation amongst evangelicals on issues of society, public policy, science and the like.

Philosophical Fragments has a rather different look, and I’ll need to make some adjustments (getting rid of the awful font in the header, for instance) before I’ll be happy with the look.  But…let me be honest.  I’ve had a tough time with this blog.  Some of the things I’ve written here have done very well, the readership for this blog is disproportionately influential, and I’ve really enjoyed my interactions with readers.  All of these are reasons to keep going.  But I’m rarely able to write consistently.  Unlike some others at Patheos (including my good friend Elizabeth Scalia, who is the managing editor of the Evangelical Portal and a fantastic blogger at “The Anchoress”), I do not blog as a part of my job.  I blog when I have free time, and that free time has become increasingly scarce over the past year.

I’ve become convinced in recent weeks, however, that this can be a helpful, clarifying limitation.  The intention for this blog was originally to write more “fragmentary” pieces — one-paragraph pieces that offer different angles, creative thoughts, helpful distinctions for the ways in which we understand faith, culture and public policy.  So what you’ll see at Philosophical Fragments, beginning tomorrow, is a Daily Fragment (a brief thought, never more than a single paragraph, which can never be more than ten or twelve lines, TBD), a Daily Link (which may sometimes have some framing text, but no more than five sentences), and a weekly column that can be up to 1200 words (I’ll choose a day and title).  After I’ve published some content along these lines, I’ll rearrange the blog to make the content more accessible in those forms.

So, tune in tomorrow for the new regime of Philosophical Fragments!

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  • As a more center-right evangelical you might like to check out my blog at I only blog once a week but it adds up over time.

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    Overall, the changes are good. The layout and the navigability are mostly improved. I like the uniformity of the blog formatting and the “More From the X Channel” that now appears on the blogs where it didn’t before.

    I do have one issue. While the integration is better within faith channels, the integration between channels has been sacrificed somewhat. I used to check the Patheos homepage to see what new columns were out, but now instead of a visually chronological list of the newest columns, there’s “Top Stories From Patheos Faith Channels” way down at the bottom of the page. Maybe these can be listed chronologically in the Columnists sidebar (which right now features mostly outdated material) as well?

    Related to the idea of the faith channels being more segregated, I’ve seen some grumbling in the comment sections of blogs in the Progressive Christian channel that some of the bloggers are Evangelical and Progressive, that these are not mutually exclusive categories. Would cross-posting certain blogs where they fall in more than one category be feasible? (Of course, rebranding and repositioning the Evangelical portal as a “center-right” forum would render that issue moot.)

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      KR: We are talking about the ways to feature content in more than one place, yes. Beforehand, that was easy. It’s probably easy now too, but we just haven’t been trained yet (in the Content Management System) on how to do it.

      We’re still working through some kinks and figuring out the best way to manage it all from a processes perspective.

      • Kubrick’s Rube

        Thanks for the response.

        Another thing I like: the “Related Stories” section at the bottom of each channel with off-site links. I’m not sure if that’s new to the redesign or if I’m just noticing it, but either way it’s a good feature.