17 March 2006

"God Blogs" vs. "Christ blogs"

by Frank "Blog Hog" Turk


I have to admit that I have been somewhat of an ungrateful son for not stopping in on you PyroReaders and saying something funny, smart and useful this week. See: I've been busy.

What has kept me the busiest this week has been the soon-to-be-launched StumblingBlog.org. That link is still getting its place in your local name server, so it might not work when you’re reading this. However, even if it does, you'll see the "coming soon" page and not anything worth reading yet.

Now, some of you are saying, "oh please – so what? There are SO MANY aggregators and wannabes to the Blogdom of God that what's this blog going to do? Seriously: if I wanted to read what Christians have to say about stuff, I'd read TeamPyro and all of Phil's recommended links. Cent's new blog is TOTALLY wannabe."

Listen: I'll admit that there are dozens of sites that aggregate links from people using the name "Christian" or the headline "God". What I want you to do is ask yourself: how many of them exist under a confessional statement of faith?

TeamPyro does. And this blog does a fairly good job (when Darwin Dan isn't all self-obsessed) of staying inside the confessional boundaries, yes? For the most part, that's what gets most of the play here, whether it's stated or unstated: we're Baptists of the most-wicked kind, the ones who aren't ashamed of being Baptist and radically-engaged in promoting reformation (not reinvention) in the church body.

So if there's a TeamPyro, why start another blog? And frankly, Frank, if you can't be bothered to post 3 times a week here at TeamPyro, why start StumblingBlog.org?

There's a great answer to that, so follow along with me. The first reason is this: who really clicks through the blogroll? Y'know, for example, on the days when I post at TeamPyro, I get a bump of 300-500 clicks from here, but on the off-days, I get between 100 and 250 clicks. And I have a fan base due to my endless hobby of self-promotion. How many of you have recently (or ever) clicked on Scott McClare's blog, or Reid Ferguson's blog, or Loki Odinsson's blog? These are all great blogs that people ought to be reading because they are inside the fence and they are talking about things that matter to the Christian life.

But they don't get the traffic. And why is that? Are they really boring, unreadable hacks? I think that the problem (this is the second reason for starting SB.org) is a blog problem and not a blogger problem: you don't have a chance to sample the goods in a sidebar, but if you had the chance to read the "headlines" or the blurbs, you'd be in for a LOT of them.

The third is that most blog aggregators look like they were designed by UNIX programmers from 1987. They make me sick to look at. I have a very interesting design I'm working out (after I finish dry-walling this weekend for the wife) which will promote the work of the Gospel message by demonstrating we understand the technology.

And the last is perhaps the most important: generic "God Blogs" are the best way (or worst way, depending on how you want to use the superlative) to water down the Gospel message and inoculate people against the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. When you put a blog like this one in the same "God blog" category as RELEVANT MAGAZINE and Jimmy Akin.org and Hugh Hewitt, how exactly is the unbeliever supposed to know whether the Gospel is about the work of God on behalf of man or about the same as talk about Allah or the Mormon Church as valid faith expressions? A blog aggregator which requires the participants to stay inside a confessional gate – like the Cambridge Declaration, substantiated by one of the 4 major confessions – will set the bar a lot higher in terms of content and real meat.

We don't need "God Blogs", as if theistic theology is a reasonable substitution for the book of Romans. We need Christ blogs – blogs which are about preaching the word to this world in certain, affirmative terms. We need the people who are castigating Emergents for being completely rudderless; we need people who give a hoot about Christian marriage; we need people who think that underneath the real outworking of the church is an indwelling of God's word, clearly expressed.; we need people who think Baptism is more than a bath which people can take as often as they like – including not at all.

And hear me clearly: these blog ought not all to be Th.D. dissertations or abstracts. They should be accessible to the readers of blogs and relate to the things blog readers are thinking about and living in. That's not a wild concession to culture or a call to be relevant: it's a fact that discourse about the subtle lexical nuances of the Greek in John 6 has only the most remote meaning to those people surfing the blogosphere – but that the content of John 6 has application to the guy at work who reading this blog and wondering if there is any hope for this world.

So what I've been doing this last week is thinking about what a blog which represents the best of confessional blogging would look like – both from a template standpoint and a perpetual content standpoint. And I think I have an idea.

When I know more about it than that, I'll let you know. Until then, please leave a comment on Daniel's last post so he'll know you love him, and visit his blog because you shouldn’t wait until StumblingBlog.org is up to read his headlines.


18 comments:

Charles Sebold said...

Wow, Matt Gumm sure has aged badly since he became your sidekick.

Jon Owings said...

The name Stumblingblog is just plain brilliant.

centuri0n said...

The name of the blog is a function of Daniel V's brilliance and my inability to type. Either way, I'm with you that the name is top-shelf.

evanmay said...

I love you Daniel. I really, really do.

John Hollandsworth said...

I agree, we need a site like stumblingblog

Carla said...

Frank, if being a sidekick does that to a blogger, I think I might need to reconsider this whole hero-support thing. Poor Gummby!

Although you do have my support for the new aggregator, it's a great idea. Long overdue too, in my opinion.

And for the record, I read Scott and Loki/David every time they update. Reid I don't know, but I agree that there are so many blogs like this out there that people are missing, and that's really a shame. There's GOOD stuff on blogs like this!

SDG...

Seth Huckstead "The Petty Athanasius said...

Frank,

Will Presby's be allowed? I would like to see a confessional statement, that includes affermations and denials-that way you can weed the wheat and chaff (Steve Camp resonated with that idea).

Seth

BugBlaster said...

That's the way Matt looks when he says checkmate.

Jacob Hantla said...

I'm looking forward to it. That is an excellent idea.

evanmay said...

A Stumbling Blog Look at Corporate Worship

Jan Dillaha said...

I have only recently traded up having dumped forum reading and posting for blogs. While I am still trying to get a handle on the whole thing, I am really looking forward to seeing StumblingBlog.

Gummby said...

Are you guys kidding? That guy has way less gray in his beard.

Bugman--as if! Plus, I see he posted your picture on there, too.

BugBlaster said...

Matt, by "as if" do you mean "as if I ever get to say checkmate"?

Just wondering.

Jason E. Robertson said...

Frank, a blockhead.org would be nice, too, with a little synopsis of what those on the darkside are spewing as theological discourse, just so I can keep up without giving them any hits or links.

Gummby said...

Bugman: yes, exactly.

Frank Martens said...

"So what I've been doing this last week is thinking about what a blog which represents the best of confessional blogging would look like – both from a template standpoint and a perpetual content standpoint. And I think I have an idea."

I can't wait, and Dan's the man.

Frank Martens said...

Oh and if you want some help with the template and design, let me know.

centuri0n said...

Jason:

You can find blockhead.org at "communiosanctorum.com". You can set up a feed for them at bloglines and never hit their site (well, it'll ping, but their counter doesn't catch it).