Until I saw Church Relevance’s recent Top 200 Christian Blogs list.  This is an annual ranking (though I think earlier years were top 100) that combines several factors to determine a ranking among Christian blogs.  Here’s how the folks at Church Relevance describe the list:

Some focus exclusively on ministry, while others are more like theology or news blogs. Regardless of how you label them, these are the world’s most popular church blogs written by many of today’s most influential church leaders, journalists, theologians, and Christ followers

Seems like too great a claim to me.  But it is an interesting list.  I find it’s main value in the listing of interesting new blogs to follow.

So why did the list change my mind about no longer blogging?

It’s not Pure Church’s #22 ranking.  In fact, I think we’re down a few spots from last year.

I skimmed the list and realized that there are very few ethnic Christians on the listing!  There’s Pure Church, but after that the number of Christians from ethnic backgrounds making the list of 200 gets slim indeed!

Becky Hsu and Jerry Park contribute every few weeks over at Black, White and Gray (T-#57 in the ranking)–a blog name that sounds like it could focus on multi-ethnic perspectives but turns out to be mainly White brothers and sisters.

Bruce Reyes-Chow comes in at #90.

Another African American, Scott Williams, joins the list tied at #98 with his blog BigIstheNewSmall.

DJ Chuang bounces in at #134 and Eugene Cho at #139.

Urban Faith, a mostly African American group blog, comes in at #144.

Skye Jethani hit the list at #155.

It’s entirely possible that I’ve missed some brothers or sisters from ethnic backgrounds in my skimming of the list.  I’d be happy to know that there’s more representation than the 8 of 200 blogs I’ve spotted.

But what does this mean?

On one level, it doesn’t mean much of anything.  I don’t quibble with the metrics used to compile the rankings (I don’t understand most of it).  The list is what it is and we shouldn’t, as we sometimes do, make more of such a list than it deserves.  There are no awards in heaven for a church’s blog ranking.  I suspect some of us might even lose rewards for blogging too much or blogging too sinfully.  That’s the line I’m likely to be in.

But on another level, the small number of ethnic Christian blogs on the list at least suggests that the White evangelical world isn’t reading very broadly when it comes to ethnic bloggers.  To the extent that’s true, it means my White brothers and sisters are impoverished spiritually.  The ethnic church world belongs to the White church world just as the White church world belongs to the ethnic church.  We need to not only belong to one another spiritually but also learn from one another practically.  Most ethnic communities are probably more practiced at learning from the spiritual production of White brethren than White brethren are accustomed to learning from their ethnic kin.

Or, the small representation of ethnic Christians on the list could point to the perceived or real “digital divide” between ethnic lines.  As ubiquitous as computer technology is, it’s still not universal and there’s some evidence that African Americans and Latinos use the technology differently than other groups.

Again, the list ought not be taken too seriously.  But it might be a good prompt for thinking about how to intentionally broaden our reading sources.

As for me, I think I’ll re-think my blogging program a bit and stay in the game a little while longer.  I’m hoping many more folks will show up on the list in the future.  Then I’ll give my complete attention to another list–my wife’s “honey do” list!

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Comments:


19 thoughts on “I Was Thinking of Giving Up Blogging…”

  1. T.Newbell says:

    This made me cry, not because of the lack, but because there are a few “voices” and you are not giving up. I thank God for your work and ministry and pray God would sustain you. I pray the Lord would continue to raise up other men and women to be voices in the evangelical world for the mutual benefit of learning and growing and for the glory of God. So much I want to say but I’m saving it. :)

    Bless you, Thabiti, and thank you my friend,

    Trillia

  2. Cathyvlewis says:

    I thank God for you! We need to hear your voice thru this medium especially because if the reasons you gave. Please keep sharing God’s word for his glory.

  3. Thabiti says:

    Thank you for the encouragement ladies. I really appreciate it. The Lord be praised for using this donkey!
    T-

  4. Kent Shaffer says:

    There are some other non-white bloggers writing single-author blogs, and there are many more interspersed throughout the many multi-author blogs.

    But at the end of the day, the majority of global platforms influencing the global church come from upper middle class, white American men. This represents huge disparity gaps across far more than race.

    I am very glad to hear you’ll continue writing. Diversity among influencers helps reduce how often men (at least sometimes treat their cultural preferences as though it was God’s Word.

    Speaking of church diversity, would you be interested in attending the upcoming Global:Church Forum (http://www.resourceglobal.org/gcf) and blogging some of your perspectives as well as highlights from the discussions?

    1. Thabiti says:

      Hi Kent,

      “But at the end of the day, the majority of global platforms influencing the global church come from upper middle class, white American men. This represents huge disparity gaps across far more than race.

      Well said!

      If the details worked, I would love to attend a gathering like Global:Church Forum. That looks like a sure-to-be-edifying conference!

      T-

      1. EMSoliDeoGloria says:

        So true. Part of the pluses and minuses of the community aspect of blogging is that it reflects the communities in which we live and fellowship.

        On the minus end, for those of us that are in largely white communities and read the blogs our mostly white friends recommend, it can be hard to find the blogs of men and women of color that would be interesting and challenging to us. It’s sort of similar to the reason affirmative action is argued for in employment (not that I want to see AA blogging, but…); it’s all too easy for individuals to hire based on recommendations from family and friends and if your family and most of your friends share your ethnicity, you may end up hiring from your ethnicity, without holding prejudice at all.

        On the plus side, I found you because I already read TGC. Not only do I likely read more white than non-white bloggers and more male than female bloggers, I also read more bloggers who share my basic religious and theological presuppositions. Yet, I’m trying to reach beyond that – read people who challenge my perspectives, people I disagree with, people who read things I don’t (yet), and live places I’ve never visited (like the Cayman Islands), and apply Scripture in different contexts than my own. One of the great things about the internet is that it makes it much easier to learn from people who are outside of our immediate relational context – allowing us to appreciate the larger body of Christ and the common grace gifts of unbelievers as well.

  5. You know Thabiti, we used to have an African-American guy over at the 9Marks Blog (aka Church Matters) who would post from time to time. Sometimes I wonder what happened to him… maybe he went solo and became Big Time.

    1. Thabiti says:

      Man, I’m laughing my head off!! Just today I was thinking I should write something about preaching and home runs, but then I thought, Wait, this is Mike McKinley’s blog!

      Much love to Karen, the kids, and the saints at Guilford!

      T-

  6. J. Wang says:

    Thank you for posting this and voicing out some of the concerns and thoughts that are prevalent among “minority” evangelical (esp. reformed) Christians — esp. for me as an Asian-American. Thank you for using the platform God has provided you to share these things.

  7. Wesley says:

    Thanks for this post sir. Could you recommend a few good African-American and Latino, etc. blogs that would be worth checking out from your perspective?

  8. Dan says:

    You’re a good source of orthodoxy; you bring an excellent perspective and I’ve read and heard of your background. You talk about meaningful topics so as long as you are writing I still keep tabs even if I don’t read every one!

  9. MzEllen says:

    May I make a suggestion?

    Look at your blogroll. That’s how many people discover new blogs.

    Does your blogroll have the racial mix that you want to see us reading? Why or why not?

    Who would you add to your blogroll to give us a greater range of recommended reading?

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi MzEllen,

      Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve already been considering a post with some recommendations.

      To answer your question, “No,” my blogroll does not include the mix I actually read or that I’d hope others would read. The reason is I haven’t updated the blogroll basically since I moved to TGC a few years ago. It’s dated and that’s my fault.

      But even saying that, I want even more diversity in my own reader. So, your questions are warmly welcomed and I hope to post something in the not-too-distant future when I’m back from some travel.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the helpful suggestions.

      T-

      1. EMSoliDeoGloria says:

        This blogger has some interesting thoughts on making what is probably the same top 200 list you made and realizing how “evangelical white guy” his own reading is: http://inamirrordimly.com/2012/09/26/how-a-list-changed-my-life/

        I look forward to seeing your recommendations… I really want to expand my own reading list.

  10. Rachael Starke says:

    I’ve recently scaled back my blog reading /participating for the sake of better stewarding my time and my soul. But that’s the same reason I also still read yours regularly. Simply put, I don’t know of any other pastor/leader in the Reformed community who writes with such a balance of grace and truth, warm humor, humility, and prophetic courage. I learn something every time I read, not just about the subject, but how to engage people in the midst of the subject. You’ve given me regular moments of “I have never thought about that before” or “OUCH.” You’re pretty self-deprecating about your background in sociology, but truly, the way you apply that background to issues in the Christian life and church has been fascinating. And maybe those are all the reasons why you’re the first writer of any color I’ve read who’s opened my eyes to racial issues and questions that I’ve either never thought to ask, or been afraid to ask.

    Oh, I did get Propaganda’s new album after your twentieth Tweet about how awesome it is, and agree that you’re not lying about that either. I’m looking for more housecleaning projects just so I can play it while I work. :)

  11. brian foulks says:

    I always appreciate your willingness to be authentic without being hidden. I like this post brother.

  12. Christy says:

    I’m glad you’re not gonna stop blogging. I have gained a lot from your blog and like referring others to it. :) I think your assessment not reading cross culturally enough is a good one for us white folk. But it also makes me wonder why it seems to be a white evangelical thing to read blogs much more than my friends do of other races. I gain a lot from them but am I missing something that isn’t translating culturally? In addition (as I am an overseas worker of sorts.. ) I see that the worlds church gathering so heavily from the American church (of whatever background) a worry because we miss things that are right under our noses in other places because people are taking greater cues from America.

  13. Mark La Roi says:

    I’m in the process of migrating posts from my old blog to my new, but I’d like to raise my hand as a non-White Christian blogger!

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Thabiti Anyabwile


Thabiti Anyabwile is assistant pastor for church planting at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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