Open Letter to Christian Women Blogs

Kent Shaffer —  September 25, 2012

UPDATE FOR CLARIFICATION: I’ve never minded bloggers challenging the algorithm or questioning the narrow topical scope of the top blogs list. In fact, it has helped us improve the list and discover new blog niches to include. What bothered me this year is when I read online statements from several women bloggers discussing how the list was affecting their self-worth. Thinking about how lists affect bloggers personally made me want to address 3 challenges (mentioned at the end) that affect both male and female bloggers. I also attempt to empathize with gender inequality but have been told it was poorly written and disagreeable. I apologize for that.

Over the years, a handful of groups have caused a stink over who’s included and who’s not in Church Relevance’s top blogs list. But the loudest and most emotionally heartfelt responses have come from Christian women bloggers.

Christian women blogs cannot be easily summed up. Some are mom bloggers. Some are academics. Some are revolutionary progressives. And some are church leaders. The diversity of their roles is a testament to how far women’s rights have come. But reality is the inequality gap is still and may always be a great chasm.

It is not easy being a woman.

It doesn’t make it any easier that Christianity is a religion with polarizing opinions among its adherents as to what women’s roles should and shouldn’t be within the Body of Christ… or perhaps more specifically who women can and can’t disciple.

Social disparity leaves a devastating mark on its victims. In the United States, this is difficult for white males to understand since it happens so slowly like an incremental pecking away at the victims’ psyche and emotions. The Deadly Viper controversy is a great example of the Western Church’s struggle to understand racial issues.

I imagine being a woman in ministry is like having a double bullseye of disadvantage on you. It is enough to create a powder keg of emotions for anyone, and it is doesn’t make it any easier that most women are wired to be more emotional tend to be more emotionally expressive and develop empathy better than men. That’s not meant as a sexist stereotype but as a reality that does have exceptions. Emotions are an incredible strength that society usually touts as a weakness. Yet well-harnessed emotions are what nurtures humanity to be more civilized. At the same time, emotions can sometimes be an Achille’s heel for the feeler causing self-doubt, depression, or unnecessary frustration at what sometimes are mere assumptions.

The heart attitude behind the list.

Church Relevance’s audience is primarily institutional church leaders. Our original top blog lists more clearly reflected this, but we saw a need to broaden the topical scope in order to challenge leaders to get out of their comfort zone and discover new blogs that could help them see ministry from a new angle.

But a broader criteria also confuses people as to what belongs on the list. The scope is narrow enough that only 329 blogs were measured this fall. If we broadened the scope to include all high traffic Christian faith blogs, we’d likely be measuring tens of thousands of blogs if not hundreds of thousands. The list would lose its curated value to the readers and only be valuable for the egos of the bloggers.

Your blog can accomplish very real ministry even if you don’t meet the list’s topical criteria.

We make this list for the readers not the writers. It is nice to hear feedback that it has motivated some bloggers to write more, but what we love to hear is that a blog reader just discovered a handful of new blogs. I am excited about Christians getting out of their bubbles and cliques and learning from new groups of believers.

The collateral damage of the list for all types of bloggers (men & women).

I feel very sad whenever I hear a blogger that didn’t make the list needs days to get over it. That’s collateral damage from the list. Your worth is not in man-made metrics. The most valuable things in God’s Kingdom often defy these and confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). Focus on your identity in Christ. Focus on obedience to God’s leading because an obedient blog that reaches 3 people is far better than a million follower blog that is out of God’s will.

I feel frustrated at hints of jealousy I hear from bloggers that didn’t make the list. This is collateral damage from the list. It can be difficult, but I encourage you to celebrate the success that your brothers and sisters in Christ are having in writing about ministry. Please fight hard against bitter jealousy because it is divisive and demonic (James 3:13-18).

I feel angry at the thought of a blogger’s ego and self-centeredness growing because of the list. That is severe collateral damage from the list. Don’t arrogantly boast or pridefully assume tomorrow lest God resists you (James 4:1-16 & Proverbs 16:18-19). Please fight hard against selfish ambition because it is divisive and demonic (James 3:13-18).

While each of these 3 areas are heart issues that bloggers are personally responsible to overcome, I cannot help but also feel accountable for creating the list. Again the list is for the readers not the bloggers, so I am not ready to kill the good it produces because of the collateral damage it causes. But I am prayerfully mindful about it, and I do search my heart regularly as to why we publish what we do at Church Relevance.

If God gives you a burden to blog, blog.
If God tells you not to blog, don’t blog.
If you enjoy blogging for the sake of blogging, blog.
If blogging is an unstoppable stumbling block of pride, jealously, and/or selfish ambition for you, don’t blog.

Kent Shaffer

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I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.

31 responses to Open Letter to Christian Women Blogs

  1. I appreciate this effort Kent. But I think you’re ignoring some very valid concerns. The fact isn’t just that women aren’t represented, but that minorities on the whole aren’t represented. The list is overwhelmingly white, and there’s not a single woman of color on the list as a main blog writer.

    That becomes a self-perpetuating problem, because the list (as you know) directs a lot of traffic to the blogs on it, which certainly gives them a bump, making it harder for minority blog writers to be noticed and seen. Additionally, I question a criteria that yields a field of blogs that are mostly written and helmed by straight, white, men. It’s not that minorities aren’t writing church blogs, but that there is likely something in the criteria or in the biases of those who are looking (because we all have biases) that is causing you to rule out minority blogs from the get-go. Examine your list of 330 blogs. Are minorities represented? Do you have a balance or is it, even with the blogs that were cut, still mostly white men? If it’s still mostly white men, that is a problem with YOUR criteria, not with “minorities not writing” or whatever.

    What I’m asking for here is not token representation, but a concerted effort to engage with minority voices and perspectives – something that is vital to an American church still very much racially segregated and plagued by an intensely racist past. If we’re not including the voices of people of color – especially of women of color – then we’re missing a huge chunk of the American church.

    And, on this post itself: thanks for the condescension? I can’t speak for all women writers/bloggers, but I know the last thing I need is your pity about how hard things must be for me. They’re hard because when we raise real concerns, we’re told that we’re emotional and must experience things at a deeper level, which generates pity and sympathy without real change. This post “addresses” the issue without actually saying much besides, “Poor you women, it must be so hard.” And yeah, it’s hard when people who have the opportunity to give us greater platform and representation say that only a few female blogs fit the criteria – as if.

    I don’t want your pity or your condescension. What I want is to see real, concrete action that shows you’re going to make an effort to include more minority and women-centric blogs under your list of “church” blogs. The problem here is not with the metrics, but with the incredibly vague criteria that allows you to favor (quite likely unconsciously) white men.

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful response, Dianna. I am sorry I came across condescending. It was not my intention and I still have much to learn.

    Here are a few things that I think will help clarify some things:

    (1) Since the list uses topical criteria of ministry content, there is a natural imbalance towards men due to the cultural and theological emphasis of men being leaders in the church.
    (2) We do try very hard to discover new blogs written by non-whites, females, and/or non-Americans that fit within the criteria.
    (3) What is frustrating is many of these blogs written by minorities have Alexa rankings in the 8 digits. The fall 2012 update only included blogs with a 7 million ranking or better.
    (4) There are many Christian women bloggers with traffic stats that would put them at the top of the list, but their topics are more general faith and life issues rather than ministry methodology, etc.

    So we know of many great blogs written by minorities that fit within the topical scope of ministry, but it is so difficult for them to have great stats. Even though many have access to the tools to be successful, they lack the social favors that make so many of the white American bloggers successful.

    Even bigger than the male/female gap is the American/non-American gap.

    Similar to the concepts from “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, it is easier to get influence when you have influence, and at the inner workings of the Christian industry is one that is still driven by predominantly white leaders that naturally choose their friends or immediate and mainly white network to write the books, magazines, and speak on conference stages.

    My heart is really with the American/non-American gap, which is a big factor in my passion for http://OpenChurch.com.

    * * * * * * *
    But I think that at the heart of what you are getting at is I need to better use Church Relevance to help close the gap for these different minorities.

    I think you are right.

    I don’t usually feature other platforms outside of the top blogs list, but considering the hurdles that keep minorities from making the list, I think it would be good to do something. It would probably need to be crowdsourced. We’ll definitely talk it over as an editorial team.

    * * * * * * *
    Did I answer all of your questions? Please feel free to clarify or ask more.

  3. Um…thanks? I guess. It’s your blog and I think you are entitled to your own list. What’s the big deal here? Am I missing something?

  4. Thank you, Kent, for that response. I’m glad to see some concrete steps to examine the criteria and examine how you can better include minorities in your list. It helps not to just say, “oh that must be tough,” but instead actually show concrete desire for things to change (which is why this blog post came across as condescending pity rather than actually listening to our reasons for being upset at the list – which are not jealousy, at least in my case, as I have zero chance of making this list). Pity is not what we need; concrete steps toward action are. And that is what your comment here gives me, so thank you for that.

  5. I am not totally certain why you specifically tweeted this to me, because I think the only thing I said about “the list” was I was surprised to see an inactive blog listed, and I agreed with some other people about uncertainty as to how church was defined. Anyway, since you did call my attention to this post in particular, I will comment.

    I was not jealous or angry that I didn’t make the list nor will it take me days to get over it. I don’t actually expect to make any lists as I readily acknowledge that I don’t have anywhere near the stats many popular bloggers have, nor do I have the time to spend to work on growing my blog to be that big right now.

    I also haven’t really found it hard to be a woman except in a couple of instances–where I have been told, directly or indirectly–that being a woman disqualifies me from certain “church work”. So, yes, that is hard. One’s calling from God is not dependent on one’s gender.

    Dianna makes some great points about the list driving traffic to blogs and then blogs being chosen because of traffic. Perhaps, rather than a “Top 200″ list every so often, you instead introduced various known and unknown blogs on a regular basis (or maybe you do that; I don’t know because I think I’ve only been to this website a handful of times at most).

  6. For clarification, I am not accusing anyone in particular of being jealous or disappointed or proud. I listed those areas at the bottom of the post for the benefit of both men and women reading. I know I’ve had to check my heart in all of those areas at one point or another.

    @Sarah & @Kelly
    I tweeted a link to many who were involved in the discussion via Twitter about the list because I thought you might be interested.

    @Dianna
    Please feel free to follow up with me and hold us accountable. We have a lot of good ideas for posts but not enough time for them all, so reminders help.

  7. Gotcha. I know, it’s hard to explain things in a Tweet. But hey, I guess it also means I am not as invisible as I assumed ;)

  8. @Kelly
    No kidding. Twitter is ridonkulous for clear communication.

  9. hey kent, i appreciate your mission statement at the top, and i wonder how this list–and its holes–fit in. any criteria that celebrates–and perpetuates–homogeneity and racial/gender privilege is problematic. this isn’t about feelings at all but recognizing a Church culture steeped in power instead of love.

    i also wonder how helpful the category of Church Blog is. most of these sites are about theology and faith/christian living and not, say, how to run a church. your list isn’t as “in-house” as your FAQs suggest, which makes sense! we are all called to minister. sites relevant to ministry are written by laypeople, and church leaders should be encouraged to get out of their echo chambers every now and then:)

  10. In response to Dianna:

    Actually, to clarify, I am a woman of color and I am on “the list.” I am also a “main blog writer” of my own little blog. My father is black and my mother is white—I’m the same racial make-up as our President.

    But, people might not know this because I don’t go around writing about my race, my brown skin, or racial tensions running deep within my family. No, I tend to focus on writing about Christ and His Kingdom. I’m happy to say, that in Light of Him, my skin color matters a whole lot less.

    ———————————

    And to Ken,
    I take no offense, whatsoever, at this post. I understand your intent and motive. I find it honorable and thoughtful. To clarify, I never complained or snickered about said list. I, for one, wish people would celebrate those who are included instead of grumbling about those who are not.

    Thank you for writing this and here’s to being unpopular at times. I live there…and you get used to it. Blessings.

  11. @Suzannah
    Great question! In less than a decade ago, churches weren’t really talking to each other much outside of their denominations or even the small cliques of churches within these denominations. Blogs actually helped play a significant role in breaking down the walls that once separated these groups. By 2007-2009 the blogosphere was growing so large that ministry blogs as a whole actually started collaborating less ecumenically and more with like-minded blogs.

    Church Relevance’s blogs list not only helps the readers discover new blogs that give fresh perspectives and new angles on ministry, but on some level, it also helps keep the door of ecumenical collaboration open for many bloggers that otherwise would completely retreat into their new bubbles with freshly drawn territorial lines.

    Is the list a perfect rainbow of diversity? No. I address this some in my first comment to Dianna above.

    I do, however, think it is the first right step towards diversity. The nature of the topical scope and objective formula of the list is influenced by cultural factors that limit its diversity. While it is a limitation, it is this more objective approach that gives the list credibility within the ministry community, so that bloggers are willing to check it out. Without this credibility and if it was more subjective, the list could be much more diverse but would likely lack the exposure and esteem that would actually nudge bloggers to check out blogs outside of their usual niche.

    The list isn’t an all-purpose tool. It is a hammer that is great at accomplishing a specific task. The road to more diversity and ecumenical harmony has many more tasks though that will require new tools (new approaches) in order to have it happen.

    Does that make sense or did I ramble?

    Also, I chose “church” because it was a buzzword that made sense within the original topical scope and was great for SEO. It seems to fit well with church leadership (my main readership) but can be more confusing to others.

  12. @Nicole

    Thank you for always having kind, thoughtful, and graceful words in these discussions. Blessed are the peacemakers. :)

  13. Kent, it looks like this is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations. I imagine that you must gird your loins for battle every time you update this list.

    I’m torn over the whole circular argument — the list rewards high traffic blogs with more traffic and then rewards them. The numbers are the numbers, and if you’re trying to be even a little objective, you have to use them. But definitions and content are soft — they can’t be quantified, so as you’ve already stated several times, these lists can’t help but be subjective despite the metrics.

    I keep thinking of the arguments for and against affirmative action. It shouldn’t matter the gender or heritage of a person — what should matter is their skill and qualifications. But this is the real world, and it DOES matter, so what do we do about it? How do we remove the hurdles that one’s gender and/or heritage confront? And what if, even when the hurdles are removed, white males come out at the top anyway? I for one don’t want a leg up. I want to earn whatever it is, Alexa score or page views or subscribers or whatever, based on my qualifications. I want you to read because you like what I write, not because I’m a token woman. But I do face very real hurdles that men don’t. It’s a dilemma, for sure.

    And then there’s the argument that this is a somewhat petty argument if you take a more global look at the challenges facing minorities and women around the world. I’m privileged to have traveled a bit with World Vision the last two years, and that certainly expanded my perspective particularly on women’s issues.

    Anyway, just wanted to say that I think I get where you’re coming from, at least as much as is possible without being in on those editorial meetings with you. I appreciate your comments on this post, too. The tone of the post, especially the part about emotional women, was very off-putting, and I wasn’t originally upset about the whole thing (I made the list, after all). But reading your responses in the comments helped tremendously. I LOVE the openchurch project. LOVE.

  14. kent, thank you for engaging in this conversation. i realize that in some ways, making lists is a “can’t win” sort of thing (except in traffic!) but please know that these concerns are not personal.

    i will push back against the idea that your methodology is objective. (natalie talks a bit here about why that is not the case: http://natalie.typepad.com/my_weblog/2012/09/systems-privilege-and-the-top-200-church-blogs-list.html)

    diversity will certainly require new tools–and it will require a Church that often resembles a (white) boys’ club to hand over the mic sometimes, to listen to their sisters and brothers and approach these conversations not as experts but learners. i believe, in the context of this list, it means acknowledging that criteria that reinforces and rewards powerful, largely privileged voices as the Top/Best ones (it’s math!) is misleading and actually hinders the gospel work of the Kingdom of God.

    (for what it’s worth, i aim to be a peacemaker, too, and believe that peacemaking is an active, messy, and sometimes uncomfortable process that bears fruit as we do the work of love together.)

  15. @Joy
    Your comments resonate deeply with the questions we wrestle with as an editorial team.

    As for this post’s discussion of emotions, I think I failed to clearly communicate and was misunderstood. Over the past week, we’ve seen some very concerning responses to the list. Some bloggers confess to needing days to get over not making it while other bloggers think they need it in order to be a success. These as well as many more responses were showing unprecedented levels of the list causing collateral damage. That excerpt was meant more for those despairing over the list, and I think was misunderstood by those who were not.

    Perhaps the post shouldn’t have tried to tackle 5 different and separate issues voiced by women bloggers or at least better delineated them and emphasized that it is not a composite picture of every female blogger.

  16. @Suzannah

    You are spot on. And thanks for sharing the awesome post by Natalie. She needs to blog more often and is a great example of high blogging quality that can low metrics (currently no Alexa data).

    The list is objective compared to the blog carnivals and “my favorite blogs” lists that came before it. The music industry has objective performance charts of the top 100 songs, but we all know there is a lot of politics and subjectivism that determines who even has a shot at earning those stats.

    Church blogs are similar. So yes, Natalie is right that influence breeds more influence. And this list widens the gap between the have’s and have-not’s, but it exists to ecumenically connect the have’s and broaden people’s scope of ideas. A different tool is needed for equalizing platforms between the have’s and have-not’s, and in my opinion, that could be http://OpenChurch.com. I think both approaches are necessary, but I think it is too lengthy and complex to explain why here.

    I could be wrong about it, but these theories are what I’ve come up with after 7 years of thinking about it full-time and working with a number of large nonprofits to try to unite the global Church.

  17. Some pushback, Kent: If it was aimed at those despairing over not making the list, why did you tag myself, Rachel and several other who were complaining about the DIVERSITY of the list on Twitter and say, “This one’s for you.” You weren’t misunderstood – you thought you were responding to all of us because you lumped those who complain about the diversity of the list in with those who complain about not making it.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If a lot of readers are misinterpreting what you wrote, then maybe it wasn’t as clear as you thought. Don’t blame the readers; blame yourself as the writer for not doing your job well.

  18. “this list widens the gap between the have’s and have-not’s, but it exists to ecumenically connect the have’s and broaden people’s scope of ideas.”

    kent, those words embody the heart of our critique. the Church does not exist for to “connect the have’s” AT ALL and if we’re widening the gap, we’re doing it wrong! Church isn’t just a word to be used for SEO, and she isn’t merely the mouthpiece of a professional ministerial class. she is the entire Body of Christ.

    i know this list cannot be all things to all people, but if you truly desire to “broaden people’s scope of ideas” you must seek to include and amplify underrepresented voices. it can’t be a love-in for the “haves” and wear the label “Church.”

  19. @Dianna
    I tweeted this post to people who weren’t complaining as well as some that were. I chose to send a tweet out to the main people discussing it on any level on Twitter. However, the post is intended for many people not engaging on Twitter but who have expressed themselves through other channels in ways that seem unhealthy.

    And yes, I do need to work on my writing ability. It is imperfect and sometimes misunderstood, and I often feel surprised that I ended up writing a blog at all.

  20. Kent, thanks for tweeting this link to me. To be clear, my issue isn’t really about your list, or any list for that matter. My issue is really about the lack of female voices in evangelical circles and your list happened to highlight that. Bottom line, the numbers speak for themselves. Female, Christian blogs are not read as frequently or regularly as those written by men. That’s a fact and not a slight against you or your list. I do think it represents how female voices are at risk of marginalization across the greater evangelical landscape (not just in the blog world) and that we need to look at ways the Church contributes to that marginalization. If your list provides an opportunity for us (men and women) to have that broader conversation than the list really is a good thing.

    As for pride and ego, I’m not even blogging for the time being so I don’t have a horse in this race :) I will say that I’m very proud to have been a contributor on several blogs listed (Jesus Needs New PR, XXXChurch, People of the Second Chance, and Man of Depravity) and am beyond thankful for these men who have welcomed me (and other opinionated, and dare I say left leaning women) to write for their audiences.

    Thank you for this post. I’ve no hard feels at all.

    (I pecked this out on my iPad so it may be one giant typo. Don’t judge ;)

  21. Not to belabor the point too much, but perhaps women are sending the “most emotionally heartfelt” critiques of your list because you snubbed women. As I read it, this doesn’t suggest some essential truth about women as much as it just looks like a response to your narrow vision and poor research.

  22. I’m wondering if, perhaps, ending this explanation with a list of recommendations and commands isn’t kinda really dismissive, insulting, and patriarchal.

  23. I appreciate your opinion. That is the essence of a blog article. You do not need to be politically correct and you make no effort to posture this list as a “scientific survey”. Someone else doing the same list would have many in common and others also. i think the dialogue is healthy as long as people can be civil and seek to make themselves understood and not be judge and jury.

  24. I presume the list of feelings you express at the end of the post is intentional irony? That would be sad if it weren’t.

  25. Empathy is a black mark in a religion that’s supposed to be devoted to service and fellowship?

    What the christ.

  26. Kent,

    I appreciate the sentiments you express here, especially the genuine manner in which they are expressed. However, there are a couple of things I’d like to point out.

    First, I’m not sure how “emotions” or an “emotionally heartfelt response” invalidates a person’s response. The dismissal of women because of “emotions” is rooted in Enlightenment philosophy, not biblical theology. The most human moments we see of Jesus are the ones of emotion: Jesus wept, Jesus marveled, Jesus angry–a such “emotionally heartfelt response” that he knocked over a bunch of tables in the temple. Is his action invalid because he acted in emotion?

    Second, speaking on behalf of some of the women who responded to the list, it wasn’t done in “jealousy” but rather an inquiry as to the methodology behind your list. You present your list as if it were scientifically verifiable–that is, without personal bias. Yet, the pool from which you draw (329 blogs) is a *subjective* list. What this amounts to is a sampling bias, which nullifies the claim of objectivity. Which is fine. Anyone can post the top 200 blogs in any manner they choose; they just can’t call it objective or even present it as objective if they want to publish that list with any degree of integrity.

    My final point is that you can’t make a list like “The Top 200 Church Blogs”–using the word “top” to give it the degree of importance you are attaching to it–and then tell people it doesn’t matter. That’s logically inconsistent. And just because a person might express disappoint about not being included doesn’t make them jealous or prideful. It means that people have hopes that what they do *matters*–that it’s really making an impact. So many bloggers do what they do for the pure love of it, without pay because they believe in it and they want to make a difference for God. It’s not pride or jealousy or selfish ambition, but the simple desire to know that what they’re doing matters.

    I wasn’t among those who contacted you because, quite honestly, I’m a happy blogger with a teeny-tiny audience who’d probably never blog on a regular basis if I weren’t in the middle of a project, but some of my colleagues are, and I wanted to defend their concerns.

    Again, I appreciate the sincerity with which you make this clarification.

  27. @Hallee

    (1) You are misunderstanding what I intended. I mention that emotions are good when well-harnessed. I also mention that emotions can be an Achilles heel when they lead to unhealthier feelings like depression.

    (2) I estimate over 100 women responded to the list across various channels. Some fairly questioned the methodology of the list, so I clarify that above. Some addressed gender inequality, so I addressed it above. A few expressed jealousy. A few expressed depression. And some made it clear that the list consumed their thoughts for days to an extent that is unhealthy. Unfortunately, some have thought the above post is accusing all women bloggers of those things. I failed in writing clearly.

    I have always openly explained how the list is subjective and objective. It is objective because I wouldn’t personally include a good number of blogs on the list if I was creating a list purely subjectively.

    (3) I believe the title is an accurate description because the included blogs are ranked off of performance rather than pure subjectivity. You are right that the nature of the title can increase the probability that someone will respond unhealthily to it.

  28. At this point in the discussion, it seems like all of the different perspectives have been voiced and questions have been answered and we’re beginning to cycle through repeating ourselves. Let’s best possible try to avoid beating a dead horse.

    For those of you who still disagree. That’s okay. I deeply encourage you to make better lists of blogs worth reading. We certainly don’t have the perfect approach, but even if you can’t see it, the list has already made great strides in church diversity.

    From a modern church history perspective, the list is a huge milestone to include Roman Catholic and Orthodox voices alongside Protestants. The list continues to grow more diverse with each update without us compromising the topical scope, and it is a stark contrast from the Methodists shouldn’t speak to Baptists attitude that ruled church leaders only a decade ago.

    The culture of Protestant church leadership almost unanimously cries, “Ignore the critics!” I don’t think that is the right approach when pursuing diversity, which is why we have pursued discussions like these head on even when those we debate with laugh at us for doing so.

    Please know that we do take your feedback seriously. We do try to pursue diversity. But we will also never be able to please everyone.

  29. Are you using the Alexa country ranking for a minority /out of US blogger?

    ie: Australian blogger, Australian Alexa ranking etc.

    How many bloggers on the current Top 200 list are outside the US?

    Why not have one of your people validate your statement: “the list has already made great strides in church diversity.” by breaking down your previous Top 200 and showing your reader percentages of minority/female/non-USA blog inclusion?

  30. @Bene

    We use Alexa global rank.

    I’d have to go through and count how many, but I estimate fewer than there are women.

    The great strides are in breaking out of the Protestant bubble. To some it might not sound like much, but to others it is so extreme, it borders on heresy. However, we have thought about looking at the demographics of the bloggers behind the top 200 and releasing that to show where exactly the gaps are. It would be pretty time consuming though, so we might not get around to it since we have bills to pay and families to feed.

  31. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/09/29/men-on-top-where-are-all-the-christian-women-bloggers/

    You must not have looked very hard. Or at all. But, hey. Someone did the work for you, so maybe next year you’ll have to come up with a different reason why you’re only promoting men.