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.