Kent Shaffer’s “200 Blogs of Interest According to a White-Male-Dominated Institutional System of Religion with a Leaning Toward Reformed-Protestant-Evangelicalism-as-Orthodoxy Worldview and a Link at the Bottom of the List to Placate Those Who Have No Voice in Such a System”

Kent Shaffer’s “200 Blogs of Interest According to a White-Male-Dominated Institutional System of Religion with a Leaning Toward Reformed-Protestant-Evangelicalism-as-Orthodoxy Worldview and a Link at the Bottom of the List to Placate Those Who Have No Voice in Such a System”



This blog is my take on the list of the Top 200 Church Blogs by Kent Shaffer.

I’m glad that Shaffer included his “subjective” definition of “church” blogs – “blogs about ministry, ministry leaders, or living out the gospel in a way that fulfills the great commission.” Now I’d like Shaffer to define “ministry,” what qualifications one must have in order to be considered a “ministry leader,” define the “gospel,” and the rubric for measuring whether one is “living out the gospel in a way that fulfills the great commission.”

“The current scorecard for the North American church is tied to the definitions of church as a place and church as a vendor of religious goods and services.” – Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance, p. 37-38

Shaffer’s list is useful, because uninteresting and/or irrelevant blogs don’t attract readers. This list obviously consists of blogs that attract readers. So, despite the fact that the list is generated from unreliable and inadequate data, despite the fact that his definitions of “ministry,” and what qualifications one must have in order to be considered a “ministry leader,” and his definition of the “gospel,” and the rubric for measuring whether one is “living out the gospel in a way that fulfills the great commission” may disqualify a large portion of the non-male, non-white blogging “ecclesia,” despite the fact that “many of the first shall be last and the last shall be first,” it is a useful list.

I suggest Shaffer rename it, though, in order to give it a label that better describes its inherent qualities: “200 Blogs of Interest According to a White-Male-Dominated Institutional System of Religion with a Leaning Toward Reformed-Protestant-Evangelicalism-as-Orthodoxy Worldview and a Link at the Bottom of the List to Placate Those Who Have No Voice in Such a System.” Then again, that title is a bit wordy and not nearly as catchy as “Top 200 Church Blogs.”

While Shaffer, himself, may be fair-minded and aware of the ideas put forth in this blog (he makes note of some of the points I’ve made here, and his list DOES include those who are NOT white males), most of this important information is relegated to a separate link and FAQ section at the end of the list.  For someone who has such excellent insight into the nature of data (see his blog, Are Statistics Good or Bad?), it surprises me that he entitles and arranges this list and commentary as he does.  Many blog readers will click on the link based on title alone, scan through the list, and be on their way.  My intent is to make people aware of the likelihood of being misinformed.  The title of the list is misleading, in my opinion, and the important information ought to precede the list.

*Disclaimer: This blog post is NOT the emotional puke of a disgruntled blogger who didn’t make the list.  For more about how I feel about numbers as a measure of success in the Kingdom (Reign) of God, please read the opening portion of Top 10 Blog Posts on www.whatgoddoes.com.

Comments
  • Stephen Helbig October 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Notice this quote found in another blog written about church blogging by same author as above ~ “To put it simply, a blog is a “church blog” if it offers content that is useful to ministry (according to my subjective opinion).” ~

    ( ?) ~ “for ministry “ ~ (?)
    (?) (a possible small box called LEADERSHIP) ~ with that as an emphasis (?)

    It’s not “leadership minded ministry”, I care to partake of ~ but rather Kingdom minded ~ and as your title reflects ~ What GOD DOES ~ Thanks Alice

    p.s. ~ Are Statistics Good or Bad? ~ Tip #7 is worth the look and is complete in itself

    p.s.s. ~ Also one should try to make the correlation of stats to scripture

    • admin October 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      What do you mean by “one should try to make the correlation of stats to scripture”? I don’t understand.

      • Stephen Helbig October 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

        Personally, I love statistics. I think they are wonderfully good. But I also recommend the following tips for healthy stat consumption:
        OR ~
        Personally, I love scripture. ~ The Word is wonderfully good. But I recommend the following tips for healthy scripture consumption at the table of the Lord:

        1. Understand the data.
        For credibility, look at the research’s parameters (e.g., sample size, methodology, who was surveyed, how they were asked, and who did the asking). For knowledge, look at the raw data, the scope of responses, and the individual percentage of each response.
        OR ~
        1. Understand the data.
        For reliability, look at the author’s parameters (e.g., illustration , methodology, who was spoken to, how they were inolved, and who did it pertain to). For familiarity and knowledge, look at the raw data of God’s Love THE GREATEST IS LOVE,(THE GOSPEL OF JOHN) understand this scale and respond accordingly, to the individual scriptures with this answer.

        2. Understand the context.
        Most statistics are skewed by cultural biases. Online polls are skewed by the psychographics of the Website’s audience (plus they exclude the preferences of non-computer users). San Francisco is different from Memphis. USA is different from China. Lifestyle surveys from lad mags will naturally usually have different statistics than those of First Baptist Church congregations.
        OR ~
        2. Understand the context.
        Most scriptures can be twisted by personal and religious biases. Man’s traditions can twist the content intended. A First Baptist fundamentalist view is different from a Pentecostal view. USA Christianity varies and is different from say China. Different lifestyles will naturally usually have different perspectives

        3. Understand the generalization.
        Statistics are flawed generalizations that make the complexities of life simple. Our minds aren’t strong enough (or sometimes we don’t have the time required) to grasp the full scope and depths of something. Statistics bend the truth by simplifying the complex into simple bite size statements. The greater the generalization, the greater the ease of understanding. The greater the generalization, the greater the lie? For example, 84% of Americans are satisfied with their personal life. But these numbers change by state and city and even city block. They change by race, religion, politics, income, and marital status. They change for you and for me. It changes by the year, day, and hour. The true answer is a complex moving target. The question is how much “truth” are we willing to sacrifice to make it easier to understand?
        OR ~
        3. Understand the generalization.
        Scriptures can promote blemished understanding if generalized. “Jesus wept” is not the whole picture, keep it simple. Our minds aren’t strong enough (or sometimes we don’t have the time required) to grasp the full scope and depths of something. Understanding Scripture, ~ the truth, ~ by simplifying the complexity of one scripture into simple bite size statements for God’s overall Plan becomes a lie.. The greater the generalization, the greater the lie? For example, 84% of Americans are satisfied with their personal life. But these numbers change by state and city and even city block. They change by race, religion, politics, income, and marital status. They change for you and for me. It changes by the year, day, and hour. The true answer is a complex moving target. The question is how much “truth” will make it easier to understand?

        4. Understand the agenda.
        Everyone has a bias. Some are malicious. Some are in the unconscious mind. Whether for good or evil, a person’s bias will influence how they convert raw data into statistics. Understanding the researchers behind a statistic can offer great insight into the statistic itself.
        OR ~
        4. Understand the agenda.
        Everyone has a bias. Some are malicious. Some are in the unconscious mind. Whether for good or evil, a person’s bias will influence how they convert scripture into practice.. Understanding the Author God behind the verse can offer great insight into the scripture itself.

        5. See it as a limited insight.
        Obviously, statistics have their limitations, but that is certainly no reason to give up on them. Statistics are far better than blind assumptions. They are limited insights that create a loose framework for reality. Don’t make statistics the law, but don’t ignore them either.
        OR ~
        5. See it as a limited insight.
        Obviously, scriptures have their limitations in our natural thinking, but that is certainly no reason to give up on them. The Word of God is far better than our blind assumptions. We have limited insights in our natural understanding that create a loose framework for reality. Don’t make scripture a law, but don’t ignore them either. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach us His Ways

        6. Mash it up.
        One of the best things you can do with statistics is mash them up. Cross-analyze statistics. By having a constant intake of stats, you will gradually see a clearer truth. By comparing similar stats, you can better identify what is true and what is false. Most importantly, you will begin to see the big picture.
        OR~
        6. Mash it up.
        One of the best things you can do with scriptures is mash them up. Cross-analyze scripture. Let everything be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses. By having a constant intake, you will gradually see truth clearer. By comparing similar word studies, you can better identify what is true and what is false. Most importantly, you will begin to see the big picture.

        7. See the big picture.
        Although bite-size statistics can be quite myopic, hundreds of them overtime can help you begin to see the big picture. In great numbers, over-simplified generalizations can reveal complex truths. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the big picture.
        OR ~
        7. See the big picture.
        Although bite-size portions of scripture can lead to narrow-mindedness, hundreds of scriptures can overtime help you begin to see the big picture. In great numbers, over time our understanding reveals complex truths. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the big picture.

        • admin October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

          Okay that makes more sense to me now.

  • Mary Vanderplas October 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I agree with what you say about the title of his list being misleading, given that it doesn’t acknowledge the narrow and exclusive criteria by which he decided which blogs to consider for this list. I agree, too, that information pertaining to the criteria he used to decide candidates for the list should have been published at the beginning rather than at the end or in a separate link. And I like what you say about the fallacy of numbers as a measure of success. For those who follow a crucified Messiah, success can hardly be measured by popularity.

  • Youer than You « www.whatgoddoes.com October 5, 2012 at 12:23 am

    […] few days ago I wrote a blog with a purposefully and insanely long title, “Kent Shaffer’s “200 Blogs of Interest According to a White-Male-Dominated Institutional System o….  If you haven’t read it, you might want to give it a once-over, or else this blog might not […]

  • Stephen Helbig October 5, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Michelle ~ Loved your take… and enjoyed the Good Read ~

    ░░░║║░░░░░║░░░░░░░░░░░
    ░░═╬╠╗╔╗╔╗╠╦╗╔╔╦╗╔░░░░
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    ░░░░░░░░░░░══╝░░░░░░░░

    QUOTE ~ “Love and Liberty and Reconciliation…now those, those are my ambitions. If I happen to end up on some “top whatever list” some day, I will most likely file it away with my Miss Congeniality award from high school, my ADDY award and all my other atta’ girls. They’re nice and all, but in the end, they don’t mean much. What survives in the end isn’t the lists or the accolades but the love and I want to be known for as much of that as possible.” ~ end quote ~ Michelle Krabill

    ………./–)
    ………/…/
    ……../….(__ ____
    ▓▓ ……….((_L _ __)♥♥♥◕¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•❤
    ▓▓……….((_ I___)♥♥◕¸.•°*”˜˜”*°• ❤❤
    ▓▓……….((_ K___)♥♥◕¸.•°*”˜˜”*°• ❤❤
    ▓▓……….((_ E___)♥♥◕¸.•°*”˜˜”*°• ❤

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