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.