Can you believe Curious Christian is Ten Years Old!

The Last Prayer of Jesus Christ by Adel Al-Abbasi
“The Last Prayer of Jesus Christ” by Adel Al-Abbasi

I can hardly believe it myself, but it’s true, the inaugural post for Curious Christian was launched on April 30, 2005.

Of course, it wan’t called Curious Christian back then, it went through a number of name changes before I settled on the current name. And in many ways these changes reflected my personal growth as a blogger and the the evolution of the blogosphere itself. Much has changed since the early days, before probloggers arrived and microblogging services like Facebook and Twitter changed everything.

But much has stayed the same as well. I am still passionate about engaging with world religions and new spiritual movements. I am still exploring new ways of being a Christian. I still love Christian art. And I am as committed as ever to following Jesus. And … I still think I’ll keep blogging for a bit more yet.

So thanks for reading and thanks especially for the friendships.

Top 200 Ministry Blogs

I received a nice pick-me-up this afternoon. After seeing some unusual traffic coming through on Glocal Christianity I found out I’ve again ranked well on Church Relevance’s Top 200 Ministry Blogs list, coming in at 112. I’d fully expected to have dropped off the list by now given the dominance of multi-author and big name blogs (and Google shinanigans with my SEO rankings) but it seems there’s still plenty of people out there who like my odd take on things. Thanks to you all, especially those who’ve sent personal emails of encouragement over the last few weeks. It’s encouraging to know when it makes a difference.

Checking out popular Christian blogs

top christianity blogsThis week I’ve been checking out various blog ranking sites to see who’s new in the zoo this year. In particular I’ve been looking for new theology blogs, hoping for some stimulating reading and conversations. You may notice I’ve updated my blogrole a bit.

In the process I was encouraged to find Glocal Christianity is ranking well with services like BlogRank, at least in some categories. Now, if only I could translate that into more conversations!

Beyond the Bubble

If it seems like I’m spending less time here it’s because (1) I am busy and (2) I am consciously trying to spend more time engaging with bloggers beyond my “social network” bubble. You see, I can’t help reflecting on the itinerate lifestyle of Jesus. Consider how Mark records it:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

In effect, if I want to be more Christ-like as a blogger, the last thing I should be doing is waiting for everyone to come to me. That’s not to say home bases are bad. Jesus had Caperneum. But it does strongly suggest we should not become too attached to them.

What are blogs still good for?

What are blogs still good for? It’s a question I ask myself as the web evolves. Navneet Alang suggests that, while Facebook has taken over comment sharing and Twitter has overtaken link listing, blogs are still perfectly suited for specialist communities and longer thought-provoking writing. It’s about quality not quantity. Mark Schaefer points out that about 70 percent of all tweets link back to a blog so “content publishing through blogs is important”.

I think blogging is all about knowing your niche. As this blog has evolved I find it’s become more and more focussed on what it means to “follow Jesus in a multireligious, multicultural and multimedia world”. Whereas in the past I’d share all sorts of Christian news and amusing anecdotes, these days I’m far more ruthless about sticking to these niche topics. How is media evolving? How is culture evolving? How, especially, is religion evolving? Where is God in all this? How do I respond in a Christ like way? I share less links, less trivia, I focus more on original content, hopefully better quality content.

I wonder where this is all going. TV didn’t kill cinema, it forced cinemas to focus on their strengths: spectacle. The strength of blogs, for me, is that they provide an easily accessible outlet for exploring narrower interests in more depth. So I don’t try to engage everyone, I focus on the thinkers, the artists, the explorers, the innovators.

Top 200 Church Blogs

Kent Shafer has re-released his Top 200 church blogs as of March 26, 2011, and it seems Glocal Christianity is ranking 93rd according to his weightings. Looks like I’m in good company too with Johhny Baker and Christine Sine also hovering in the 90s. Thanks to all of you who actually take the time to read my ramblings 🙂

Blog reorganization

You may or may not have noticed, but I am currently in the process of reorganizing the topic categories on Glocal Christianity.

Some time ago I changed my blog description to “Glocal Christianity – following Jesus in a multireligious, multicultural, multimedia world” as I felt this better reflected my writing interests for people browsing this blog for the first time.

Now I’ve introduced the meta-categories of religion, culture, media and Christianity below the top banner as a way of grouping the many, many categories you see down the sidebar into something a bit more more concise. Hopefully it makes what I’m on about a bit clearer. The religion category is the most complete category at this stage but feel free to browse them all as I work on them.

The ethics of blogging and tweeting

As a blogger who blogs on ethics from time to time, it has occured to me, hey, maybe I do some blogging on the ethics of blogging.

Then I thought, hey, I can’t recall many Christians saying much on the ethics of blogging, or tweeting or facebooking. I wonder why that is? Maybe I should look deeper? So I went for a search, of Christian and nonChristian sites, and here are a few links I found of interest:

Note, I found NOTHING on ethics related to facebook or twitter by Christians.

Another gap? What do you think are some important ethical issues?

Blog name change?

I am thinking of changing the name of this blog. But before I make a decision like that I would appreciate some feedback from you. Yes you. Even if you who don’t normally comment. Why? Because it is helpful to know what the names say to you. Thinking wise. Feeling wise. To see if I am communicating what I would like to be communicating. Because it is not always easy to guage that from hit counts alone.

So, here goes. What I am looking for is something that:

  • Reflects what people can expect to find on this blog
  • Obviously christian
  • Invites curiousity, stands out (and possibly conflicts with Christian stereotypes)
  • Is search engine friendly (noting that “Christian Art” is a keyword for me)
  • Easy to remember
  • Easy to work into sentances
  • Does not box me in writing wise

It seems to me that the existing name, “Glocal Christianity”, meets some of this criteria. But to me it sounds too clunky and academic. Do you agree? Or do you think I should keep it? Has it grown on any of you?

Here are some alternatives I have thought of:

  • Curious Christian
  • Living Christianity
  • Dissident Disciple
  • Matt Stone (part of me wonders if I should dispense with a descriptive name altogether)

Which do you prefer? My preference at this point is for “Curious Christian”. It seems to meet most of the criteria, except its probably too generic for search engines to pick up on. Mind you, renaming my art pages as “Curious Christian Art” could work. Anyway, what I want to know is, does it work for you? Does it make you cringe? Are you indifferent? Is it ok, good or great? Can you think of a name I haven’t thought of?

Other names I thought of but aren’t as keen on are: Mosaic Christian, Anarchobaptist. Other keywords I thought of incorporating were Jesus and Icon and Angel, but I couldn’t think of how I could make that work. Agree?

But beyond all that. If someone asked you describe this site, what would you say? That’s what I really want to know.

Australia Day Synchroblog

Who is interested in joining an Australia Day Synchroblog?

A number of us got together in 2008 to blog about Christianity in Australia and you’ll find my contribution and links to other contributors here. I thought it was a worthwhile exercise so I am again asking for expressions of interest here and via other media.

If you want on the next Christianity in Australia synchroblog, just say so and leave your URL. I will be producing a list of all participants so everyone can links everyone else on Australia Day. Feel free to pass this on to others who may be interested. Expats welcome too.

Australian Christian Blogs

Came across a listing of Australian Christian blogs the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see I’d been given a 5 star ranking. Thanks to whoever voted for me there. I was also pleasantly surprised to see some lesser known blogs were in the list too, suggesting this list is reasonably comprehensive. If you’re an Aussie Christian blogger, or are curious about the Australian Christian blog scene, why not check it out.