Reports of the blogosphere’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Another year has come and (just about) gone and the blogosphere continues to be an integral means of communication, and this despite many predictions that blogs will soon go the way of the dinosaur (or the newspaper, as the case may be). 2011 was a great year for blogs, at least here in the Christian blogosphere. Before the year comes to an end, I want to point to a few of my 2011 blogging heroes.
Here are seven of them, in no particular order.
Practical Shepherding – When I speak to people who are considering blogging, I always talk about the importance of identifying a niche and then filling it. It is far easier to gain authority in a niche than it is to gain authority broadly. The example I always use is Brian Croft and his Practical Shepherding blog. Brian identified his own passion and gifting and then found that there was a void in the Christian blogosphere that he could fill. He has done a great job of doing just that. Writing primarily to pastors, he humbly offers advice or teaching that is both practical and biblical. It’s a must-read for any pastor.
The King’s English – 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and Glen Scrivener decided to mark the occasion by looking at hundreds of phrases coined by the King James translators that have since passed into modern parlance–phrases we now take for granted: “labour of love”, “beast of burden”, “wits’ end” and “scapegoat”; and also phrases that perhaps should be a bit more popular, like “filthy lucre” and “gird up thy loins”. He did a phenomenal job of it. I am looking forward to seeing what he does in 2012 and beyond.
The Cripplegate – The Cripplegate is a new blog produced by a team of writers connected by their association with [John MacArthur’s] Grace Community Church. It offers a place for “like-minded Christians and pastors to share their thoughts about ministry, theology, and issues that affect the church today, in a way that will bring encouragement and clarity to those that read it.” The writers have done a good job of addressing current events while also writing about issues relevant to ministry or just being part of a church. I appreciate their willingness to be blunt when bluntness will help a conversation progress.
Counseling One Another – Paul Tautges has taken a page from Brian Croft’s playbook–he has identified his own strengths, identified a niche in the blogosphere, and filled it admirably. The focus of this blog is counseling one another–equipping all Christians to do the ministry of counselling within the church. The purpose is “to stimulate and nurture healthy, Word-driven growth among believers in Christ. By coming alongside to encourage your own spiritual growth in the Lord, and pointing you toward Christ-centered resources to strengthen your personal ministry, we hope to assist you in making obedient disciples of Jesus Christ.” Paul has been doing some excellent writing, especially in the past couple of months, and is making his blog an invaluable part of the Christian blogosphere.
Cranach – Gene Veith has been blogging for quite some time, but it was really 2011 that showed me how valuable his site is. He has a knack for finding interesting material and highlighting it. He often finds material that the rest of us are overlooking. He does it well and I hope he just keeps doing it!
Aaron Armstrong – Aaron is one of those guys who poured a lot of effort into his blog in 2011 and the effort has paid off (at least in my estimation). He has become a go-to guy for solid theological content and excellent quotes from great writers of days gone by. He is at his best when discussing contemporary theological issues.
Reformation21 – While there are quite a few writers at the Reformation21 blog, Carl Trueman tends to do the bulk of the writing there and I almost always find his articles a joy to read. He never shies away from the difficult issues and is willing to say what a lot of us are thinking but are not able to articulate. Sure he may cross a line on occasion, but I can’t hold that against him. He is one of my favorite bloggers, and that is true whether I find myself agreeing with him or not.