Quick to Listen/Episode 56 | 43 min

A Brief History of the Christian Blogosphere

Religion reporter Sarah Pulliam Bailey on how blogs and social media have changed the church--and our country.
A Brief History of the Christian Blogosphere

Last week, CT Women asked “Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?”

The rise of the blogosphere in the early 2000s yielded the genre of the “spiritual blogger.” From the comfort of their living rooms, lay people suddenly became household names, wielding influence over tens of thousands of followers. A new kind of Christian celebrity—and authority—was born: the speaker and author who comes to us (often virtually) as a seemingly autonomous voice, disembedded from any larger institution or ecclesial structure.

One daughter of this phenomena was Her.meneutics, a Christianity Today blog specifically centering the voices of women writers, which ran until last year. Washington Post religion reporter and Acts of Faith editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey was a co-founder. Around the time she joined CT, she read a profile about a Mormon “mommy blogger,” which presented this new group of female writers as a phenomenon.

“There are these religious bloggers, and they’re … writing about depression and motherhood and really serious issues connected to motherhood,” Pulliam Bailey said.

She realized how much this content resonated with readers and how beneficial creating a similar space for evangelical women could be for this under-targeted group. Out of that came Her.meneutics.

So how did Her.meneuetics legitimize its writers? Pulliam Bailey joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and guest host and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss this challenge, the days when you could read the entire Christian blogosphere, and what local church oversight over spiritual teachers can practically look like.

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A Brief History of the Christian Blogosphere