Women Bloggers and 'Real' Church Ministry
A couple weeks ago, the website ChurchRelevance.com published its biennial list of the top 200 church blogs. Founded by ministry consultant Kent Shaffer in 2006, Church Relevance is about "understanding culture and responding to hurts and needs with the gospel, sacrificial love, and selfless ministering." This top-200 list, then, examines the websites that are most influencing the church, based on a number of readership metrics. What followed its publication was a rush of people asking the same question over and over again:
Where are all the women?
Of the top 100 blogs selected, three are written by women. Several other blogs have "various" authors that count women among them. This website does not appear anywhere on the list, even though it consistently outpaces brother site CT Liveblog (now Gleanings) in pageviews and unique visitors. Other notable female bloggers, including Sarah Bessey, Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker, and Micha Boyett, to name but a few, are absent as well.
First things first: Any time someone makes a fuss about not being included on a list they thought they should be included in, it will smack of sour grapes. And to insist that this is not, in fact, sour grapes only makes us sound like the lady who doth protest too much. I assure you, however, that the following is a real attempt to understand why this list overlooks so many influential female bloggers and a lament over this sad state of affairs.
What I don't want to do here is launch some kind of offensive against Shaffer or other list-composers. He has been very clear about how certain blogs make the list and others don't, and addressed the question of why so few blogs on the list were written by women. He has also admitted that his list is "subjective and consequently flawed."
What I want to say is this: If you are composing a list of influential Christian bloggers and only 20 percent of the people on your list are women, something is wrong either with the list, or with the world it seeks to represent.
In response to a similarly male-heavy list published in April 2012, Bessey wrote a post with the top 50 "Church and Faith Lady-Bloggers," which included Her.meneutics and some of the other women I expected to see on Shaffer's list. It serves as a great reminder of the sheer number of Christian women who bring their experience and gifts to the great table of the Internet, often with little recognition. What recognition does come to them is often harder-won than the attention given their male counterparts.
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