ChristianColleges.com’s Top 100 Theology Blogs Part 14: Society and Culture

by Anna Blanch on March 1, 2009

Post #14 of a review series on Christiancolleges.com’s Top 100 Theology Blogs list. For details about the list, please see Post # 1 and Post # 2 in the series. Links to all the posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post. Please feel free to offer your assessment or suggest other lists and blogs I should review/annotate.

Society & Culture

Merrit declares that you can “Discover the intersection of society, culture, and religion through these theology blogs.”

Behind the academic blogs this is the section i’ve been most looking forward to reviewing. This is also the last section! There will be one more post summarising and wrapping up the (count them) 14 different posts covering reviews of Christiancolleges.com’s Top 100 Theology Blogs list.

Losing My Religion: This blog sets up a confrontational relationship of society versus religion. Lately, this unnamed blogger has been blogging very personally about his relationships. While I admire his courage in bravely revealing his flaws these posts seem to stray far from the stated scope of the blog – though admittedly the scope and methodology is not entirely clear. This may have been better included in the “writings” section.

Making the Grade:
ScopeC-
Quality
– B-
Theological Leanings? (Jewish?)

ThinkChristian: ThinkChristian, a blog published under tha auspices of ReFrame Media (part of Back to God Ministries International, based in Chicago) is about Christ, culture, and faith in everyday life. A group administered by Stephen Koster has contributors including Andy Rau, Jerod Clark, Michael Geertsma, Josh Larsen, Mary Hulst, and Nathan Bierma, from across the media, communications, and education spectrum. There is a novel design feature that allows a reader to change the color of the blog layout – simple but ingenius.

Making the Grade:
Scope – B
Quality
– B
Theological Leanings – ? ( a group blog)

a time to tear down | A Time to Build Up: Dr. Peter Enns, presently teaching at Eastern University, PA, covers discusses the Bible, particularly OT, and contemporary Christian faith. With a clear scope and methodology Enns describes his blog as follows,

The focus of this website is Biblical Theology and Biblical Studies and how these fields interface with contemporary Christian faith.

The blog includes book reviews, scholarly articles, links and commentary on Enns speaking engagements and lectures.

Making the Grade:
ScopeA
Quality
– B
Theological Leanings(?)

The Intersect: Chris Goodman, Director of Ministry Development for the global internet ministry of bible.org and Director of Business Development for bible.org’s publishing ministry, NET Bible Press. Goodman’s blog explores the intersections of ministry and the Internet. Lots of bite size lists of advice for pastors and those involved in ministry who already have a web presence or are considering a web presence. The design is clean (the header image is great) but there is something about the feel of this site that is gimmiky. The short versions of each story on the front page don’t give enough for me to make a deicision about whether to read the rest of the article – if these were excerpts were a little longer I think it would help.

Making the Grade:
Scope – A
Quality
-B
Theological Leanings?

Christ and Pop Culture: Founded by Richard H Clark, Alan Noble and David R Dunham, Christ and Pop Culture has a number of regular and occassional contributors, including Carissa Smith. This blog has a clear scope and methodology:

Pop Culture is everywhere. You can attempt to avoid it, but even if you succeeded, those around you are immersed in it. Pop Culture is more than just television, film, music, and the things people indulge themselves with to pass the time. It’s politics. It’s lifestyle. It’s the common knowledge of our age. You could say it’s the common sense of our age…Christ and Pop Culture seeks to acknowledge those signs by discussing and demonstrating exactly how we ought to think about and interact with pop culture.

The scope and methodology are played out in the various sections of the site: film, games, general culture, literature, music, politics, sports, technology, television, and theater. Notable discussions have included those on Contemporary Christian Music, Christian Hip Hop, Social Networking Media including Twitter, and secular and Christian Film Critics. The expanse of these sections is ambitious and some have much less content than others – over time as this site continues to grow its value as a resource will become clearer. They have also recently wiped their rating system on all old posts meaning that the links that relate to the highest ranked posts are not entirely accurate.

In general, the design of this blog is excellent. I have only a couple of quibbles – having the recent comments in such a prominent position requires me to scroll to find othe recent posts. However, having the recent comments visible emphasises the strong reader engagement with this site. I also enjoy the changing subtitle which presently reads “Where Christian culture meets Nike Pumps.” For me, this is definitely the most impressive blog in this category (although this may be in part because it is a group blog and so the weight can be shared around somewhat!).

Making the Grade:
ScopeA
Quality
– A- (will it stand the test of time?)
Theological Leanings

The Evangelical Outpost: The Evangelical Outpost, written by Joe Carter, Managing Editor of Culture11, offers “reflections on culture, politics, and religion from an evangelical worldview”.
Lately he’s been reflecting on Lent, comparing Diane Feinstein to Harry Potter’s Delores Umbridge, book reviews, and comparing Obama to Cicero. As far as design is concerned, It would be helpful to be able to see older posts by category or to be able to search for them. The top half the columns on either side of the text panel are dominated by advertisements and endorsements – it’s a little disconcerting if you want to read the blog.

Making the Grade:
Scope – B+
Quality
– B+
Theological LeaningsEvangelical (?)

Between Two Worlds: Justin Taylor’s blog offers a steady flood of theology, philosophy, politics, and culture links and reviews. This blog is a valuable current news and affairs research tool for bloggers and readers alike. Taylor obviously spends significant time hunting around for interesting interviews, tidbits, and keeps abreast of the real world marking anniversaries, deaths, and happenings in the real world and the blogosphere. Recently, Taylor has been attempting to provide more commentary and annotation on the links he posts in response to some criticism that his readers wanted to know more about his assessment of the links. This response to constructive criticism has paid dividends and I think it has improved the quality of a very useful blog.

Making the Grade:
Scope – A- (This is still primarity a collection of links…)
Quality
– A
Theological Leanings – Evangelical Protestant

in the open space: God & culture: Carmen Andres blogs on God and faith as she “sifts through culture, events and church-talk.” A freelance writer andres’s blog is marked by a great layout and great writing on movies, books, TV, and culture.

Making the Grade:
Scope – B+
Quality
– B+
Theological Leanings?

the church and postmodern culture: Hosted by Baker Academic and administered by Jason Hesiak, Eric Austin Lee, Geoff Holsclaw, and James K.A. Smith, The Church and Postmodern culture describes itself as

offering discussions of high-profile theorists in postmodern theory and contemporary theology, for a non-specialist audience that is interested in the impact of postmodern theory for the faith and practice of the church.

as well as descibing their scope as

…posts here will range from brief “airing of ideas” and the “trying on” of particular theories or critical positions, to longer arguments or analyses soliciting critical responses from readers, all with an eye toward the actual issues confronting church pastors and leaders, rather than the merely academic hair-splitting of abstract issues.

the church and postmodern culture primarily focuses on reviewing scholarly books, journal articles, and academic conferences (including Calls for Papers) and symposia.

Making the Grade:
ScopeB+
Quality
– B (are they really writing for a “non specialist” audience?)
Theological Leanings – ?

C. Orthodoxy: Ken Brown writes this blog to discuss the links between Christian faith and postmodern culture. This blog has recently moved to a new address. The blogs includes a list of Brown’s published writing, movie and book reviews, and an explication of Brown’s theological point of view and faith.

Making the Grade:
Scope – B
Quality
– B-
Theological LeaningsEvangelical (?)

Related Posts in the Review Series
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 - General Theology (Post 1)
Part 3 – General Theology (Post 2)
Part 4 – General Theology (Post 3)
Part 5 – General Theology (Post 4)
Part 6 – Criticism
Part 7 – Politics
Part 8 – History
Part 9 – Academic (Part 1)
Part 10 – Academic (Part 2)
Part 11 – Clergy
Part 12 – Writings (Part 1)
Part 13 – Writings (Part 2)
Part 14 – Society and Culture
Summary and Wrap up

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