Well, what do you know? For all of its weaknesses, it does seem that this experimental little blog must be doing something right. At least, the principalities and powers at the World Wide Web's most prominent interfaith free-for-all think so. The folks at Beliefnet.com have posted an item called: "Best Spiritual Blogs -- Beliefnet's picks for the coolest, most interesting faith-based weblogs." And the opening category is dedicated to "General Religion Blogs" and there we are, listed just beneath Jeff "The Hulk" Sharlet and the commanding crew at TheRevealer.org.
Honest. I'm not making this up. Here's what Beliefnet had to say about this blog and then its remarks on TheRevealer:
Get Religion: This joint blog between conservative-leaning religion reporters Terry Mattingly and Douglas LeBlanc offers smart analysis of major religion stories and how they're reported in the mainstream press.
The Revealer, run out of New York University's Center for Religion and Media, describes itself as a "daily review of religion and the press." Though a big part of its mission is to review how religion is portrayed in the media, it's a great place to start for the latest -- and often obscure -- religion news, as well as excellent links to a wide range of religion news resources and other blogs.
I don't know if I am qualified to address the "smart analysis" bit, but I do want to note the accuracy of the "conservative-leaning religion reporters" statement. Both of us are conservative Christians of one stripe or another and have been pretty open about that. What matters to me is that people grasp our strong commitment to accurate, balanced and diverse coverage of religion in the mainstream press. We are here to cheer and to jeer, but we do hope people remember that our main goal is to be pro-journalism. There are legions of "conservative-leaning" believers out there that, quite frankly, don't like journalism very much.
Perhaps Beliefnet also should have mentioned that we are small. This is especially important in comparing what we are able to do with the waves of links and copy that pour out of the crew at New York University. Our hats are off to them, in terms of the ground they can cover! (Snazzy design, too.)
Now, one tiny critical comment. If Doug and I are "conservative-leaning" (and we are), what might the proper adjective be to describe TheRevealer? It seems that Beliefnet has decided that its perspective is normative or neutral. Anyone out there -- including Sharlet -- who wants to propose an adjective that is appropriate? "Progressive" is the hot political adjective at the moment.
Please note that Beliefnet has appealed to readers to submit URLs for other blogs worthy of recognition in the future. What are they seeking?
Not every spiritual blog is worth reading, of course. Many blogs aren't updated frequently; others are updated far too often with everyday minutiae. Some blogs function as the daily organs of established media outlets or institutes. Beliefnet has chosen to highlight some of the best spiritual blogs on the web. These blogs are all worth checking in with daily or weekly. The list is far from exhaustive -- with seemingly endless numbers of blogs for every religion (for example, this list of Quaker blogs, My Scientology Blog, this Unitarian Universalist blog), we couldn't begin to try to accomplish that. We'll keep updating this list with our favorite picks as we discover new blogs. And we encourage you to submit your own favorites...
By all means, go to the site and do that. And let's start with a shout out for Ted Olsen and the crew at the Christianity Today blog. And while we are at it, let's ask the folks at CTi to consider creating a really bright, user-friendly graphics button of some kind on the front page at Christianity Today to help readers get to the blog.