People sometimes ask me how the Wednesday list of links to Christian news stories and articles comes together, so, in the spirit of Andy Stanley’s new book Deep and Wide, I’d like to share what’s in the secret sauce.
The fishing expedition begins late Saturday, as I generally need to wrap up everything by Monday night, since Tuesday finds me in an environment without any internet for most of the day. Now that the column has to be sent to Christianity Today on Tuesday morning, I really need everything done and the links all checked by around 10 PM Monday.
I don’t use Google Alerts. Instead, I have at least 1200 bookmarks in my computer of which most are related to blogging somehow. In order of their importance here’s are rocks I turn over looking for interesting news events or opinion pieces:
- Aggregators — These are websites like Alltop Church and Alltop Christian which list the five most recent pieces appearing on top Christian blogs; or lists of the Top Christian blogs, which are randomly scanned looking for writers that haven’t been featured recently.
- Past Link Lists — Each month I give myself permission to go back one year, and see what writers who were featured that month are up to now.
- Religious/Christian News Sources — I have about 35 of these including Religion News Service, Real Clear Religion, and the Gleanings page on Christianity Today. There are also news sites that specialize in certain types of stories, i.e. religious persecution, Canadian stories, etc.
- Other Reliable Link Lists — Too many to list here, but since it’s Saturday, today includes checking out the Saturday Ramblings at Internet Monk, the Saturday Links for pastors at Dashhouse.com, and tomorrow, the Sunday Superlatives at Rachel Held Evans. However, I assume many of my readers are reading those as well. Todd Rhodes also has good stories, and although I’m tempted to use this one every single week, I love Stuff Fundies Like.
- Twitter — Since finally joining in February, my Twitter account has opened up a new world of possible sources, even though I am very much limiting the number of people I follow. (A situation being obviously reciprocated by my anemic number of followers. Hint.)
- Reader Submissions — I get two or three a week from readers — including two regular contributors — that wind up in the final edition.
- Christian Bloggers — Last, but definitely not least, is the hundreds and hundreds of blogs bookmarked in my computer, which are scanned randomly.
In a part two to this, I’ll talk about why I think some of the news stories, as crazy as they are, actually matter. In the meantime, enjoy the last ten lists at their new home at Out of Ur.
Disclaimer: A decent writer wouldn’t mix metaphors: “rocks I turn over,” versus “fishing expedition…” nor would he or she say a list appears “in order of importance” but then list the final one as “last but not least.”