Today is simultaneously a day for celebration and sadness. If blogs have birthdays, today is it. Our first post was June 13, 2011. It has been one year and 287 posts from then until now. Before I reflect on some lessons we have learned, let me explain the twinge of sorrow.
Yesterday Phil Johnson announced he was giving up blogging. Phil has certainly been a bit of a hero in the Christian blogging world, and has always been the blogger I admire most. He began his blog with a strong desire to warn Christians of the dangers of liberalism and the emerging church inside of evangelicalism. Now, six years later, it is obvious both that his warnings were justified, and that they were (for the most part) heeded. The emerging church seems to have morphed into an ecclesiastical hodgepodge of associations and personalities, almost none of which are taken very seriously anymore. And if you rewind the tape and watch the replay, Phil’s predictions and warnings were justified and validated almost every time.
I’d like to think that Phil will relent, and log in to blogger.com a few more times. But he is not the kind of guy to make idle threats, and it goes without saying that the Christian blogosphere will miss him tremendously. I’m thankful for the insight he has brought to issue after issue, and consider him an example of the right way to sound a warning—with clarity and conviction. If I had graphics skills, I’d put a little black arm band around the Cripplegate masthead above. Alas.
But onto our blog: our first post was exactly one year ago today. Clint wrote on what he would do if he was John MacArthur. It was homage to Pastor John finishing the New Testament, and Clint’s encouragement was that he would then start the Old—which is exactly what has happened.
Over the past year, I’ve learned how some popular thoughts about blogs are wrong. Many people assume that the more comments on a post, the more readership of the post. That is simply not true. In fact, the more narrow the topic, the more comments there are (people comment on things they know about). The more broad the topic, the higher the readership. If anything, there is almost an inverse correlation between readership and comments.
Another misconception: popular posts are about controversy, and devotional posts are hardly read. Our blog has shown that this is not really true. I think helpful posts are read and shared. Some of them are helpful because they cast light on a topic that is popular. Others are helpful because they are devotional. In short, controversy doesn’t make a popular post, but being helpful does.
Finally, I’ve learned that the posts I enjoy writing are not necessarily the ones others enjoy reading. The two posts I’ve most enjoyed writing are Failure to Faithfulness (about the life of John Mark), and Slavery and the Case for Gay Marriage. Neither were particularly popular posts.
And, for those of you who are curious, here are out top ten posts in the one-year history of our blog, with the number of visits/unique visitors in parenthesis:
10. A Sample Prayer Plan, by Mike (8k/7k).
9. Tattoos and Skin Deep Hermeneutics, by Clint (9k/8k).
8. Why Lie to your Kids about Santa, by Clint (10k/9k).
7. Keller and the Exclusivity of Christ, by Mike (11k/9k).
6. Five Signs of Spiritual Maturity, by Clint(11k/10k).
5. Herding the Elephants (a review of ER2), by Mike (14k/11k).
4. Adam’s Apple; Preaching from an i-pad, by Clint (12k/11k)
3. Seven Questions for Christmas Haters (19k/11k)
2. Tebow Time: 10 Thoughts and a Cloud of Dust, by Nate (16k/14k)
1. An Open Letter to my Daughter, by Byron (29k/26k).