Friday, April 27, 2007

Thinking bloggers and thinking about blogs

I've been awarded the Thinking Blogger Award not once, but twice! Thanks much to my colleague Craver VII as well as to Australian Simply Simon (from whom I learned that many of the issues facing North American suburbia are also present in Australia as well). Thanks, guys. I appreciate the affirmation, and I hope my blog posts live up to your praise.

Now I'm supposed to name five blogs that likewise make me think. Alas, how can I limit my choices to just five? This is actually why I don't list everything I read on my blogroll - I don't want to leave folks out, and I also don't want to have a list that goes on for pages (like my bookmarks). For that reason, for now, at least, my links list is very limited. Of course, I link to our family blog, Team Hsu, which my wife has recently claimed as her primary blogging domain. See her observations on disorderly spiritual disciplines, how many jeans people own and what body image looks like in other cultures. The only other personal blogs I link to are Loud Time and Strangely Dim by my pal Dave Zimmerman, who shares an office wall with me. He was blogging long before I entered the fray, and he's always been a good friend and colleague, so I've linked to him from the start. (I often use his Loud Time blogroll to hop to blogs I like to visit.)

Let me also highlight IVP's new corporate blogs, which just launched a few weeks ago. I contribute to Behind the Books, which gives behind-the-scenes thoughts and commentary related to the IVP Books publishing program. See my recent posts there about spiritual formation and the top eight reasons people buy books. We also have the Addenda & Errata blog for our IVP Academic line, as well as Andy Unedited, with thoughts about publishing from our editorial director, Andy Le Peau (whom I edited for his book, Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength., an anecdotal history of IVP).

So anyway, if I have to pick five blogs to commend for making me think:

1. I think the gold standard of thoughtful Christian blogging is Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed. Vital contributions to discussions on theology, biblical studies, the emergent church and much more. He's created an amazing go-to community for evangelical discourse and dialogue. I don't know how he manages to blog so much and so well on such a wide breadth of topics and issues. All the rest of us pale in comparison.

2. Jenell Williams Paris's The Paris Project is a favorite stop for me. Jenell and I knew each other way back in high school in the '80s, when we faced each other in our high school debate league and got to know each other at debate camp. (Yes, we are such geeks.) We reconnected in the '90s through the late, great Regeneration Quarterly and The Vine. She's an anthropology professor and always has astute observations about the academy, society, evangelical culture, motherhood and life in general. She just got a new job at Messiah College and also gave birth to Max - congrats, Jenell!

3. Helen Lee's Typical American Mom. Helen used to be on InterVarsity staff and worked at Christianity Today. I've intersected with her at various Asian American gatherings over the years and worked with her on her edited book Growing Healthy Asian American Churches. She recently had a series of thoughtful posts reflecting on the Virginia Tech shooting and its implications for the Korean American and Asian American communities.

4. Jana Riess is the religion reviews editor for Publishers Weekly, and her personal blog is The Review Revolution. We've been publishing industry friends for some years now, and she has some of the most insightful observations about religion publishing trends and the good, the bad and the ugly of book publishing. She recently posted a scathing review of The Secret, and awhile back wrote this hilarious rip on Biblezines.

5. A relative newcomer to the blogosphere is a colleague who is known in the office as Rebecca but otherwise known as Becky in the rest of her life. Her blog Please pass the cheese (I still have no idea what that means) wrestles with various topics of Christian life and discipleship, including women's ministries at her church and generosity and grace. She also posted an original unpublished Mark Noll poem "Scots' form in the suburbs" that was written for their church - a very moving picture of the power of the Eucharist in the lives of suburban people.


Becky said...

Hey Al,

Thanks for tagging me for this honor! It looks like I am in very good company. I'll have to check out some of these other people's blogs too. . . I am enjoying the increasing network of friends the blogosphere provides.

Pleasepassthecheese is some kind of vague reference to the cheesier aspects of my personality, and also I think in there is the idea of sitting around at a table together with friends and discussing ideas while passing around the delectible foods we love. But mostly it's just because I love cheese--so if you've got some, pass it over!!

Al Hsu said...

Thanks for the explanation, Becky - that's helpful! You should be a Wisconsinite. Lots of good cheese up there.

Helen said...

I, too, am quite honored and humbled to be on this list! I barely feel like I know what I'm doing when I'm blogging and mostly have done it for my own personal satisfaction so I'm still astonished that people come by and read what I write (even more scary to think that people I respect and admire come and visit!) Anyway, Al, your blog is on my short list of blogs I regularly visit so the feeling is mutual! Thanks again.

Robert Lancaster said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and contributing to the discussion on Tony Jones' lecture.

I have to agree with your assessment of Scot McKnight - his is one of the blogs I have to read everyday; incidentally, so is yours.

Michelle said...

Thanks, Al, for listing your Christian and book blog recommendations. I've checked them out and subscribed to all. I appreciate it when people I respect mention helpful resources. Thanks again!

PS I like that you listed Not a Box, Duck and Goose, and Library Lil in your kids' bedtime lists (I plan to be a children's librarian). Another good one that just came out is Dog and Bear by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. It's super sweet!

Al Hsu said...

Thanks, everybody, and Michelle, thanks for the tip - I just reserved Dog and Bear from the library.