7 Ways to Stay Abreast of Conversations at the Intersection of Faith and Culture

I’m often asked, how are you able to keep up with what’s happening at the intersections of Church, the Kingdom of God and the various sectors of society. I can assure you that I don’t have the time to sit around surfing the internet all day. So what’s my secret? I’ve found a few people who do have the time to sit around surfing the internet all day. In all seriousness, I follow the work of several sites who do manage to seemingly search everywhere all the time for the latest developing stories, essays and events of interest to those who care to keep up. They are my faith and culture, church and society “curators,” and they are doing a fantastic job. And if you were to ask them how they do it, I suspect they would produce a list of their curators. In an upcoming post I’ll get to why doing this matters and some really practical tips on how to do it. For now, here are seven sites I keep up with and a brief word on each.

REAL CLEAR RELIGION

My favorite is Real Clear Religion. Every day twice a day (morning and afternoon) these guys provide a list of ten or twelve headlines with links to their sources. They cover a wide swath of publications and run the gamut on the world of faith. Though it seems to favor the Christian faith, you’ll find a pretty helpful and interesting sample here daily. (If you have another five minutes you might take a look at Real Clear Politics or Real Clear Books and on it goes.)

PATHEOS

Practically every day probably another million or so Christian blogs are born. Most of them will never see the light of day and a quick glance will reveal even more of them last posted in March of 2011 or something like that. Blogging well is very hard work, and while it’s no shame to start and start and start trying to blog again, it’s pretty much a waste of time for anyone other than your small group and your mom to keep up. Patheos is a site playing host to a myriad of serious bloggers who are churning out the work in helpful ways. You can sample all sorts of streams, ranging from atheist blogs to catholic blogs and on. They need to beef up their stable of women writers but you will find a wealth of thought leaders on Patheos. They make it easy to subscribe to any of their feeds via RSS or email subscription as well.

THE WASHINGTON POST & CNN

I like to keep an eye on how some of the major news sources are framing and sourcing the conversation on faith and culture and so forth. Every day or two I will scan the Washington Post’s “On Faith” page. Then I will jump over to CNN’s Belief Blog. It’s easy to scan a lot of material in a short amount of time, reading what interests you and passing over the rest. And if you want to delve into a bottomless pit of religious coverage you might take a look at HuffPost Religion. It’s another one that makes for quick headline scanning. With these three sites you can expect a liberal slant.

FAITH AND LEADERSHIP

Faith and Leadership is an online magazine of leadership education coming out of Duke Divinity School. They are generating content with depth and with a sustainable pace for their followers. They offer a perspective with a Wesleyan intellectual flavoring representing a mainline institution at its best.

THE GOSPEL COALITION

You knew I had to go here didn’t you? As much as I might disagree with a lot of the perspectives on the Gospel Coalition, I tip my hat to their thoughtful and creative work. They host a high powered stable of scholars, pastors and leaders who consistently serve up the latest “Reformed” perspective on everything under the sun. From John Piper to Al Mohler to Matt Chandler to Tim Keller, you will find a one stop shop for today’s bulwark of stalwart Calvinists.

FIRST THINGS’ FIRST THOUGHTS

I have long read and appreciated First Things, a journal on religion, society and public policy. There host a collection of blogs and bloggers. I keep up with First Thoughts. While this one stays pretty accessible to an average reader like me, they marshall some pretty strong intellectual capital with their posts. You will find engagement with popular culture but often with much deeper analysis than the “news” sites offer. These writers are “smarter than the average bear.”

THE TOP 50 BIBLE BLOGS

Now for one of these things that’s not like the others. The biblio blog top 50 is more of a monthly listing of the top fifty bible oriented bloggers (among other things). The site’s a bit “janky” so don’t expect a well oiled article feed, but you can jump off from here to some pretty strong material.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the series: Reasons why the Faith and Culture Conversation Should Matter to Us and Ways to Stay Abreast of Christianity in the News in the Midst of a Busy Life.
How do you keep up? Share with us in the comments any sites beyond these that you find helpful to follow.

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