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Crowd-Pleasin’ Posts: Your Passions Revealed

Drew Marshall has asked me to go on his radio show to talk about my blog and I hope we can do that next Saturday. To help him prepare, he asked me to identify the blog posts with the most visits. That took me a while (I don’t have a powerful enough stats counter, it appears!), and the findings were perhaps worth sharing with you.

The #1 All-Time Blog Post is no surprise, actually. It’s been a “page” for a while now, since it is of perennial interest: “Thinking about a Ph.D.?”  Lots of people, it seems, are thinking hard about taking that Big Step. What is surprising to me is the reach of this post. To date, it has received almost 100,000 visits.

Otherwise, though, my numbers are much lower. My recent posts on “Evangelicals Don’t Behave as Badly as Everyone Else” have gratifyingly made my Top Ten list–gratifying because this Big Mistake, used as a stick to beat evangelicals, needs to be set aside for more accurate and helpful analysis.

My critiques of two popular books also make the Top Ten: The Shack and The Secret. (Does anyone read The Secret anymore? Or The Shack? Remember when everyone was talking about them?)

An analysis of why churches and other Christian organizations don’t pay speakers better, and why they generally should, also has gotten wide circulation. (It started out as an anonymously published article in ChristianWeek–which ended up winning a national journalism award and so the author had to be revealed. But now it’s apparently all over the Net, and I’m glad it is.)

These posts all have received in the neighbourhood of 10,000 visits–yes, an order of magnitude lower than the Ph.D. Primer.

Leaving the Ph.D. post as a statistical outlier, then, we conclude with the top three posts as follows, in ascending order. (Drum roll, please.)

#3: The post suggesting Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll take some time off to re-learn basic exegesis and theological method in the light of his horrible misinterpretation of Scripture on gender. This clocks in at over 13K visits.

#2: Now we’re really getting close to the heart of worship, so to speak. My announcement that “Jesus, I am NOT in love with you” caused many feathers to ruffle even as it also caused many hands to clap.

And the Number One All-Time Most Widely Read blog post in six years’ worth of writing, with well over 20,000 visits? I’m aghast to have to tell you, but the truth must be told:

My spanking of Chris Tomlin as an often-deficient songwriter who ought neither to be held up as an example nor asked to teach others how to write worship songs. He’s not terrible all the time, of course, but he’s not great at his best and his next-to-best lyrics are demonstrably poor. THIS IS WHAT INTERESTED READERS THE MOST.

I note in passing that anything reblogged by “The Gospel Coalition” gets a boost (e.g., on John Piper, D. A. Carson, or the GC itself, which I spoofed on April Fool’s Day this year). So “inside baseball” = “inside North American evangelicalism” posts do get inordinate attention from time to time. And I recognize that there are a whole lot more Americans likely to read me than Canadians (or Brits or Aussies or…).

Still, it is sobering to look at the numbers and see that my posts on what I would take to be more significant matters, such as Christology or Atonement, Christian-Muslim relations,  religion-and-the-public-sphere, even the problem of evil, have had an encouraging readership but do not break into even the Top Ten.

It also is interesting to see, however, that most of my blog posts get about 2000 visits, and that number–along with the sprightly comments you generously share with me and the rest of us–represents a conversation/classroom/congregation I am grateful for the privilege to address. So I’ll keep writing awhile longer.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.


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