Why I only write about Christianity in the UUA

It’s a bit of an overstretch — after all, I have an interest in Stanton Coit and denominational data generally — but I only write substantively about Christianity in the UUA. I write about worship in Christian terms. I write about mission in Christian terms. I write about connections among Unitarian Universalist Christians, and in ecumenical settings. I write about problems Christians have.

What about everyone else?

Well, for one thing, I know more about Christians than other Unitarian Universalists. There are fewer Christians, so there are fewer people to write. Many are personal friends. I am a member of a Christian church that’s a member of the UUA. And Christians make up a small minority among Unitarian Universalists.

For another, much of what I write applies to other Unitarian Universalists, especially since our habits and opportunities rest on a common foundation. If you’re willing to apply it to your own situation, you might discover some insights. (Christians are asked to translate meta-narratives all the time; it can be done.)

But the most important reason, is that I want to cultivate a particular voice that speaks consistently and predictably to and from the faith situation I dwell in. Unitarian Universalist Christians, while often spoken of as a singular group, really is remarkably diverse in theology, applied polity, politics and life situations.

There’s enough of a there there to give it some focus, to support the faithful and upbuild the body. I hope to do this by writing. I hope many people find this valuable (including non-Unitarian Universalist Christians) and it seems to be the work God has set out for me. It’s enough without planning to speak for or about those with whom I have a too-thin understanding.

The most-read blog posts (and the lesson it tells)

My recent “This blog post is not about Starr King” post is the most read (or at least, clicked) item I’ve ever written here — at least that I have records for, to some point in 2013. (Earlier records lost.)

Below are the top twenty blog posts, as opposed to people who land on the front page. Suggests that “if it bleeds it leads” works for niche blogs, too. That and long-posted niche resources.

My point is not to aggravate people, but our little fellowship within the Unitarian Universalist Association has some bad habits that need correcting. So I’ll write tougher items and not be shocked when people read them. (An inexhaustive list includes clannishness, conflict avoidance, “terminal uniqueness” as Victoria Weinstein puts it, valuing internal conformity and minimizing poor people. One of the reasons I’m such an advocate of new church planting is that it might give us a project we can be proud of, and convert some of this restless energy.) If I wasn’t happy with my friends and congregation, I’d be happy to go alone. But I am otherwise happy and so I won’t be quiet. I’m also grateful for all the kind private messages I got this last week.

Now, on to the list.

  1. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/this-blog-post-is-not-about-starr-king-school-for-the-ministry/
  2. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/the-sunday-only-calendar/
  3. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/christian-emblems-not-a-cross-the-seven-pointed-star/
  4. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/heres-where-i-lay-out-my-problems-with-the-uua/
  5. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/dawn-of-the-movementarians/
  6. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/why-starr-king/
  7. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/fred-phelps-1929-2014/
  8. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/what-hymns-are-distinctive-for-unitarian-and-universalist-christians-lists-proffered/
  9. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/why-take-your-punishment-falls-flat/
  10. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/churches-merged-disaffiliated-and-dead/
  11. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/gnucash-for-a-nonprofit-organization/
  12. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/universalist-churches-unseen/
  13. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/bold-experiment-in-ministry/
  14. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/data-check-on-the-emerging-churches-in-the-uua/
  15. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/say-no-fiv-times-sure-to-irritate-everyone/
  16. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/giving-up-unitarian-universalism-for-lent/
  17. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/reviewing-unitarian-universalist-websites/
  18. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/on-the-moral-march/
  19. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/what-do-these-unitarian-universalist-websites-have-in-common/
  20. http://boyinthebands.com/archives/its-not-polity-larping-or-worship-re-enacting/

Some metrics for this blog

One of my assumptions behind this blog is that if I intend to do it right, I should do with some goals in mind. (I can understand why some people might think this is extreme for hobby, but it’s how I can describe it as a service.)

Because churches move at a glacial pace, I’m keeping the long view in sight.

  • So before the end 2015, I want to have written 4,000 blog posts.
  • And I want to have reached 3,600 blog posts by the end of 2014 General Assembly. Accomplished May 23, 2014.
  • From the beginning of 2014 to the end 2015, I want to be cited at least 25 times by blogs which linked back to my blog.
  • Because the writing is complementary, I want 750 followers on Twitter by the end of 2014. (I’m @bitb.) Accomplished July 15, 2014.
  • I’d like my average readership to be 60 per day by the end of 2014.
  • As a product of my blog work, I want to be invited, by the end of 2015, to participate in one non-blogging event, though it can be online, and I’m disallowing invitations by close friends. (If you have my cell number in your phone or have had a meal with me and or my husband, you count as a close personal friend.)

If you see this last metric as an inducement for you to invite me to participate in some joint action, to present a paper, or to be invited speaker, feel free to act that feeling.

Want to learn WordPress for church site development?

I’ve recycled my liberalchristian.net domain to a fresh (hours old!) WordPress install, to serve as a church website for an imaginary church.

I want to invite three or four people, particularly those with church responsibilities and few local resources, to walk through the process of (modestly) customizing and managing such a site.

My added goal is to learn what’s the most needed; I hope to do a training off-schedule in Providence during General Assembly.

If you’re interested, leave me a note in the comments below, with your time zone and any particular goals. Please reply by Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

Taking blogging requests

I’m taking the train to Boston tomorrow in anticipation of the installation of close friend and colleague Victoria Weinstein (whom you may also know from her blog persona) as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn, Swampscott, Massachusetts.

I like trains because I can rest, read, listen to music and write with less-than-usual distraction. I’ll be planning my blogging, and writing some evergreen posts. I’ll test out my phone, and the limits of mobile devices in anticipation of General Assembly.

And I’ll take requests. Are there subjects you’d like me to explore here? I’m here for you.

My blog workflow

This is blog post #3,500; I’ve been writing over almost eleven years. I thought worthwhile to talk about how I blog now.

  1. I try to keep several blog posts written and scheduled for publication. Right now my goal is six scheduled posts at any given time. Just because I try to publish something every day, it doesn’t mean I write something new every day.
  2. I treat the week as the basic measure of time. I tend to post heavy or controversial works early in the week. I post follow-up or supporting information mid week. And lighter items, including quotations and happy thoughts later in the week.
  3. I publish scheduled items at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time (sometimes later on the weekend) to be fresh for morning and lunch readers.
  4. If I’m included the UUWorld.org blog round up (hi Heather Christensen!), I usually get a bump in traffic over the weekend so I’m not prone to start a heavy new subject.
  5. Controversial items do bring traffic, but I won’t bait readers by saying something I can’t defend. (That doesn’t mean I’ll open debates, though. They’re rarely productive.)
  6. Theological topics, I’ve learned, take tons of time to do correctly and get little attention.
  7. If you want me to write on a subject, or focus on a theme, comment. I try to respond to commentators’ requests and interests.
  8. I tend to blog one or two overlapping themes.
  9. I block out text-heavy blog posts, this one included, using my phone to dictate through the WordPress phone app. I copy edit and add links later. Saves the wrists, you know.
  10. I promote the more substantial blog posts and resources on Facebook and Twitter.
  11. I do have an editorial style, though so far unwritten. (No, I won’t refer to you by “the Rev.” but I will refer to you as a minister on first reference if it’s applicable, for instance.)
  12. Growing edge? More images and charts.