Help me make the blog better in 2013

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Last year was a record-setting year on the blog (7.3 million pageviews!), but there’s always room to grow and improve.  So I’ve set aside this first week of the new year to brainstorm, schedule, plan, and troubleshoot some new ideas for the blog in 2013. I wanted to let you know a little of what’s on my mind so you can weigh in with your own ideas in the comment section. So here’s what I’m thinking:

Sexuality and the Church – Yearlong Series

Next week I’ll be announcing a new series on sexuality and the Church that I’m super excited about. Like our Bible series from last year, this one will extend through most of 2013 with a new post appearing every Monday. We will work through several books, including Justin Lee’s Torn, Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting, Jack Rogers’ Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality, Amy Frykholm’s See Me Naked, and more. In addition, the series will feature multiple interviews and guest posts. I’ve selected a group of friends to keep me accountable and provide some leadership as we work through this series, as I am keenly aware of my own privilege leading this conversation as a straight woman. When I ask people what they want to talk about, this is the most common response. So let’s talk about it!

Weeklong Series

I loved, loved, loved working on our Week of Mutuality last year, so I want to introduce more weeklong theology/Bible series in 2013. A few ideas: “Hell Week” (discuss various positions on heaven, hell, and salvation), “The Future of Evangelicalism,” “5 Days to a Better Blog” (I rarely discuss blogging/writing here, but would like to do more of that for my fellow writers!), “Submission in Context” (maybe I’m the only one fascinated by Peter and Paul’s remix of the Greco-Roman Household Codes found in the epistles, but every day I am confronted with the ways in which misunderstandings of those passages have influenced gender assumptions in the church; worth spending some serious time reexamining them), “Singles Week” (a series of guest posts from single folks), “Practical Egalitarianism” (what egalitarian relationships look like in real life), and "Domestic Violence & The Church." Let me know if you have any other ideas for weeklong series. These would typically be coupled with a synchroblog through which you can lead your own discussions. I doubt we will get to all of them, so let me know which ones are of most interest to you. 

“Ask A…” Series

The “Ask a…” series will continue, though a little less frequently, with one or two interviews each month. I’d also like to include more personal interviews, and have already spoken with N.T. Wright about doing “Ask N.T. Wright…” this spring! If you have ideas for specific individuals you would like to interview, leave those suggestions in the comment section. And if you have ideas for regular editions to the “Ask a…” series (“Ask a Buddhist,” “Ask a Reform Jew,” etc.), let me know, but be as specific as possible by including a name of someone I might contact for the interview. I’m also looking for several participants to help us with Hell Week, so if you have suggestions for “Ask an exclusivist,” “Ask an inclusivist,” “Ask an annhiliationist,” or “Ask a universalist,” please help me out!


Some other things to look for this year:

I plan to share more personal stories and photos this year, including stories from “the road,” since I will be travelling like a crazy person this spring. (Will post the schedule later today or tomorrow). We’ll also be talking a lot more about CHURCH—which is consistently the most popular topic on the blog and possibly the topic of my next book. I hope to partner with World Vision for another fundraiser or two, and I’d like to talk more about the idea of sacred time, particularly in our fast-paced, chatter-filled world. I am making an effort this year to make the voices represented here more diverse, with perspectives coming from other parts of the world, not just the U.S.  Sunday Superlatives will continue. Our Women of Valor series will continue, at least for a while longer. Look for more amazing guest posts from some very talented writers and friends. I’d also like to respond to more of your questions, so leave some in the comment section and they may turn into posts!

That said, with as much travelling as I’m doing in the spring, it’s unlikely that I’ll get a post up every single day. While I’m a stickler for blogging consistently, ultimately it’s more important to me to share quality posts than to stick to a daily schedule, so expect some interruptions, particularly in March and April.

So that’s what I’ve scribbled in my big fat idea notebook.  But this is ultimately a community, so your ideas and input are critical for making all of this work. What suggestions do you have for the blog in general and for the themes I mentioned above specifically? What would you like to see more of/less of? What questions do you have for me? What questions/issues are you working through in your own journey?

I’ll be paying close attention to the comment section all day today. Thanks ahead of time for your ideas!

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