Thursday, July 30, 2009

Favorite Faithful Bloggers

"Happy are the people whose strength is in you! whose hearts are set on the pilgrim's way." -- Psalm 84:4, The Divine Hours, Prayers for Summertime

As this summer comes to a close for us (we have just over two weeks left before our home school picks back up), I realized that I have read very few books over the past two months. I have been writing more than usual, and I have been reading over and lightly editing my own novel as well as a friend's, but the vast majority of my reading time is spent online.

I spend some time on Twitter and Facebook each day, but not nearly as much as I spend reading blogs. Through Google Reader (one of the best time-saving devices available online), I follow over 100 blogs, glossing over some and reading others with thoughtful prayerfulness (or prayerful thoughtfulness). Some blogs I follow for their advice on writing and publishing. Others blogs belong to friends with whom I want to stay in touch. Some blogs are written by fellow homeschoolers.

But the blogs I follow the most avidly are those of fellow Christians of all sorts: Evangelicals, Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox. I follow a rather eclectic collection of bloggers, and from these wise believers I am learning how to live a life more fully devoted to God. These bloggers from around the world write transparently about their foibles and faults while they glorify God for their successes. They inspire me to continue growing in the faith, to pray more faithfully, to study God's Word more thoroughly, to continue in the spiritual disciplines as a way to connect with Our Saviour more fully. We're sojourners, traveling the same path to holiness, attempting to ignore deceitful "shortcuts," inspiring each other to keep placing one foot in front of the other even when we're so spiritually drained that taking another step seems impossible. Sometimes we slog each other's burdens upon our own backs or prod each other toward the goal that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. At times we get bogged down in the mud, caught in quicksand, and we find ourselves surprised when eager hands of fellow travelers reach out, grasping our flailing limbs, lifting us to solid ground once more. The Pilgrim Pathway has been traveled for twenty centuries, and those who have marked the path before us continually inspire us "to love and good deeds," as do our fellow Christians as we encourage and exhort, lift up in prayer and extend a helping hand. Our map, of course, is God's Holy Word, and we must keep it always before us as we travel the Pilgrim Pathway for a lifetime.

So I greatly value my fellow travelers in the blogosphere, thanking them for pointing me in the right direction when the path seems to fork in front of me, for being transparent regarding their own wrong turns, for continuing to travel when the path seems to blur beneath their feet. These writers inspire me and encourage me to "keep on keepin' on," no matter the obstacles in my path, no matter the seeming endlessness of the journey. These, then, are my Favorite Faithful Bloggers:

The Internet Monk -- Michael Spencer isn't afraid to tackle any subject in Christendom. His balance and forthrightness and his gracious writing style challenge my thinking and beliefs quite often. He's among one of the most popular Christian bloggers ever. He makes me think about topics in a way that blends the head and the heart.

A Holy Experience -- I'm rather new to following this blog. Ann Voskamp is Canadian and writes about life on a farm with six children and the Holy Experiences she encounters on a daily basis. Her "corner of the web" is written for "the God-hungry and true Beauty seekers." Her writing and photography are simply breathtaking -- she writes in a poetic prose that sparkles with the Holy Spirit. A simply beautiful, holy experience, and currently my absolutely favorite blogger.

Conversion Diary -- A former atheist and now a devout Catholic, Jennifer Fulwiler is a mother of five and an incredibly funny and transparent communicator of the Gospel. She lays her life out for all to see: the beautiful, the ugly, the sinful, the transcendent. Jennifer is well-worth following, and she has taught me a great deal about being a faithful wife, mother, and Christian writer. And her scorpion and Yaya stories are unparalleled.

John H. Armstrong -- Founder of Act 3 Ministries, John Armstrong is a former pastor and church planter as well as an adjunct professor of evangelism at Wheaton College Graduate School. John writes about many subjects; I admit to skipping over his sports posts. But his writings on theology and what he calls The New Ecumenism are educational as well as inspiring. I value most his views on ecumenism and his willingness to open dialogue among Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant believers.

Journey of a Soul -- Deborah writes about her journey of faith as a Catholic wife and mother. Lately she has been blogging about Spiritual Directors, people evangelicals might call Disciplers. However, Catholic Spiritual Directors are usually specially trained by the Church and often meet once a month with those whom they direct. Deborah's writings are very true-to-life and inspirational.

Liturgy New Zealand -- Reverend Bosco Peters, an Anglican priest in New Zealand, hosts an incredible resource for those who are Anglican or who are interested in the Church of England. His following the Liturgical Year, his information on the Spiritual Disciplines, and his evangelical zeal all make his blog and website well worth following. I can't recommend his blog and website highly enough, whether one is Anglican or not.

Finally, I wish to recommend a couple of blogs by online friends of mine:

The Well -- Carol Weaver, a homeschooling mother and wife to her "Mr. Knightley," is a missionary to Asia and writes about living a life dedicated to Christ-likeness and to loving His people. Her blog posts discuss her daily life, classical readings, and also the deep well from which springs the Living Water of Christ Jesus.

Sentient Marrow -- Dalissa Reeder writes about home education and spiritual matters on her blog. An artist, Dalissa looks at life and faith from a distinctly original view, and her writing is infused with dry wit and Christian insights. A real gem.

So here are some of my Favorite Faithful Bloggers, those Christians whether Catholic, Anglican, or Evangelical who nudge me along the Pilgrim Pathway through their insights and examples, through their transparency and successes, and through speaking the Truths of our Christian Faith with inspiring and memorable words. I thank these bloggers for their willingness to shed their exterior masks and allow their readers glimpses into their imperfect inner lives. I'm unspeakably grateful for their taking my hand and encouraging me along the Pilgrim Pathway, whether they know me or not (usually not).

Feel free to list a few of your Favorite Faithful Bloggers in the comments below. I'm always looking for new blogs to add to my burgeoning Google Reader list.


Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

What a lovely list! I'm honored to be a part of it, and I've already discovered some great new blogs thanks to your links as well. Thank you!

liturgy said...

Thank you, Susanne, for your gracious words and encouragement. And also for pointing me to some other wonderful resources. Your site is also an inspiration.



Susanne Barrett said...

Thank you for your kind words, Bosco and Jennifer. I have also received a lovely e-mail from Ann Voskamp of Holy Experience. You all are my blogging heroes, so thank you for inspiring me and others through your blogs.

Susanne +


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