WARNING: PIPE DREAM ALERT
I recently sent a note out with an updated email address to everyone on my address book (which was surprisingly *short*. If you didn’t get that email, and you want to be able to send me stuff, put a comment to that effect below and I’ll send you my new address). One of the results was that I’ve started getting email updates from my [mom’s](http://mingobird.blogspot.com/) friend Kerry Urbanski. If you don’t know who she is, that’s because you’ve never met her.
This got me thinking. Kerry’s a great writer, with a lot of good things to say, but she’s not particularly active on the web. She does a lot of stuff at her church and in her community; she writes articles and distributes them to friends. But she doesn’t have a weblog. Why? Because starting a weblog is still too tech-heavy for a lot of great writers. My mom only has a weblog because we forced her to, and the formatting’s still not so great on her site because Blogger and Outlook don’t play too nice. This makes me think that there are still a huge number of Christian writers out there who are off the web for all intents and purposes because they don’t have anybody to help them across the transition.
Which got me thinking. How about a multi-user weblog (like Xanga or Blogger) dedicated entirely to publishing quality lay Christian writers? Call it the “Christian Underground.” Support for technical and design issues would be supplied free of charge, with the understanding that the subject matter on each person’s blog would be “public” issues (religion, politics, and culture: yay; catblogging: boo). New blogs would have to be recommended by others in the community and qualified outsiders to limit the costs of said technical and design support.
Basically, the goal would be to have three limiters to zero in on the kind of blogs I’m thinkig of: lay Christians, Public issues, high quality writing. Lay Christians, because professional ministers seem to be able to get themselves in the public eye without too much help. Public issues and high quality writing, because there are plenty other free portals for the personal newsblog.
My original idea was just to call such a site the Charismatic Underground, because that’s what *I* am, and it’s what I miss the most, but a few minutes thought showed that was probably a little too narrow. However, it gave me the idea that we could perhaps include a tagging system where people could indicate their particular religious perspective (Evangelical-Epicsopal-High Church-Charismatic?), and so that people visiting the site could view a list of blogs according to different kinds of categories.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of limiters keeping me from trying out such an idea: It costs about $75 – $135 a year to run a site with a separate domain name. That’s money I ain’t got. It takes time to run tech-support for somebody else’s website. That’s time I ain’t got. The first problem could theoretically be solved by running carefully selected blog ads, and hoping for the right level of traffic, but it’s hard to imagine recruiting a volunteer webmaster for a site that doesn’t exist yet. I can imagine eventually recruiting a fill-in after I’d done the initial setup, but I don’t have time to do even that yet. Sigh.
Anyway, it’s still a great idea, right? Can anybody think of others they wish were blogging, who are being kept out by the technical details?