The report by the Social Science Research Council is intended to "spark discussion among religion bloggers that will take their work further, while also inviting new voices from outside existing networks to join in and take part."
What is the significance of blogs like the Cafe? The report says:
In old-guard organizations like the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations, blogging has created space for discourse that leans against prevailing trends. At sites like Progressive Revival, Episcopal Cafe, and the Christian Century’s Theolog, mainliners maintain a rich public conversation about the present and future of their communities. They do so, meanwhile, often outside the auspices of traditional ecclesial bodies (whose populations are in a state of decline), possibly pointing toward a shift in the locus of intellectual leadership.
The Diocese of Bethlehem has two connections with The Episcopal Cafe. The first is that one of the people who cooked up the idea of an internet magazine for and about the Episcopal Church was Fr. Nick Knisely, who was rector of Trinity in Bethlehem and is now dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix. It was Nick who came to me and asked to me a contributor and part of the news team when my own blog is one of the "legion" of less influential religion blogs out there. Come to think of it, we should count a third connection: Jim Naughton, until recently the Canon for Communications in the Diocese of Washington and circus master and lion tamer of this diverse group grew up in Scranton.
Read the rest here.
--posted by Andrew Gerns