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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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The Christian BlogList – Some Reflections

Yesterday’s launch of the blogs4God web portal marks a new era in Christian blogging. It could have quite an impact on the entire blogging community. So as the person who launched the original Christian bloglist - way back in April this year – I feel it is an appropriate time to take a look at how the list got going. On Friday I’ll add my two cents worth on where Christian blogging might be heading.

I started my website hoping to attract readers with writings that presented a Christian perspective on life. I incorporated a blog, because as a long-time newspaper reporter I enjoy commenting on the news, and also because I wanted to bring in regular visitors while I built up my file of articles and commentaries.

When I started I didn’t know of many other Christian bloggers. I read Andrew Sullivan, along with Holy Weblog and Relapsed Catholic. That was about it.

But gradually I came to learn of more, and I realised that there wasn’t a lot of interaction between them. Many didn’t seem to be aware of the others. All sorts of good stuff was being written, but wasn’t getting read by many people.

I thought an article on my site about the phenomenon of Christian blogging might prove an consciousness-raising exercise (and of course, as a new blogger, I was also looking for ways to raise the profile of my site). So I sent out questionnaires to all the Christian bloggers I could find – a couple of dozen, I think – and then wrote an article, Blogging for the Lord, based on the replies. At the end of the article I added a list of the 12 Christian bloggers who had responded to my questionnaire.

I posted the article on my site at the end of April, and sent off an email about it to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit. Within about 10 minutes the following appeared:

HERE COME THE CHRISTIAN BLOGGERS. I think he's left out some, but I don't tend to sort people that way so I'll have to think a bit to see if I can remember who it is.

And a little later:

UPDATE: Well, there's Amy Welborn, for one.

I realised that Glenn had taken the list at the end of my article – of respondents to my questionnaire – as intended to be a complete list of all Christian bloggers. It was already after 11pm in the US, and Instapundit had shut down for the night, so it was too late to ask for a correction. I decided to compile a real list of Christian blogs, and over the next 12 hours (it was still daytime here in Melbourne) worked to track them down.

I found about 60, and the next day posted the names on my site, under the title “The Semi-Definitive List”, the implication of course being that while I felt I’d probably missed a few, this list was about as complete as was possible.

Glenn Reynolds linked to me again, and then the list was cited in an article by John Leo in US News and World Report. From that point, it took on something of a life of its own.

My next plan had been to write fairly comprehensive reviews of each of the blogs, turning the list into a kind of directory. This, I thought, would help Christians – and in particular Christian bloggers – know what was going on in their zone of the blogosphere. I imagined I could review all 60 blogs within a few weeks.

But suddenly I started getting emails – up to a dozen a week – notifying me of new blogs, or blogs I had missed. I abandoned the idea of a directory full of reviews, settling instead for a brief description of each blog. Even that took me several weeks of work, and was only completed thanks to a gracious offer of help from Jeffrey Collins.

The list quickly grew to 100 blogs, and then to 200, and was occupying hours of my time each week. When I got separate emails from Dean Peters in the US and Rachel Cunliffe in New Zealand, with ideas for turning the list into a major tool of Christian ministry, it seemed an excellent opportunity to step aside, to allow me to get on with what I really enjoy - writing.

Thus was born blogs4God, something unique, and something in which all Christians should take pride.

Will it achieve much? Some great stuff is being written by Christian bloggers, but how much is it being read? For example, last week I expressed my view that Amy Welborn’s In Between Naps is “the very model of a Christian blog” and that a particular posting on Mark Horne’s Presbytermark was “classic stuff that deserves far wider distribution than just his blog”. Yet how many of the millions of Christians – or non-Christians – who surf the net are even aware of these blogs, let alone reading them?

I think that’s why we need blogs4God.

July 30th, 2002

 

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