Zen, yoga, Quakers, Obama
Politics, entertainment, inspiration, holism: Beliefnet’s Blogs Page has about as much variety as you could want. But some of the selections are bound to raise an eyebrow.
There are obvious choices: columns on Zen, Judaism, paganism and evangelical Christianity. Some are “probablies,” like a conservative Catholic and a progressive opponent. Some are “maybes,” like astrology and yoga as psychotherapy. And some — like finance, nutrition and weight loss — are definite “huhs?”
Still, there are some good decisions, and some surprises.
A good decision: a political forum pitting conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow against liberal lawyer Barry Lynn. Their fencing, especially about Obama and the “culture war,” is spirited but reasonably respectful. And fun to read.
A surprise: a column on self-esteem. On its face, it sounds like the shallowest kind of spiritual fluff. Yet into a recent column, writer Victoria Morgan managed to interweave Hindu and Quaker concepts, plus a quotation by Jesus.
Also intriguing is The New Christians, logging the emergent church movement. Blogger Tony Jones writes simply and engages people who differ from his beliefs — like New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, who just published a book on contradictions in the Bible.
One problem is how Beliefnet organizes the blogs. Grouping them under five main titles is a good idea. But is “Faith” really that different from “Hope & Inspiration”? Someone should rethink this.
And once you’ve picked a blog, only the most recent post is visible, along with reader comments. If you want more, you’ll have to click the archives. Not a massive issue, maybe, but it can be annoying if you want to follow several blogs. Maybe Beliefnet could give its members an onsite bookmarking page, kind of like delicious.com.