Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Reflections on "Reflections"

Reflections on the Sea of Galilee, 1981.

On this sixth anniversary of Progressive Christian Reflections, as we begin our seventh year together, I take this time to reflect on its possible meanings for me and for its readers, as well as offer specifics about its outreach.

In the vast universe of the internet, its numbers are tiny, even inconsequential, though growing. Three-hundred and fourteen weekly meditations are available at any time to any one on the globe with an internet connection.

Visitors come primarily from the United States, but substantial numbers regularly come from Russia, France, The Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, China, Ukraine, Poland, India, Malaysia, Australia, Greece, South Africa, Brazil, Barbados, and more. Total number of visitors to date, not including subscribers: 227,000.

Progressive Christian Reflections was recognized by Feedspot in 2016 as one of 100 top Christian blogs in terms of quality and searches. It is listed as a “recommended” blog on other blogs and websites, and its posts routinely appear on ProgressiveChristianity.org.

My copyright line makes it clear that I welcome use of my posts free of cost for non-profit purposes, as readings, in newsletters, on blogs, only asking for attribution of author and blogsite. Visits and subscriptions are free, and the blog is not “monetized” so there are no distracting ads. Book links are sometimes provided for convenience; I receive no compensation for these.

Subscribers have hovered around 600 for several years. Monthly visitors have grown from a base of 3000+, to 5000+ last June, 8000+ in December, 12,000+ last month, and 13,000+ this month!

The three most visited posts for 2016 are:

Don’t You Want Me? with 15,818 visits*;
Henri’s Wound with a View, with 2,448  visits;
R.I.P: Ormewood Park Presbyterian, with 2,094 visits.

Few comments are made on the blog, perhaps because the process seems to require a Google account, though one may choose “anonymous” and add one’s name to the comment itself, or not. Many more comments come to me directly, and I have enjoyed hearing about readers’ circumstances and having some ongoing conversations.

Occasionally I use personal photos from my life or my travels.

Donations—the blog’s only source of income—for 2016 totaled $2500, with several giving monthly. I write thank you notes for each donation, so if you have contributed and not heard from me, your gift has found another route into MCC, a good cause in any case! I am grateful to MCC for recognizing Progressive Christian Reflections as one of its Emerging Ministries since 2012, permitting tax-deductible donations.

Subscriptions are handled by Feedburner, which does not notify me when someone subscribes but does notify me when someone unsubscribes, which always gives me a small “ouch.” In the first years I would inquire why or ask for ways of improving the blog. Usually the reply was positive. Lest it seem as if I were “guilting” those who unsubscribed, I stopped asking.

As is true of most ministries, my blog ministry means more to me than it probably does to readers! It gives me a voice, an opportunity to encourage, inspire, inform, and influence the church. And of keen interest to me is to support and enhance the spirituality of progressive Christians and all who consider themselves spiritual, Christian or not.

I can only speculate upon this blog’s meaning for readers, though I’ve received encouraging feedback that progressive Christians “take heart” from my posts, even if  and especially if they are the only progressive voice in their congregations. And for those unable to attend services, they serve as a link to the Christian community.

While still in college, I visited a Baptist church whose young, progressive minister described what I too experience. He said his work was to do the reading and reflection not everyone in the congregation had the time or opportunity to do, as well as reflect upon and support the congregation’s spiritual growth, offering that on Sunday mornings.

I like that description of a preacher, and I think of all those ministers, imams, rabbis, priests, and spiritual leaders (including lay leaders) who give of themselves on a weekly basis to help shape the spiritual future in that way.

One Teilhard de Chardin translator, Norman Denny, has written that Teilhard distinguished between “reflection” (“the power of conscious thought which distinguishes human beings from all other living creatures—the animal that not only knows but knows that it knows”) and “reflexion” (in which humanity “coils inward upon itself and thus generates new spiritual energies and a new form of growth” or spiritual evolution).

I am grateful to you readers, subscribers, and contributors for giving me this opportunity to join the countless numbers in pulpits, pews, and elsewhere contributing to that evolving spiritual future.


*I have no idea why this particular post has been visited so many times. If you do, please let me know!

Be sure to scroll down to the donate link below its description. Or mail to MCC, P.O. Box 50488, Sarasota FL 34232 USA, designating “Progressive Christian Reflections” in the memo area of your check or money order. Thank you!

Copyright © 2017 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved.  

2 comments:

  1. Chris, I know exactly why your blog "Don't You Want Me?" received so many hits. It has everything - the picture of Hobbes, the reference to AIDS, and the struggle of the whole LGBT Christian movement. Interestingly enough, I didn't see it the first time around, because it was posted while I was traveling back to Atlanta to visit family, and didn't have access to my computer. I just read it, and I agree - it deserved to go viral!

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    1. Thanks, Trudie! Always great to hear from you!

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