Who are they?
What are they?
In The New Superheroes of the Web, Steven Rosenbaum calls them the “web’s secret power…individuals with a passion for a content area [who] find, contextualize, and organize information. Curators provide a consistent update regarding what’s interesting, happening, and cool in their focus. Curators tend to have a unique and consistent point of view–providing a reliable context for the content that they discover and organize.”
And in our information-flooded world, do our boggled minds need these superheroes! Into the data-Tsunami step these superheroes, shielding us from the overwhelming waves, listening to the digital noise, identifying precious nuggets, important news, and fresh voices, then organizing it for us, their grateful readers.
Thankfully there are a number of Christians among these superheroes. And if you want to keep your head above the water, you desperately need them. Here are the ones I depend upon, split into two categories – Blog curators and Twitter curators.
Tim Challies: The most consistent Christian curator out there. Via his A la carte posts, Tim provides 5-6 links, six days a week, with a wide mix of theology, culture, technology, books, controversy, photography, etc. If you have to choose one, he’s the one.
Justin Taylor: Posts excerpts and links 3-20 times a day! Bit more highbrow/academic emphasis than Tim, with interest in philosophy, culture, and biblical theology. Leans slightly Baptist, New Calvinist, Crossway-authors in his choices – which is understandable. If you’re trying to keep in touch with theological and cultural trends, Justin is your man.
The Gospel Coalition: On the top right corner of their web page, you’ll find the “Right Now” section, which daily refreshes with new links to theological and cultural pieces. At times tends towards New Calvinist/Crossway in their picks, with the same names tending to appear as on Justin Taylor’s site.
Trevin Wax: Like Tim Challies, Trevin is a great writer of original content. But most days he also highlights links in his “Worth a Look” or “Trevin’s Seven” posts. He’s a Southern Baptist, which obviously influences his choices, but he also has a knack of picking up fascinating content in politics, sport, culture, etc.
Bob Kellemen: Either at his own blog or at the Biblical Counseling Coalition, you can pick up Bob’s “Five to live by.” Only once a week (usually Thursday or Friday), but I usually click on all five of these carefully selected counseling and Christian living posts.
Blogging Theologically: Aaron Armstrong selects 3-5 posts most days in his “Likes I like.” Operates in the same general territory as Tim Challies, with special interests in Christian books. His book reviews are also always worth reading.
Everyday Theology: Marc Cortez, a Professor at Western Seminary, will connect you with both serious and humorous content, but I especially value his links to helpful education content for teachers/professors, etc. He’s a sort of mixture of Tim Challies and Justin Taylor.
UPDATE: Here’s one I forgot but I’d also definitely recommend for Seminary students and pastors. Bible Exposition links to lots of helpful resources for exegesis and hermeneutics.
Michael Hyatt: Carefully selected links to articles on leadership, writing, and publishing.
Nathan Bingham: Cutting edge blogger and Tweeter who’ll keep you right up-to-date with the latest in technology and design, as well as links to the best Christian content that most other people have missed.
Matt Perman: Wasn’t sure whether to include Matt in Bloggers or Tweeters, but I think he posts most links on Twitter. If you follow him, you’ll get lots of great quotes on work, vocation, productivity, but you’ll also get links to Christian and non-Christian posts on the same subjects. Matt fills a large hole that few Christians are doing much blogging/tweeting in. His blog (and soon-to-be book) is called What’s Best Next.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey: At last, a woman! Sarah is online editor of Christianity Today as well as a contributor to Get Religion (a superb blog that analyzes how religion, especially Christianity, is reported in the media). If you follow Sarah, you’ll get connected to current news in the evangelical world.
Anthony Bradley: Sparky Tweeter with much-needed perspective on African American issues. It would take me days to find the links that he regularly Tweets.
So, do you want to be a superhero? Well, don’t try to copy what someone else is already doing well. Find an area, a niche, that’s presently not being covered. There are five vacancies that come to my mind (feel free to suggest some more):
- I think there’s room for a female Tim Challies or Justin Taylor. If you’re out there, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.
- Old Testament: OK, that’s totally selfish on my part, but I’d love for someone else to do some of the heavy lifting here.
- What about Practical Theology. A lot of blogs are heavy on theology but quite a bit lighter on Christian living.
- And where are the Presbyterians and the Historic Reformed curators? Got nothing to offer the New Calvnists? Gentle Reformation has maybe a once-a-week digest of links, but we’re looking for more, lads (and ladies).
- African American/Hispanic issues. I’d love if there was one site that I could go to every day and read 3-4 articles on the kinds of issues affecting these communities. It would be a huge service to the church if this was also combined with Christian commentary/analysis.
Are you ready to step up, then? If so, let me close with a caution from Steven Rosenbaum’s post on Superhero Curators:
It’s real work, and requires a tireless commitment to being engaged and ready to rebroadcast timely material. While there may be an economic benefit for being a “thought leader” and “trusted curator,” it’s not going to happen overnight. Which is to say, being a superhero is often a thankless job.