Blog Day 2008–Reading, Learning, Hoping, Blogging, Being

Blog Day 2008

Blog Day is a linkfest initiated by Nir Ofir in 2005, in the belief that bloggers should have one day which will be dedicated to discover new blogs and expose them to the world. We all have a small number of people and sources of information with which we interact of a regular basis, and that social and informational context is part of what shapes who we are in the world. Blog Day is a chance to expand those social and informational horizons by forging new links into new networks, bridging the divides between people and communities and enlarging our own experience.

The basic rules for Blog Day ask bloggers to post about five blogs that they would like to share with the world. I’ve decided to do a little more, and give you links in five categories:

Reading Books #

Read All About It!
When my brother worked a brief stint in a large chain bookstore, he was discouraged by the treatment of readers as mere retail consumers, and the attitude that a bookstore was primarily a corporate production supply chain, without any relation to the meaning of what was sold. Open Books, in Chicago, Illinois, is about as far from that vision as you can get. It is a networked, community-based movement of readers:

Open Books is a nonprofit bookstore, literacy community center, and volunteer corps dedicated to raising awareness about illiteracy, improving reading skills, and spreading the love of books in Chicago and beyond. This blog is where we track our adventures in building it. 

This is the future of bookstores.

Hearts and Minds Booknotes
Independent bookseller Byron Borger is a national treasure. When people ask him if his central Pennsylvania shop is a “Christian bookstore,” he is honestly at a loss for what to say. Hearts & Minds is

a bookstore which attempts to create a new space for serious, reflective readers. Unabashedly Christian, we are often told that we are different than most religious bookstores. Our name, we trust, gives a good first clue to what we are about….We offer quality books for the sake of faithful Christian living. We serve business folk, scientists, artists, college students, moms, dads (and kids!), pastors, poets and politicos. We believe Biblical faith leads to “thinking Christianly” about every area of life.

Don’t miss his in depth reviews or his recommendations of books by vocation (including politics, education, environmental science, racial reconciliation, mathematics, and much more); and you will want to keep his blog in your feeds, so you can take advantage of his special book offers just for blog readers!

Fresh Read
Devoted to “listening to the biblical text,” the author of Fresh Read brings both passion and sophistication to his readings of the Word, along with an easygoing voice. Don’t miss his commentary on the Biblical Mad Lib of Psalm 5:3, or the reading of Psalm 11 where he goes beyond Dana’s tagline (verse 3), and connects the Psalm to Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming.”

Studying Learning #

Homeschool Research Notes
Messiah College professor Milton Gaither, author of Homeschool: An American History, reviews research on education and homeschooling, giving us a sorely needed link between the world of scholarly research and the ordinary families who are part of this vast exploration of the nature of learning.

Shanta Rohse
Learning and information designer Shanta Rohse’s amazing collection of notes and articles stands out for it’s exceptional depth of insight into the nature of self-directed learning in a networked society. She hasn’t posted a link yet that I have not found to be fascinating and profound. What’s more, there is theory and method to her links (despite her disclaimer)–pay attention long enough, and you understanding of what it means to be a learner may just be transformed. Don’t miss the Linking Thinking category!

(And a hat tip to Luke at Sonlight & Homeschooling, for alerting me to Blog Day!)

Engaging with Civic Life, and Keeping it Real #

Redeeming Hope
Richard Harwood, author of Hope Unraveled: The People’s Retreat and Our Way Back and Make Hope Real, blogs about what it would take to live up to the aspirations we have for our civil society, and how we can get there in the real world. Don’t miss his advice to Barack Obama.

Fact Check.org
This media literacy site by the authors of Unspun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation is

a nonpartisan, nonprofit, ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

They keep up with the statements as they are made in the media, debunking and adding context as necessary, as in this analysis of misleading and exaggerated claims made by both candidates at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddelback Church, or in their weekly Just the Facts vid-cast. What’s more, you can learn to see through the spin yourself, using the resources for high school students and teachers at FactCheckEd.org! An essential site this election year.

Rebuilding the Blog #

ThemeShaper
Justin Tadlock

Blogging has only been around for a little more than ten years. (There is a timeline posted at NPR as part of their brilliant series on The Evolution of the Blog.) The technology we use to share our words with one another is constantly redesigned and rebuilt, like Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man (stay with me here…) — better, stronger, faster — by people like Ian Stewart (ThemeShaper), author of the ThematicTheme Framework, and Justin Tadlock, host of ThemeHybrid.com.

Being Human #

Boyd’s Nest News
Ramona Mae

We have group of real-world friends in the blogosphere. Once, we all lived in the same city, but now we are spread around the country. We still keep in touch, and watch each other’s kids grow, via our blogs (and other social media). Ten years ago, this would not have been easy. When one of these families found out that their two month old daughter Ramona Mae had a surgery-requiring heart defect (which later turned out to be the result of a chromosomal abnormality called 22q11 Deletion Syndrome or DiGeorge Syndrome), Jon Boyd set up a blog for them. Via the web, their friends and family stayed with them moment by moment throughout the surgery and beyond. Ramona’s mother, Jane, shared with us their struggles, fears, exultation, grief, brokenness and craziness. Two weeks after the initial surgery, Jane published a post titled Calling All Lurkers:

We’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the support, prayers and wisdom in our community. And I’ve been surprised by the number of people whose hearts have been captured by Ramona’s struggle to survive. It seems like every time I turn around someone says “Oh yeah, my college roommate’s cousin’s hairdresser was reading Mona’s blog and…” Which leads me to believe there must be more of you praying for, thinking about and checking on Ramona’s progress than even your almost 500 comments indicate. So, satisfy our curiosity, if you’re out there lurking, just post a brief comment saying who and maybe where you are. Regular posters feel free to join in, it’s an all-skate. 

Her readers, some of whom she had never met, posted 103 comments. Ten years ago, that would not have been possible.

One of the early posts, an update from the hospital titled “Incision-closure success,” says that “Jane remarked on the way that Ramona is making herself a life story right now–she is showing us who she is and what she can do.” And that is what these blogs let us do for one another: show the world who we are and what we can do, and build our life stories together.

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