Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Pretty Good Run

Well, Pretty Good Lutherans is officially gone. Susan Hogan launched it a year ago, promising "ELCA news in real time," but delivering, in the end, considerably more.

The site did share news about the ELCA and some of its ecumenical partners, and these items were often the sort of thing you might not find somewhere else -- news about somebody else's synod, including not only press items but the occasional tidbit gleaned from a synod council report. It quickly became an indispensable source of information.

But there was more to it than just news. Susan would ask readers for opinions, and get them -- often in large numbers, in the comments section. Then she would poke and prod a bit, asking people to clarify half-formed ideas and sometimes coming right out and criticizing the the ones that really bugged her. (Our favorite response to a comment: "Thanks, Mr. Sensitivity.")

On the sidebar was a list of recently updated blogs by Lutheran bloggers, many of them friends of the Egg. That right-side panel became a reader's guide to what like-minded Lutherans were up to.

And yes, we do mean "like-minded." Did PGL offer pure unsullied "objective" journalism? Not at all. Susan has some pretty strong convictions, and she didn't mind promoting them. (As we often say to ourselves in Egg staff meetings, "It's not the New York Times, dammit. It's my freakin' blog.") They aren't always convictions that we share, by the way, but that's the whole point. A demand for total agreement is the telltale sign of sectarian thinking, and neither her blog nor ours -- nor the ELCA -- makes such a demand.

In its one brief year, Pretty Good Lutherans made a big impression. It was a great model for building community. It was apparently not a good model, or even a workable one, for earning a living. So Susan has moved on to "new projects," about which we will be happy to hear when she announces them. And the Lutheran world is left with a little hole, which we hope will be filled in time.

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