We’re not exactly taking over the world, but The Alternative Mainstream is emerging from its dingy cyberspace cranny. Just the facts: We chalked up 3,126 visits all last year; 3,354 visitors have filed through in 2011. Only a measly average of four people per day deigned to visit last May; that figure stands at 59 even as we speak. We were ever-so-proud when we were hit 577 times in September, which was 2010’s high. That’s so last year. The hit total was 1,052 in March and 1,069 in April. We’re now at 618 so far this month, with 215 jamming the lines on May 3.
Why the surge? Part of it’s just plain marketing. We spray blog entries all over Facebook and Twitter (378 followers as of today: http://www.twitter.com/credfernjr. ) and we’ve signed on with Bloggup!, Stumbleupon, Digg, and Networkedblogs (31 followers). We’re listed on Baptist Blogs, SeededBuzz, and The Blog Farm, and we annoy Huffington Post columnists with our opinions. We’ve also established our own Facebook page (go here and “like” it – even if you’re not that fond of us).
Feedback, however, suggests marketing is only one piece of the puzzle. Many evangelical Christians are convinced that bullies muscled in, stole their movement, pasted a political label on it, and hide behind it to decry “evil liberals.” Jesus did not confine himself to only two issues (homosexuality and abortion) and the Bible endorses neither American political platform. We want Christ, not civil religion. We also counsel so-called “progressive evangelicals” to remain biblical on all fronts and to resist the temptation to lift their noses to the sky.
An unforeseen outcome prompting deep joy: Non-churchgoers and the non-religious relish these columns. Maybe it’s the sassy writing, or maybe it’s their gut feeling that there’s more to Christ than slamming fists and tunnel vision.
As for the future, “we” hope that we’ll eventually honestly speak of “we.” This blog began as the peculiar vents of Chuck Redfern (that would be me – and I can’t believe I just referred to myself in the third person). There are still relics from those days – such as the personal url, http://charlesredfern.com – but I’m hoping for other snappy Christian writers to join fray. We’ll march into a glorious future in which the “we” is descriptive, not presumptuous.
Meanwhile, we’re seeking new ways to spread word of the convergence (biblical reflection, spirit-filled living, and community action). We’ve got a new, more professional magazine design with links to our Twitter and Facebook pages, and we hope to launch YouTube and Flickr sites. It’s all a means to implement the advice of Frederick Douglas: “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”
Agitate with love. Agitate with glee. Agitate with howls of laughter.