Friday, November 13, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Imagine Julie Andrews singing “My Favorite Things” in The Sound of Music for this blog post and you’ll have a modestly grand time.

If you’re a blogger or a website administrator, there’s about a 99% chance that you check your “stats.” Your stats can tell you a lot about who’s visiting your website, where they’re located, how long they stay and what they read -- even the screen resolution of their monitor. If you’re a business owner, your stats translate into dollars. Many a web guru has spent a sleepless night or more figuring out how they can drive their “stats” up. (A little like Ablaze! officials I guess.) Sophisticated web designers will go to great lengths to design everything on the page, including the wording, to drive up their “Google rank.”

On the other hand, I don’t look at my stats a whole lot. You won’t see me writing blog posts in a certain way just to attract more readers. One thing I do check on occasion though is the keywords people type into their web browser (i.e. Google) to arrive at this blog (and also at, which is a Lutheran apologetics website that I also have a hand in). It’s kinda fun to see some of the things people type in to get here. Today for instance, somebody in Korea ( typed in the word “schadenfreude” and ended up at Stand Firm, specifically at last Friday’s humorous post about Pastor Weedon, called “Was it Schandenfreude?" I’m still not sure how they got here. I looked through ten pages of schandenfreude on Google and couldn’t find the link for Stand Firm, but it’s gotta be there somewhere. Your “page rank,” where your website page is positioned in relation to all the other links that come up on the search engine page, changes from day to day, based on a very sophisticated (and secret) set of parameters that Google uses. They tweak their parameters often, which is one reason why the same page’s page rank can vary from day to day.

An easier to understand visitor to Stand Firm was the one who typed “the green bible criticism” into the search box on Google in the U.S. That brought up an article called "The Green Bible: Environmentalism Gone Awry" that I wrote a while back. It was the second link listed on the first page of Google’s results, so it’s not surprising that they would end up at Stand Firm.

The visitors that constitute “a few of my favorite things” are the ones who end up at an article that may give them a bit of a surprise when they get there. Imagine the consternation the person who’s trying to track down some information on their favorite “movement,” the Transforming Churches Network, gets when they type “transforming churches network” in, and they select the third Google link, which takes them to "The Transforming Churches Network: Part 1, A Non-Native Invasion."

The unsuspecting person who’s not paying attention when they type in “pli lcms” during their search for the official Pastoral Leadership Institute website and accidently selects the second Google link instead of the first one will end up with a real shock at “A Third Seminary in the LCMS?

When you type in "’emerging church’ lcms” the sixth Google link will take you to “LCMS Inc.: We R In Control,” which is actually an article on the BRTFSSG, and Google also lists a sub-article, "The Emerging Church, Part 2: A 'Chastened Hermeneutic'.” The hat tip for the first article listed on the Google results goes to my friend Ingrid Schlueter for her blog post at Slice of Laodicea called “LCMS Invites Emerging Church Guru Dan Kimball.”

But my most favorite thing happens when an unsuspecting Jehovah’s Witness types in “nearest kingdom hall memorial,” hoping to attend the memorial, which is their equivalent to Holy Communion (minus the Holy part). If they select the first Google link in the list, they end up at Sound Witness, faced with an apologetics article on the very same topic titled “Our Visit to the Kingdom Hall Memorial!” Written by my apologetics partner Greta Olsoe, the article lays out the works righteousness of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and how their “memorial” contradicts the Gospel. Hopefully they’ll read it, and other similar articles at Sound Witness, and be rescued from their Law-driven organization.

Of course, while I say these things somewhat jokingly, it’s no joke. All of the apologetics articles that are sighted above have something in common, even though their subject matter is different. They all discuss the same error, in which man relies on himself to get things done, instead of relying on his Savior, who’s already completed His task on the cross. He’s already gotten it done. Whether you’re trying to save yourself through your own efforts, or trying to save someone else through your own efforts, neither will work. It’s only through trust in Jesus Christ, in what He has done, and in what He continues to do through His Word, that people come to a knowledge of the truth.

So when I see someone reading one of these articles I know that they’re being led to the truth, and that really is one of my favorite things.


Kari said...

Great post, Scott! It's cool that people get to you when they're really looking for something else.

Raggedy Lamb said...

One of my "church fathers" would have said it's a way to get your foot in the door. Thanks for your encouraging post, Scott.