Although there’s much we can decry about the devolution of online debate—a sewer of slander flowing from constant outrage on many social-media platforms—there is one development in recent years that gives me hope: the resurrection of the email newsletter.
Subscribing to a newsletter helps me silence the never-ending noise of online chatter by receiving in my inbox one trusted voice at a time. I don’t subscribe to many email newsletters—only a handful of people who make me think and whose wisdom I want “in my ear” regularly, or trustworthy platforms (The Dispatch, The Gospel Coalition, etc.) that point me to reporting, articles, and book reviews I might miss otherwise.
The email newsletter reminds me of the personal connection I felt reading and writing online 15 years ago, when I first started my blog Kingdom People. It was an era in which people with similar interests found each other’s blogs and made new friends and discovered conversation partners.
Over time, as Facebook began to emphasize articles in the newsfeed over updates from friends, and as Twitter became a force in the political world, the blogosphere was pushed from the center of online connection, and many writers looked for neighborhoods to join. In the Christian space, bloggers took up residence on bigger sites like Beliefnet, Patheos, Christianity Today, or in my case, The Gospel Coalition.
I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute columns here at TGC. Making this home base for my online writing has connected me with like-minded believers across the country and around the world who are committed to the gospel, motivated by love for the church, and driven by the desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled.
It’s been nearly ten years since I began writing at TGC, and online engagement has changed in many ways. Major social-media platforms have adjusted their algorithms again and again. Search-engine traffic once dominated, only to lose out for a time to social-media sharing, before roaring back to first importance. Blog comments became more and more irrelevant, as feedback moved to comment streams on Facebook and Twitter.
Through all of this, I’ve kept on writing. Since starting Kingdom People in 2006, I’ve published online, on average, 93,000 words a year—a number that not only makes me feel a little tired, but also brings to mind Proverbs 10:19 (“Where there are many words, sin is unavoidable”).
When I first started blogging, I often tackled timely and controversial subjects, and some of my “hot takes” caught fire on social media and racked up page views. But a few years after writing at TGC, I chose to move away from quick commentary on current events and to focus on building a body of work that, over time, would serve readers well who stumble across older posts. I’m always encouraged when people tell me they just came across something helpful I wrote years ago. That’s my goal: to speak to timely issues in ways that remain relevant beyond the news headline of the moment.
Still, I miss the eclectic feel of those early years of blogging, in which a day’s post might be a prayer from a church father, a humorous clip from a classic TV show, a book review, or a theological treatise. I miss the personal interaction with readers.
So, this summer, during a longer than normal break from online writing, I decided to launch an email newsletter, free for subscribers who would like to engage with my writing at a more personal level.
My hope is to send email to subscribers twice a week, so that both the columns I write weekly for TGC will land in your inbox. I will no longer post Friday’s “Trevin’s Seven” online but will make that link list available to subscribers only. I also plan to offer quick takes on books I’m reading, different articles from the archives, and maybe even a Classic TV clip every now and then (one of my favorite hobbies).
Here’s where you can sign up. If you don’t want another email in your inbox, I hope my twice-a-week columns at TGC will continue to serve you well. Here’s to the next phase of online writing!