Monday, June 11, 2007,8:34 PM
Diversity, Variety, and Vision
While driving around in my car today, I was listening to the radio. I generally have it tuned to the Chicago station The Mix. Up until recently it hasn't been much of a mix station, just a "today's hit music" thing. I had to tune to one of Chicago's many "we play anything" stations created in the last year or so for a better mix. But I noticed today as I heard a Carrie Underwood country song being played that the variety has increased. Not that there is a huge variety of indie or say folk music being played, but the stringent genres are beginning to blur. Generally I like this, I enjoy the variety (not that there is ever any excuse to have to listen to Justin Timberlake, but that's a different issue entirely). I personally like variety on the radio and in the blog world and at church. But this contradicts what the "experts" tell me I should like.

Read any expect advice on how to have a good radio station, or blog, or church and you will hear the same thing - pick a target audience and stick to that audience. I read that if I want my blog to be read I need to only talk about one thing - politics or theology or social justice or entertainment or family. Apparently people only want to read a blog for one thing and one thing only. Same thing with church. I've read advice that tells churches never to have blended services. The advice reasons that since no one ever listens to both rock and country music or both classical and pop, they won't attend a church that forces them to worship two different ways (as if there are only two ways...). It's all about marketing and dividing ourselves into smaller and smaller interest groups.

But I personally think that advice has serious issues. Perhaps there are people who are so immature that they can't listen to a variety of music or put up with a personal post on a blog that usually deals with technology or cope if their church uses organs (or guitars or lectio divina or whatever). Is the point really to cater to the myopic and the immature? Our culture is moving towards greater diversity in areas such as these. The radio stations play a greater variety, multicultural expressions in cuisine, decor, clothing and philosophy are mainstream, and the lines between politics, religion, and family are obviously beginning to blur. Why be controlled by the opinions of those who can't get over themselves? I am more interested in staying true to a vision and reaching a more open-minded group of people than I am in compromise for the sake of marketing.

Perhaps this is all excuses - why I like the radio stations I do, why I blog like I do, why we do church like we do - despite what the "experts" say. And perhaps the attempts to appreciate diversity and live holistically won't work or succeed (as the general definitions of such things go), but at least we can say that the vision wasn't sold out to marketing strategy. But I don't think its just me either.

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posted by Julie at 8:34 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 6/12/2007 05:19:00 AM, Anonymous sonja

    Huh? ... perhaps we're both weird then. I like reading blogs so I can get to know the whole person. I get bored on blogs that are about only one thing. The same with radio stations (in fact I don't listen to them anymore ... unless it's a local NPR station). I'd get bored with the same thing over and over again.

    I like reading your mish-mash of everything. It's interesting and lets me know that you are a three dimensional person.

  • At 6/12/2007 10:42:00 AM, Blogger Pink Shoes

    I like reading a variety of pieces from the same person -- and if I click on your blog and find that for whatever reason I don't want to read about church or child or eco-friendliness or whatever on a given day, I don't have to -- but it's a delight to see what has piqued your interest enough to warrant a post on any given day.

  • At 6/12/2007 02:42:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    When I was in elementary school and junior high, it seemed like everyone listened to the same type of music--the top 40/rock/pop that is now classified as "80's music." My friend who teaches high school remarks how today's young people listen to a large variety of music--it makes hard to determine what is popular. I noticed this trend starting when I was in high school when more people started listening to country, classic rock, jazz, new age etc. I think our culture has become more diverse in some ways.

    When we lived in Gary, I also listened to the Mix, but got tired of a lot of the same songs. Now when I'm at the computer or studying I listen to Sky Radio on's out of the Netherlands. They play 80's, light rock, some rock, and some cool European music you won't find on our mainstream stations.

  • At 6/12/2007 09:27:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I don't read every post on the blogs I follow, but I like getting the picture of the whole person. I like seeing the "human" side of people - especially the very cerebral bloggers (like when Scot McKnight talks about American Idol...)