The most popular subscriber-only articles of the year

December 28, 2011

Having a subscriber-only paywall in front of most of our magazine content allows us to put the whole issue online and sell online-only subscriptions. Among other advantages, online-only subscriptions are cheaper--especially for folks who don't live in the States and would have to pay extra postage for print-magazine delivery.

This arrangement does, however, mean the articles behind the paywall generally get less traffic than the free ones. With this in mind, here's a separate top-ten list of just the paid content--i.e., the most popular articles of the year that were read online only by Century subscribers. Thanks, all of you, for supporting us. (If you don't subscribe, please consider it.)

Here's the list:

  1. "Sacramental sex: Divine love and human intimacy," by Elizabeth Myer Boulton and Matthew Myer Boulton: "What if everything we taught our kids about sex were grounded in a vision of God’s love in everyday life?"
  2. "Missing the signs: The church and Gen Y," by Bradley N. Hill: "Most churches have the equivalent of Eat at Joe's signs, advertising
    religious services so that people will stop, come in and taste what is
    good. The signs are imperative; they command us to eat here and not
  3. "Betting on a generous God," by Peter W. Marty: "Rob Bell fights every impulse in our culture to domesticate Jesus, reminding
    readers that Christians do not believe in Christianity; they believe in
    the Christ who wants to "draw all people" to himself."
  4. "The bishop's dashboard: William Willimon's experiment in accountability," by Jason Byassee: "With William Willimon set to retire as bishop of the North Alabama Conference in
    2012, it is appropriate to consider how the Willimon experiment in the
    episcopacy has turned out. It has not been business
    as usual."
  5. "No common good? Moral community," by Gary Dorrien: "The common good is taking a beating. Economic inequality has accelerated
    dramatically since the early 1980s, and many think nothing can be done
    about it. But that verdict is a nonstarter for Christian morality."
  6. "Double belonging: One person, two faiths," by Amy Frykholm: "Americans have become accustomed to picking and choosing among religious
    traditions and practices. But some have taken religious pluralism in a
    deeper and more radical direction."
  7. "A friend in Jesus? Faith is not a personal relationship," by John Suk: "On a journey through North America, my wife and I
    attended many churches. At one the pastor insisted repeatedly that "the meaning and purpose of life is to have a
    personal relationship with Jesus." The claim irked me."
  8. "The case against Wall Street: Why the protesters are angry," by Gary Dorrien: "The protesters sleeping in the cold do not claim that 99 percent of
    Americans agree with them. Their point is that the top 1 percent plays
    by different rules."
  9. "Grief without stages," by Thomas G. Long: "The notion that grief moves through some kind of process toward
    resolution owes more of a debt to American optimism than to Christian
  10. "Allah and the Trinity: A Christian response to Muslims," by Miroslav Volf: "The oneness of God is the principle at the very heart of Islam. This is
    the central issue for Muslims disputing Christian claims about God."


Behind paywall article count excluded complete issue downloads

Are you also keeping track of complete issue downloads? What about
multiple downloads from the same account?  I've sometimes downloaded to one or more different PCs and 3-4 different iPad apps.  The
multiple iPad downloads (to the same device) reflect my frustration with the current limitations of
most apps; multiple PC downloads are sometimes related to printer accessibility for a PDF of a particular article.

I download each PDF issue to an iPad and typically do most of my reading off-line in that format before the paper issue arrives.  Once the paper copy is delivered, I've usually found it desirable to go back and review it to be sure I haven't actually missed important information because of limitations in the tablet app I've used for reading.

So far, the newly released Kindle app's PDF feature seems to be the best of the four or five apps I've tried, and reading the most recent download last night was distinctly more pleasurable than previous ones.  I suspect that using the Kindle app may soon replace my frequent need to refer back to the paper copy upon its arrival.  May competitive apps soon prove equally effective!


Hi anon: We definitely track

Hi anon: We definitely track the PDF downloads, but they aren't included here both because it's apples and oranges and because the numbers are lower. Thanks for subscribing and reading, and for sharing this information--it's an ongoing discussion as to how best to serve folks who use tablets etc.