year number 3 of blogging is about to come to an end. it’s been an up and down year. there were times when i thought i finally hit my stride and there were other times i was ready to shut down the site and pretend it all never happened. but 107 posts later (in 2011), i’m still plugging away.
each year, i like to take a look back—more out of curiousity than anything—and see which posts were most read. it never fails that that list is comprised both of posts i could’ve predicted (news-worthy or “controversial” posts) and things i would’ve never guessed.
so, here’s the list of the 10 most read posts on my blog for 2011.
prior to the start of the 4th (and now completed, as of last night) season of breaking bad, writer and producer vince gilligan talked candidly about how this was the season that walter white would finally (and completely) turn the corner from a heroic father to a self-focused monster. this evolution has been relatively slow. in fact, i spent the majority of this season believing that gilligan overstated their intentions for this character. walt had his moments of monstrous power, but had just as many weak moments spent living in fear and paranoia.
in a nutshell, our favorite protector of truth and all around swell guy, pastor mark, informs his congregation, his legions of devoted followers and the rest of the world (thanks to something we call the interwebs) that all this “god is love” talk is a bunch of hooey. yes, i (and, apparently he) realizes that 1 john 4:8 literally says that, but it obviously can’t be trusted because it sounds like that hippy, limp-wristed jesus that you keep hearing about.
i assume that if you don’t love a good cover, then you must hate america. they’re great. while there’s a whole lot of bad covers, there’s always a good list (my initial list before narrowing them down was about 48 songs) of great cover songs each year. from youtube sensations to old country singers trying something new, here’s my list of 2011′s best cover songs:
i pastor a church primarily comprised of 20- and 30-somethings. amongst that group, a relatively large percentage have come back to the church after a period of time away. generally speaking, like many, at some time after high school, they drifted away (or just made a decision to leave) and had a difficult time reconnecting. hearing their stories of why they left and why they’ve returned is always fascinating to me.
so it was on last night’s midseason finale of amc’s the walking dead. in a nutshell, for those who have never watched it, the show is about a group of people trying to save themselves in a world that has been overtaken with zombies (a.k.a. walkers). generally, i dislike the entire zombie genre, but this show is much more about the interpersonal dynamics of the group. which brings me to last night’s deeply theological episode.
5. the sacred/secular blur: how reading the bible or shane claiborne might be funding rupert murdoch’s empire
quite a few years ago, i attended a seminar led by tony jones in which he discussed the blurred lines between what we label as sacred and secular. at that point in my faith journey, i had a particularly difficult time buying in to his fundamental thesis. my way of thinking about and engaging god was far too dichotomous. either/or was much more appealing than both/and. even more than that, i feared a worldview where decision-making couldn’t necessarily be eased by the label “christian”.
so, um, yeah. the whole rob bell thing.
you know the whole rob bell thing, right? i’m way too over it to type out a lengthy explanation, so if you don’t know about it, you can read a relatively brief overview here. over the last couple weeks, i’ve literally written two separate blog posts about it that i ultimately decided not to publish because i was sorta sick and tired of the whole thing (the first one was a doozy, titled when calvinists attack: the social media crucifixion of rob bell…yeah, that would’ve been fun…).
Then and odd thought occurred to me: What if the Amish were in charge of the war on terror? What it, on the evening of September 12, 2001, we had gone to Osama bin Laden’s house (metaphorically, of course, since we didn’t know where he lived!) and offered him forgiveness? What if we had invited the families of the hijackers to the funerals of the victims of 9/11? What if a portion of the September 11th Fun had been dedicated to relieving poverty in a Muslim country? What if we dignified the burial of their dead by our respectful grief? What if, instead of seeking vengeance, we had stood together in human pain, looking honestly at the shared sin and sadness we suffered? What if we had tried to make peace? So, here’s my modest proposal. We’re five years too late for an Amish response to 9/11. But maybe we should ask them to take over the Department of Homeland Security. After all, actively practicing forgiveness and making peace are the only real alternatives to perpetual fear and a multi-generational global religious war. I can’t imagine any other path to true security. And nobody else can figure out what to do to end this insane war. Why not try the Christian practice of forgiveness? If it worked in Lancaster, maybe it will work in Baghdad, too.
i’ve never had an addiction. well, at least the kind that necessitates an ‘anonymous’ group. you know, the kind where you get up and say, ‘hi, my name is ryan and i bite the heads off of my little ponies or i’m an alcoholic or i like to lick concrete.’ never been to one of those.
but it might be good to reveal, publicly, to readers of this blog one of my lifelong dark not-so-secrets.
i’m a crier.
i don’t know who this woman is and i suspect there’s more to the story, but i’m going to do some more investigating. i honestly want to personally thank this woman. my friends might just squander away this opportunity or do the wrong thing. that is entirely possible.
she might be their jesus, who has created a turning point in their life. maybe this is what they needed to get their feet back underneath them. maybe it’s the thing that is their salvation.
alright, there you have it. these were the most read blog posts of 2011.
were there posts not on this list that stood out to you?
and while we’re talking about the blog, i’m always eager to receive feedback on what people would like to read or what you would not like to read. so, suggestions? complaints? i’d love the feedback.