Man! 2016 was a year! Phew! But it’s done and we are looking to move forward, eh?
Raw, emotional, conflicted. These are the words I use to reflect on the year which has ended. And as one year fades and the optimism of another’s beginning rises here is some of my experience.
This is the second year I’ve taken stock of the year that was. Last year, I wrote Essential Reading 2015.
- I set a writing goal for myself, which was pretty hit-or-miss.
- And used 3 Words to guide my year (and again for 2017).
- I wrote a daily devotional through Lent, which was exhausting!
- And a daily series about Choices in October.
- I started writing occasionally for and cross-posting on Medium, which is a fascinating service.
- My daughter and I went to Wild Goose together and had an awesome time. Next time, it’ll be the whole family.
- I redesigned my website’s child theme through CSS.
- This year I really discovered how subversive Jesus’s birth story really is.
- I’m not as anti-institutional as I thought I was.
- This was the year I started to realize the crazy pattern of finally getting to know an organization after being there for two years. And that’s when the interesting stuff starts to come out.
- Balancing schedules is hard work and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. It requires a ton of trust that we can all get it worked out.
- After 8 years of ordained ministry, I’m now coming to see how much of the work of the priest is and needs to be about proclaiming the gospel. Often relegated or partitioned off as an aspect of ministry, according to the ordination service, it is the heart of the office.
- The practical implications of this discovery are serious and ongoing.
- Before adding them to my blog a couple years ago, I’ve really come to love the agony of writing poetry.
- I’m still struggling to figure out what to do with truth after a year in which truthiness jumped the shark.
- And after a divisive 2016, I’m working out what it means to be a peacemaker when the easier route to peace is oppression. How proclaiming the gospel of a liberating God comes into play in spite of a culture more desperate to end division than injustice. And God invites us to work on both simultaneously.
- I’ve abandoned my quixotic quest to convince the world the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) or its replacement (GOD) is better than calling the many-named deity simply God.
- Last year I realized I didn’t want to be a complainer, but a dreamer. I am now looking at how to balance the sharing of the glory of God with the naming of injustice in our culture. Often oversimplified as Prophetic vs. Pastoral, my hope is to instead, be the poet.
I ended 2015 with such hope for a new year of love and opportunity. But I don’t think the massive disappointments many of us feel at the end of 2016 or the fears we have for our culture, country, and all of creation prove that hope unfounded. Far to the contrary. Much as the new Star Wars came to us in a season of new hope last year, we might recognize that the need for such hope grows with every challenge and setback.
And the need to shine the light increases with the darkness. Even as the darkness views the covering of all light as a precondition for peace.
The Best Posts of 2016
Some of these are the top-performing posts of 2016, and some didn’t get much notice. But these are the posts of which I’m most proud.
- The Unbearable Lightness of Meing
- Why We Chose To Send Our Son to Kindergarten
- What a Young Pastor Hears When You Talk About Bivocational Ministry
- Mocking Jesus
- Not By Scripture Alone – A Faith Beyond Sola Scriptura
- Always Faster, Utter Failure, Rising Now
- The Second Most Important Reason to Stop Shaming Children
- Christianity is More Than Kindness
- How Come I Never Hear About Christian Hope?
- On History, Race, and Sitting Down For Equality
- Paul as an Ally – Why His Letter to the Romans is About More Than Sexuality
- Why That Thing You Tell Your Pastor On Sunday Morning Might Not Get Done
- Anti-Institutionalism Just Jumped the Shark
- When Are You Living For?
- Dealing with Truth (Why we need to have an adult conversation about truth)
- Can We Build a Wall? Refugees, Immigration, and Hospitality
- When Baptism Gets In the Way of Being a Good Christian
- Ascension: The Third Wheel of Faith
- White Supremacy – Proof Why Not All Beliefs Are Created Equal
- Telling Someone to Get a Real Job in the Gig Economy Doesn’t Help
The Best Series of 2016
This year I wrote two series of posts. In the spring, I wrote a daily Lenten devotional about faith and simplicity, following the daily office lectionary. Then in October, for the second year, I participated in the Write 31 Days project, writing daily for the whole month.
- A Simple Lent
- and several posts about the Anglican Communion:
The Best Poetry of 2016
This year I rediscovered my love of writing poetry.
- How to raise kids you can be truly proud of
- Insane Consequences
- A Country of Four-Year-Olds
- American Christian Porn Stars
- Love Songs Ain’t Cool
- All Life is Motion
I hope you have had an awesome year and I look forward to hearing about your hopes for 2017!