Raw, emotional, conflicted. These are the words I used last year to describe 2016, but they bear repeating for this year. But, as one year fades and the optimism of another’s beginning rises here is some of my experience of the past year.
- I adjusted my writing goal from daily posting to 3 times a week.
- My 3 Words goals continued for 2016 and 2017.
- My daily series, 31 Theses in October was my most rewarding yet.
- I’m still writing occasionally for and cross-posting on Medium, which is a fascinating service.
- Like many others, my mind was focused on politics, but more specifically on how we can live, not with competing ideologies, but with competing truths.
- And the answer might not be to “do” anything.
- This year raced by!
- And I’ve stopped apologizing for preaching.
- I continue to love the agony of writing poetry. I just need to write more of it.
- Last year I wrote: “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.” Yeah, still going on.
- Because somehow, this year, we both allowed Nazis to participate in public discourse and then argued about whether or not to call people parroting Reich postures and beliefs Nazis. Seriously, 2017, get it together.
- Last year I 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. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve gotten used to it. I still don’t always like it.
- I’m moving more and more from explainer and complainer to agent of hope and proclaimer of poetry. My conviction ultimately is to be the poet.
- For the second straight year, my love for the Advent and Christmas stories has ever increased. This time, through the ancient wisdom of the four gospel stories.
- And this was the year which awakened the hope I always had for Star Wars, before genealogy and scarcity came to rule the universe.
For many, this was a challenging year. Even those for whom this was a great year are struggling with the hardship of their neighbors. There is every reason to complain and despair.
But we aren’t left with only two choices: feeling the pain and ignoring the pain. We have another option: to heal the pain.
Many of my friends rail against the injustice of the dark. And many more of my friends would have us put a bandaid on that untreated wound, expecting the ignoring of the subject will heal an infection. We have to have the wisdom to know that naming and dealing with injustice are both necessary. And this truth doesn’t have to be dispiriting.
It can be the source of great hope.
The Best Posts of 2017
These are the posts of which I’m most proud.
- A Book of Prayer for Common People
- The Failure of Rigidity in Christian Faith
- You And I Are the Real Devils
- How Doubt Makes Faith Better
- Nazis Prove the Problem with Bothsidesism
- Civility Isn’t the Problem
- Getting Caught in the Big Lie
- The Bonds of Christianity Go Beyond the Bible
- Stop Falling for the Cult of the Perfect Leader
- We Must Start With Love
- 21 Things I do every Lent
- Centrism’s Flaw
- What You Probably Misunderstand About the Culture War
- Why Hating Sin Means You Hate People
- Agreeing to Disagree
- Jennifer, Child of God
- There are Two Reasons to Care About the Tone of Debate
- Needing Control – The Political Correctness of Hating PC Culture
- The Greatest Challenge to Free Speech on Campus Isn’t Protest
- The Purpose of Punishment
And check out my most viewed posts of 2017!
The Best Series of 2017
There was only one series this year: my third Write 31 Days project: writing daily for the whole month of October. Previously, I’ve deconstructed church, asked us to make choices, and keep a Simple Lent.
The Best Poetry of 2017
- The Assassin
- I don’t want your binary world.
- On Being an Enneagram 9
- Mr. Market’s Magic Emporium
- I didn’t make you punch me
- Even Scarier Words
I hope you have had an awesome year and I look forward to hearing about your hopes for 2018!