2016: The Blogging Year in Review
Another year has come and gone. A ridiculous amount of things have happened in the world and in my family's own little corner. To look back on the past year, here is my annual review of my most read and/or favorite posts from this past year. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented on this site, and shared posts on social media. Your encouragement means an awful lot. Here's a look back at 2016.
Switchbacks (January 1)
"2016 will not be without its challenges. You may feel like you turn a thousand corners and still keep facing steep paths. I know I've felt like that the last couple of years. But keep climbing and hold on to the amazing things you see this year."
The Afterlife Appropriate for People Who Stare in Judgment When Your Kid Throws a Tantrum (January 16)
I have strong feelings about these people.
Why Christians of My Generation Are Paying Close Attention to Trump and the GOP (January 28)
The President-Elect unfortunately made many appearances on the blog this past year. Everything that I wrote here still stands and actually became more pronounced as the election went on. I hate that many of my worst fears were confirmed.
If Jesus Played in the Super Bowl (February 7)
It would be awesome.
The Death (and Resurrection) of Everything That's Wild (February 11)
"I fear I am both witness and accomplice to the death of God's wildness. The loss of faith, the fear of screwing things up, the near certainty that the Christian faith in America has lost the wild redeeming love and echo of justice of the gospels fills me with dread. I pray to God that I won't live to see the death of everything that's wild and I feel like I am holding defibrillator paddles the entire time."
An Echo of Heartbreak (February 22)
God's heart does break.
Donald Trump is Lex Luthor (February 29)
I mainly include this because The Daily Beast posted an article about the similarities between the GOP candidate and the comic book supervillain in August. I beat them to the punch by nearly half a year. If there is an intersection between Superman comics and anything noteworthy, I'm going to be there with my take.
Stations (March 21-26)
During Holy Week, inspired by a lyric in U2's "A Moment of Surrender," I wrote 14 short stories imagining the Stations of the Cross as stops along a subway line in a modern city.
Things Are Broken/Things Will Heal (March 26)
An Easter letter to my sons.
Getting Back Up After Paper Cups (April 21)
A story about high school track, vomiting, and not giving up.
The Marxist, Homosexual Atheist Who Told a Great Story About Jesus (May 3)
Great stories sometimes come from places the general church wouldn't expect.
Somewhere Hope Remains (May 5)
40 acres, 90s CCM band Caedmon's Call, and Kendrick Lamar.
Muscle Memory and the Amnesiac (May 11)
"99% of the time you don't get to choose what is thrown your way. And you don't get to coast off of muscle memory or passion or how you think something is supposed to go. If anything is going to be worthwhile, it is going to require difficult work."
Remember Your Baptisms (June 2)
Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book, a cleansing rain on a run, and recalling all the times in which God has made me new.
Death Makes Our Challenging Heroes Safe (June 4)
As in many years, many iconic people passed away this past year. After the death of Muhammad Ali, I reflected on how we often domesticate these individuals when they die.
Orlando (June 13)
Struggling with horror in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando.
Don't Look Back (June 26)
My final sermon at Fernwood Baptist where I had the opportunity to preach more than anywhere else in my life.
Fish Stories (June 27)
Finding Dory, being lost, found, and loved.
Helplessness Blues (Some Incomplete Thoughts on Why I'm Getting Ordained) (July 6)
The title pretty much says it all.
Mary and Martha Go to Couple's Therapy (July 16)
I've been writing my Weekly Lectionary series for maybe a couple of years now. Often it's a brief, earnest reflection/wrestling with scripture. And then sometimes I stick two Bible characters in counseling and have them argue with one another.
I Alone Can't Fix It (July 22)
"You and I get to work together to bring healing and hope to the world. Thank God it is not something that we have to do alone. We could never do it."
A Totally Inappropriate Children's Sermon (July 23)
Some Bible stories are not cut out for kid-friendly versions.
Sacred Songs (July 28)
Seeing one of my favorite bands unexpectedly perform one of my favorite songs of all time.
Our Next Adventure (August 24)
The biggest story for our family was my accepting a call to serve as youth minister to Woodmont Christian Church and moving to Nashville. Here's the beginning of that story.
Hub City (September 9)
A farewell to my hometown of Spartanburg, SC.
Don't Worry, Be (October 2)
The first sermon that I preached at Woodmont Christian.
Face Pressed Against the Airplane Window (October 7)
"Don't you realize something amazing is happening here?"
Just Words (October 10)
You can never dismiss talk as just words. Words matter. They can hurt and heal.
Sanctuary (October 25)
Re-learning lessons about focusing on God while feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and alone while away from my family.
The Great Cloud (November 1)
On All Saints' Day, I reflected on the many people who have shaped me into who I am.
A Letter to My Sons on the Morning After the Election (November 9)
"Sometimes bullies win. Sometimes people are mean and hurtful and they get what they want. You need to know this about the world and you need to know this does not change how we live our lives." This post, which I wrote and posted in the early morning hours after the election was called, was the most read and shared post on the site this year.
356 Miles (November 21)
Reflecting on the geographical distance that separated my family through the fall and the profound relational distance that separates many in this country.
Arrival, Advent, and Leaps of Hope (November 29)
Sometimes a movie comes along at the right time.
Running with Luke (December 7)
How a random encounter while on a run reminded me of the vital importance of discipleship and community.