In lieu of taking the time to actually write a new post (something I’ve determined to refrain from in the interest of staying focused on my current job search), I thought I would at least offer a slight update in the form of a retrospective on the gone-but-never-to-be-forgotten 2011. So, here are the five most viewed posts from last year.
#5 – Four Things You Don’t Want to Hear When Looking for a Ministry Job
Click HERE to read this entry. I wrote this piece back in April, prior to the horrible month of May that found me laid up in a German hospital for two and a half weeks only to come home and be rejected from two different church positions that same day. I’m thankful it was written before that day, though, because otherwise this piece would have reeked of cynicism. Instead, I really tried to shed some light on what it feels like for a minister without a church to face rejection, and the unintentional faux pas a pastor or search committee should avoid when turning away a candidate. I’m particularly fond of my cheeky picture captions – I guess I was reading a lot of Cracked.com back then.
#4 – God Willing, You’ll Read This Post
Click HERE to read this entry. This one was another piece born out of frustration (a common method of conception for writers). October was another rough month for the job search – a lot of confusion and assumptions that did not pan out and left me feeling ridiculous and wondering if I was cursed. A lot of those days seemed like a wrestling match with God, asking for His provision to secure me a job, but then feeling like it wasn’t right to just sit back and let God solve all my problems for me, especially considering He blesses us with minds of our own and problem-solving abilities. This piece was one of those lofty attempts to examine that wonderful, but often nebulous, thing we refer to as God’s will.
#3 – Thoughts from My Hospital Bed
Click HERE to read this entry. I’m really not sure why this one found so many readers, unless a lot of those were my students and colleagues in Germany who were simply wondering whether or not I had died. Long story short, I broke my foot in November 2010, underwent two long, non-surgical treatments that did not heal it, and then an awkward surgery that repaired the bone but resulted in a severe infection that, as I mentioned above, further resulted in a second, emergency surgery and landed me in the hospital for two and a half weeks with a wound vacuum affixed to the gaping hole leftover in my foot. I was never able to return to my teaching job and missed out on the chance to bid most of my students farewell before they graduated or left for the summer. It took until the beginning of September for my foot to completely heal. I wrote this piece on one of those May afternoons lying in my hospital bed.
#2 – Should Christians Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death?
Click HERE to read this entry. This short piece was written in reaction to how so many Americans seemed to lose their minds in the throes of elated vindication at the news that Navy SEALS had stormed Osama Bin Laden’s compound and killed him. While there was obviously a profound sense of relief that such a wicked individual would no longer be able to inflict his wickedness on the world, I found the number of Christians who seemed to be reveling in the terrorist leader’s death appalling. “Love your enemies,” Jesus said, “and pray for those who persecute you.” At no point in his famous Sermon on the Mount did the Savior add, “But when a commando makes him eat lead, you have my permission to dance in the streets.” This was a somewhat controversial piece, but I stand by my position on how Christians are supposed to respond to the death of our enemies.
And the most-viewed post of 2011 was…
#1 – What’s the Deal with Atheism?
Click HERE to read this entry. Was there any doubt this would be the winner? This post incited multiple comment-section conversations, both on this blog, several commenters’ blogs, and even my Facebook page. It was to be expected, of course – more than any issue, it seems the theism/anti-theism debate compels us to offer our opinions. A few people found this piece incendiary (against atheists), but that was never my intention at all. I am always eager to talk with people who claim to be atheists – I want to hear their stories; I want to know why the very thing that has transformed my entire life has been spurned by them. More than anything, I want them to no that just because they don’t believe what I believe doesn’t mean I don’t respect them or their viewpoint. I am devoted to the Great Conversation, and this post was simply an attempt to examine a few of the motivations for non-belief from a Christian’s perspective. It certainly wasn’t meant to be an end-all treatise on my views of atheism or how Christians and atheists can still – and should still – interact.
Thanks, beloved readers, for making 2011 such an enjoyable blogging year. I hope to return to regular posting again soon … just as soon as I find gainful employment.
Peace in the new year.