December 31, 2004
My first year of blogging. I know that everyone does the whole year in review thing (even the design shows on TLC have been doing them, for crying out loud!), but maybe mine will be a little different. After all, I'm a little different.
First, my five favorite posts. The Corner suggested it first, and I have seen it don all over the blogosphere, so far be it from me to fail to jump on the bandwagon. In no particular order:
- My First Post -- not a great one, but it's my first one. Figured some people might want to go all the way back to March and read what I had to say back in the "early days."
- Jesus, Paul, and Peter Jennings -- my first really long, thought provoking post. Got me on a few search engines, too.
- Any of the Today (or This Week) in Church History posts -- I just love church history. Gimme a break, OK?
- A Nation of Jonahs -- I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this simple observation -- it's showed up on the King of the Blogs competition, the Christian Carnival, and the Best of Me Symphony. And next Sunday, I'm preaching it (actually, the same theme, but MUCH more involved).
- Study of Mark -- it's turned into a lot more than I thought, and it's gone longer than I expected (and it's overdue!), but I'm enjoying this study.
And there are a lot more. My comments on the Constitution Party, my religio-political posts (not always received sympathetically by people who normally agree with me). It's hard to pick favorites, and I've cheated on this list.
The year has seen bloggers become ABC's People of the Year. Blogospherians helped take down Dan Rather. Election coverage was taken to new heights (or depths). Sociologists and communications specialists are taking notice of this "new trend" in communication. And bloggers are getting book deals. Blogging is making an impact on our culture in ways that we won't really be able to see for years, if not decades. And it doesn't look like it's going to die out. Slow down, maybe. Change, certainly. Die out, not even.
This is the first year that I've really read blogs. I've met interesting people, discussed and argued with people I'll never see, and been quoted by people who think I had something interesting to say. Bloging is addictive, and I'm hooked. I'm looking forward to the next year.
My hopes for the new year:
- New host, new URL, bigger site. I can do more here than just rant, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to soon.
- Increased exposure for the little blogs that have something to say. There seem to be two groups in the blogosphere that get the most attention -- the big pundits like Instapundit and Kos, and the personal diaries of teenagers who cannot spell, but want to tell the world about their day at school. The third group, which I think is a majority, is made up of people like me, and the people on my blogroll. People who have good things to say, but don't get much attention. I read things as I cruise through my daily-read blogs (got a nice new RSS reader just for that purpose!) and I think to myself, "More people should read this. This is good stuff." There are people blogging who should be heard, and I think that 2005 is going to be the Year of the Blogging Underdogs.
- Increased exposure for the Godblogs. And maybe I'm being a bit selfish here, since I consider myself a Godblogger. There is a LOT of intense theoloogical discussion going on out here, and people should be aware of it. There's a lot more that I should be aware of -- I find new blogs every day that blow me away with some of what they are saying.
And that's the year that was. 2004 was fun. May 2005 be even better, for us all. Happy New Year.
December 20, 2004
My laptop isn't working. The cord to the power supply shorted, I can't fix it, and another power supply will cost $60 and take at LEAST a week to get. I MIGHT be able to wrangle some internet time at the public library, or from friends, but I'm not going to promise much. All the series that are running WILL continue -- and will probably be even better, since I'll have time to formulate my thoughts.
NEXT week will be better, since I will be able to use my father in law's computer starting Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, when we get to the Virginia leg of the Kelly Family Christmas Tour 2K4(tm).
December 03, 2004
- The UMC has defrocked their resident lesbian priest -- first time since 1987. Is it just me, or does the term 'defrocked' just seem a bit awkward in this context? I can honestly say that the Southern Baptist Convention has never had to do anything about a lesbian minister -- not allowing women as pastors kinda eliminates that problem, doesn't it?
- The UCC (to continue the acronymical insanity) has a new commercial. Maybe you've heard about it. ABC, CBS, and NBC won't air it. Now, I don't like what they're saying -- I know of no evangelical church that would turn people away because of their sexual orientation. Now, if they wanted to be married in the church, join the church, or minister in the church, there may be problems. See, Jesus said something like "Go, and sin no more" once, if I recall correctly. We don't condemn sinners -- the One without sin has the only authority to do that. But we can not condone their sin -- that is also clear from Scripture. I think maybe part of the problem is that people identify themselves too much with what they do, rather than who they are. AND, I think that the Church often doesn't do enough about sin in it's own ranks. I remember Jesus saying something about a beam in the eye, too.
- I really wish this story would go away. I think it's a stupid idea, and I think the Convention is overstepping their bounds by expecting people to pull their kids out of public education. Maybe we should be training people to go into the schools and be a positive influence. Maybe our youth ministers should focus more on discipleship and less on pizza parties (and yes, I know there are awesome youth ministers out there -- I know several of them from Southern). I salute parents who choose private schools. I salute parents who homeschool. I salute parents who are involved in their kids' public education. The key is to be involved, folks. There, I think I've beat that horse enough.
- One sample of the many "Holiday Controversy" type stories. I agree with Pseudo-Polymath on this topic, I think. Let them have their "secular holiday" (now THERE'S an oxymoron!) in December. But they have to stop calling it Christmas, and leave us alone to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I end up stressed at this time of year, over what to get people, if I've gotten them enough, and all that garbage. It's easy to lose focus on what's important. Maybe it's time to reclaim Christmas as our own -- they don't really get it anyway. I think our Jewish brethren have the right idea -- how much Chanuka-related marketing do you see? Very little in many parts of the country. THAT would be refreshing.
- And as we're fighting our own culture wars, our brethren in Europe have seemingly been pushed too far. Unfortunately, they may have been snoozing too long. Check out this Guardian story, and think about how close we have come, and how close we still may come, to a society just like this. Cultural engagement can help avert this; of course, if the left was really tolerant, they'd never have attacked us for our religious beliefs in the first place.
- In case you were wondering why all of us evangelical-type peole got so politically active this election, Alan Boraas at the Anchorage Daily News has the answer. It's not concern for our rights as citizens. It's not a desire to make the country a better place. It's not even because we're all brainwashed. It's all because of the rapture. Read the article, and think about how sad it is that a professor of anthropology has absolutely no clue about the topic he's writing about. NOTHING WE DO CAN MAKE THE RAPTURE HAPPEN ANY FASTER!!!!!!! A good majority of evangelical Christians don't believe in the rapture anyway -- what motivates them????? No answers, because that line of questioning tends to defeat stereotypes of Christians. Too bad, the article had a little promise. And I hold out little hope that anything will change people's minds. Don't confuse them with facts, their minds are made up. And they say we're anti-intellectual.
Now I'm going to head over to GetReligion, and see what I should have said about all these articles.
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