TheoThoughts 2014 in review: top 5 posts and a few random thoughts

2014-2015-calendar-flipWell, I guess I wouldn’t be fulfilling my “obligation” as a blogger if I didn’t cite the top 5 posts of 2014. Thanks to WordPress for doing the legwork because otherwise, I don’t think I would make the effort to figure out the most popular posts. Honestly, a couple of these surprised me and here they are;

5. When Scripture is not Enough: a topic so dear to my heart, I addressed it in my master’s thesis. I think it sounds really spiritual and intimate to “hear” God speak directly to us but leaves us reliant on questionable, subjective methods instead of the reliable witness of Scripture. God spoke through his Word (see Heb. 1:1-2) and continues to speak, if we’ll be willing to listen.

4. Have you heard of my pastor? Why its good that you probably haven’t: The Mark Driscoll scandal provided an opportunity to reflect on the whole personality cult thing that has become endemic in contemporary evangelicalism. We seem to like celebrity and generally equate popularity with pastoral effectiveness. I actually think that the more effective pastors are those without the public recognition because they are focused on the main thing, as I pointed out in Dear Obscure Pastor.

3. 50 thoughts from turn 50: nothing more than me waxing philosophical at the half century mark. When you’ve messed up as much as I have, there’s a deep pool to draw from. It was a time to really reflect on how far the Lord has brought be from so much foolishness. Now that I’m 51, I’ll consider myself a year wiser. Ha!

2. 8 Bible Interpretations that make me Scream: self-explanatory. One of my goals in life – to teach as many as I can how to approach Scripture. Context people!

1. Does Jesus Really Take Away my Shame? We Christians, in general, like to float on air and pretend that being in Christ means being untouched by anything. I don’t play that game. Stuff affects us. Bad and wrong stuff affects us more. Acknowledging this has been one of the most liberating things in my Christian walk because it has freed me to run to Christ when those nagging voices of insufficiency and failure nip in my ear. Continue reading

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Read’em and Weep . . . or not

computer yellingThe other day, a good friend gave me a gentle rebuke. The reason? I had articulated an opinion about a current event that I didn’t have a wealth of knowledge in.  Sure I knew the basic facts but not enough to spit out what I thought of the matter. Though it was tough to hear, I had to acknowledge that I had engaged in a bit of hypocrisy by doing exactly what I recommend that we don’t do – arriving at premature conclusions based on superficial information.

We live in an age of information overload, an embarrassment of riches that on the surface would support an incredible wealth of knowledge. And yet, it’s just the opposite – fragmented, de-historified pieces of media sound bytes that are designed to sway us towards a certain opinion. It doesn’t matter what the topic, whether current events, history or theology. We get lured with attractive titles and questions that appeal to our particular affinities, especially when it’s fueled by an particular image. If we are not careful, that biased slant with its emotional appeals can suck us right in.

When we propagate un-informed or poorly informed opinions through social media, it only adds fuel to the fire. In fact, this is where I’ve seen the down side even to blogging, which I love so much. It gives anyone who wants to say something the opportunity to do so regardless of how much is understood about the topic. Expertise has indeed taken a hit. I’ve become increasingly more cautious in my assertions because of this, though maybe not all that successful at times.

When it comes to the media outlet today, let’s not fool ourselves that you will read objective opinions.  Sure, there are some writers who strive to portray what they would deem “objective”. But that that object always has some question it is trying to answer based on some perspective, which may not be that objective at all.

I follow a variety of different news sources from various perspectives. Some are straight news, some focused on politics and economics, some economic perspectives from a Christian worldview, conservative, liberal, moderate. And of course my beloved theology! Regardless of what I read,  I strive to remember the ideology that pervades the thoughts behind each post to gauge where the author is coming from.  And yet, I am sometimes lured in by well-sounding arguments, especially where there appears to be some kind of authentic research or historical sketch. Continue reading

TheoThoughts 2013 Top 5 Posts

Typing-on-computer2Well, this is kind of cool. It’s the first full year of my blog. I was a bit surprised to learn that I wrote 87 posts in 2013. That’s an average of 7.25 a month! Yikes, that’s a lot and doesn’t even include contributions to Parchment and Pen and Reformed African-American Network.  So why not follow the trend and list the top views. A couple of them are from 2012 but since they didn’t get a full year, why not throw them in;

1. The Strange Fire brouhaha generated so much internet attention, that no surprise my 2 cents, Cessationism, Charismania and Criticism, had the most hits in 2013, primarily because Michael Patton (Parchment and Pen) pointed it out.

2. Because I wish the church in general would recognize that young, never-been-married singles are not the only singles in the church, Church and the Other Single .

3. I rather liked Wendy Alsup’s modified complementarianism and thought it was honest to Scripture so I highlighted her points in My Kind of Complementarianism.

4. If you treat the Old Testament God different than the New Testament, have integrity like Marcion and cut all references out from the NT in Integrity Doesn’t Stay in the Closet.

5. For those who read the Bible to squeeze out the blessings, How to be Blessed by the Lord draws on this attraction and kind of corrects it.

I was actually surprised that Church and the Other Single was not the most popular since it was the one with the highest shares. It was definitely one of my personal favorites and apparently struck a nerve with many others.  Here are some other personal favorites even though they didn’t generate as many hits, in no particular order:

Walking the Tightrope of Sovereignty and Hope

Deliver Us From Deliverance: Magic Wands and Maturity

The Smallness of Doing Big Things for God

5 Signs We Might Take Ourselves too Serious

Well let’s see what pops up in 2014

Happy New Year!