It has been a very full year here at this intersection between God and life, for anyone converted, unconverted or under conversion- and, I might add, the very first full year here! Here are the highlights, looking back:
- I responded to John Piper’s pernicious calls for a “masculine Christianity” by calling them heretical (I know, heresy is old hat, but then again, chauvinism should be, too)
- the latest version of Lauren Winner drew my applause
- Rachel Held-Evans’ critique of mega-church pastor Mark Driscoll and his insights on so-called “real marriage” got a great big shout-out, and, in turn, an invitation to Mark Driscoll for coffee with Jesus
- the debut of an ongoing series titled “Jesus Epithets” (all the names Jesus gets called in Scripture)
- a consultation with a personal heroine of mine, Mechthild de Magdeburg, who gave us 6 ways to shush our insecurities
- an exploration of prayer as spiritual formation, thanks to lessons my daughter has taught me
The spring, in addition to the daffodils in our front yard, brought out a couple of my personal favorite posts, among them:
Many of you were helpful in advising me on the use and limits of humor on the darkest day of the church calendar (Good Friday). And, we had some healthy debate over certain atonement theories that, I suggested, depict God as a beloved oppressor.
With the launch of summer came a fascinating series on the implications of neuroscience for Christian belief, with Stanford neurologist and future FSS faith and science correspondent Saskia de Vries. That interview will be republished in a new form in The Christian Century- stay tuned!
Fall’s changing colors could just as well have described the variety here at this intersection. From personal revelations about my experiences as a traveling corporate chaplain and causes of occasional insomnia to a lampoon of Pat Robertson as God’s meteorologist, which morphed into an ongoing series, we enjoyed the colors.
We wrapped up the year and celebrated Advent with a series by our very talented guest photographer Katie Archibald-Woodward, whose pictures will one day be published in National Geographic. (I’m sure.)
Notably, the posts that generated the most comments and your most impassioned opinions revolved around motherhood: Boobie Traps: Breastfeeding in Church and Facebook’s Disappearing Mothers: The New Form of Women’s Self-Effacement?, republished by The Washington Post. These were hands-down the funnest to write.
It was also a very fun privilege to review the books, Messy: God Likes It That Way (A.J. Swoboda) and A Year of Biblical Womanhood (Rachel Held-Evans) for The Episcopal Digital Network. I’m grateful for A.J. and Rachel and their excellent work.
The saddest posts to write were in response to the senseless evil that plagues our world, calling into question whether a good, loving, all-powerful God is really real. Here in America, gun massacres at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado and, more recently, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, inspired some prayerful soul searching and reflection; a photo taken of a child dying from starvation only a stone’s throw away from a U.N. food camp sparked “An Agnostic Christian’s Valentine’s Day Prayer.” The picture still haunts me.
All along the way, you graciously indulged my tastes in music and even a few amateur attempts at poetry.
We laughed, cried, fumed and shared life together.
And, you tuned in from all around the world: my live feed showed regular visits from a broad, eclectic bunch of fellow saints and sinners- not only from the Big Apple to San Francisco in this country, but representing every continent (okay, maybe not Antarctica). Knowing you join me here is the thing that keeps me writing…for both of us. It’s the thing that, next to a strong cup of coffee and a very loud alarm clock, wakes me up on most mornings, before the first stirrings of my children and the duties of the day. And it’s to you that I raise my Ebenezer this last day of 2012, in anticipation of another year of togetherness in our saintly sinfulness and sinful saintliness. It has been real. Happy New Year!