Here’s the second half of my year-in-review blog recap. The first part was on Friday. Here are a few of the high points from July to this month.
I displayed some vintage ads that will give you the willies, followed by a three-part video Q&A. Around the same time, I wrote a controversial article for the Daily Beast that queried Christian pastors about whether or not Michael Jackson was in heaven. In a follow-up blog post, I give some background to the process of writing that article and a reaction to the negative comments. I did a five-minute fake interview about the Pocket Guide books in which I didn’t even crack myself up, surprisingly. The first Pocket Guides arrived. I revealed the contents of my actual pockets. And then I did the craziest thing I’ve done all year: I made boxes of the first edition of Pocket Guide to the Bible (48 copies per box) available for $.01 for 24 hours. A penny a box. Virtually free. I “sold” 58 boxes, and spent the next two weeks signing and shipping books.
In honor of release day for the Pocket Guides, I posted a self-interview and hosted a caption contest. I made another round of confessions related to those books. I did some public service with a helpful guide to Rorschach inkblots (one of my favorite posts of the year and definitely the most fun to write). I enjoyed stupid fun with song lyrics. I discovered Eternal Earthbound Pets, an atheist-run service that promises to take care of your dog and cat after the Rapture. We discussed a hard question about hell and damnation. Then I ran a two-part interview with Bart, the atheist guy behind the non-raptured pets site. Despite having a pretty low tolerance for Christians, Bart is a nice guy and we still keep in touch (he and a few of his readers still comment here on occasion).
We had a really interesting discussion about the trustworthiness of the Bible and some of the doubts I have in that regard. I asked for your support in my biggest triathlon competition of the year, then I recapped it. I requested your feedback on the aspects of Christianity that give you the most trouble, faith-wise, and you delivered. On the anniversary of his death, I re-posted my remembrance of the late Rich Mullins, one of my personal heroes. This post brought me into contact with several people who actually knew Rich, and that thrills me. A post about the Ten Worst Bible Passages as cited by Ship of Fools readers was fairly controversial but led to some good discussion.
I asked Will the world end in 2012? and gave my apocalypse-expert answer: Probably not. I asked for feedback on some hard questions within Christianity. I noted things I did not support and called your attention to some awesome American Jesus art. We had another 5-sentence story contest involving a shark (“Like a torpedo with gills“). I saw U2’s 360 Tour in Oklahoma. Inspired by spending time with Jim Palmer (the writer, not the underwear modeling ex-major leaguer), I riffed about happiness and its relation to spirituality. I listed some random thoughts about Halloween.
This is when traffic really ramped up, beginning when I listed the words you can’t use in a Christian romance novel (as dictated by a specific publisher). Then I confessed some things about worship that really annoyed me. Both of these posts generated a lot of buzz on Twitter and Facebook and a lot of you ended up here as a result. Thanks for sticking around! I listed 7 things I’ve learned from watching “Sesame Street” and re-told my granddad’s WW2 story on Veteran’s Day. Then I interviewed romance writer Tess Mallory in a two-parter — Tess and I “met” as a result of the Christian romance words post, and she’s become a welcome addition to the commenting crowd. The cover for O Me of Little Faith (my next book) caused a stir thanks to the cover kid’s bandaged nipples. We ended the month with two posts in which I invited (and received) feedback: What I Wish My Wife Knew about Fa
therhood and What I Wish My Husband Knew about Motherhood.
Since we’re only a couple weeks into December, there’s no need to recap this month, except to say that my “not standing for Christmas” post about Focus on the Family’s retailer-rating campaign was by far the biggest post ever on this blog. All kinds of traffic and new readers as a result, and if you’re one of them, thanks for stopping by.
Now that my blog is really peaking, I’m getting ready to go dark for a Christmas break. I’ll continue to post a couple more times this week, but after December 18 it’s goodbye until the new year. I realize that this is probably a bad idea in terms of momentum and blog hits and all that stuff. But #1) I don’t care, and #2) I need a break from the Internets. I’m trusting you’ll come back. With O Me of Little Faith releasing and some other cool projects coming together, 2010 looks to be a great year. I’d love to travel it with you guys.
Until then, I’m grateful you’ve been with me up to this point. Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing links, thank you for commenting and participating in the contests and discussions, and thank you for buying my books. I appreciate you.