Its that time of the year when we look back, get all misty eyed and think about the year that was. This will probably be a long post, in it I will first reflect on the ridiculously flattering but also rather humbling level of readership that has come this way in 2005, then I will review the highlights of the blogging year for me. Its my chance to think about what I have liked about blogging this year- who knows you might find even some interesting posts you would like to go back and read. Flicking through the archives of someones blog can be very interesting, especially if the pages list only the titles (not the full posts) so you can quickly decide which ones if any seem of interest to you.
Running this blog has been an amazing experience for me this year for which I am very very grateful. I remain convinced that there are many Christian blogs you should be reading rather than this one, but a growing and to me ridiculously high number of you keep coming back. Thank you all so much for all your kindness to me.
Unlike Challies, thanks to the merciful kindness of a friend who hosts this site for free I dont have any concerns about the bandwidth implications of all this traffic, but I do have concerns about the implications for me and this blog as it is a fearsome thing to be potentially leading so many of you astray each month! I dont take a single reader for granted, and pray that each of you may be blessed by what you find here (or at least by what I link to!)
So what have the highlights of the year been for me on this blog? I did a similar post towards the middle of December last year, which highlighted some of my Calvinistic posts of 2004 it was entitled “It’s all about you Jesus“.
Who will forget the aftermath of the Tsunami washing around the Blogosphere- I asked “Why did science allow the tsunami?“. The Jerry Springer Opera fiasco was the first real forray of blogs into UK political matters – I subesquently claimed that the BBC had been “blogged”. I suspect that UK institutions will learn to fear the blog as much as their US counterparts soon and possibly even in 2006.
I was involved in my first major theological skirmish of the year concerning my coining of the term “neo-liberalism” to define those who consciously desire to change the Christian Church and its message to fit in with postmodernism. Meanwhile I did not do my attempt to prove that David Wayne and I were different people by carrying out an entire theological discussion with him in my own post “disagreeing with the Jollyblogger“. I also had the pleasure of discovering Nancy Pearcey and it really was a pleasure.
Much of this month was spent on the amazing storm that was generated from my wifes “simple gospel” post. It was suddenly obvious to me that many of the “God bloggers” were actually not sharing the same understanding I had of many of the fundementals of the faith, to the point that for some I was not evern sure they were Christians. This made me realise that contending for the faith online even if read largely by people claiming to be Christians was actually a form of evangelism. I should get my darling Andrée to blog more often……
I think the main lesson I learnt for me was that you simply cannot allow yourself to get fully sucked into every controversy you see online. I only posted a handful of breif posts on the Terry Shiavio situation. Meanwhile, I announced that my church was moving to a cinema, and it was a relatively quiet month.
I posted on what I believe true preaching is like, and a helpful discussion ensued between those who believe Sundays should largely be for believers and those who want to see preaching address both unbelievers and believers. This post was for me critical, and is something that helped me crystalise my own thinking on preaching. I loved the critiques and questions that this issue threw up. I also began blogging about the ESV and started to develop a social styles questionnaire.
The preaching debate culminated in a link to a blogotional post that detailed the extent of our preaching debate. I marked the 11-year anniversary of the Toronto phenomena by publishing for the first time an old article of mine on my blog that cateloges the history of the movement and precedents in church history.
The first major interview opportunity of the blog- with the ESV translators was also announced in May. For a while I would become a biblioblogger.
I also started what will no doubt be the longest running and most extensive series on this blog for a long time – “Churches that will change the world“. I am currently in a haitus on that one, but fully intend to come back to it – if not sooner the next time I get bloggers block! The series flowed out of a sermon which expresses my belief in what church is capable of.
I also did a series of posts on becoming a succesful blogger which was I think something of a turning point for me, as it was the point where I finally started to realise that this blog was actually remarkably more successful than it probably deserved to be, and that I really had to step up my efforts to help other blogs share some of the limelight which has surprisingly come my way.
The ESV interview did somewhat dominate this month, but more was forthcoming on social styles and the church and a handful of other posts got thrown in – one of which tackled the New Perspective on Paul.
I was somewhat carried on a wave of the amazing grace of the ESV people and the new readers I gained through that process. That kind of use of a blog for christian promotional activity is actually something I enjoy, provided I remain in the driving seat – so any marketing people out there drop me a line and I will see what we can do to help….
I dared to attenpt to engage the pyromaniac in a debate, and discovered what has since been something of a repeating pattern- he was strangely reticent to pick up the challenge. This puzzled me as it seemed
somewhat out of character for Phil Johnson. I also had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time after a decade of online correspondence. He was every bit as engaging and fun to be with as I imagined. I spent a few too many hours with a tool that shows how google “sees” the net. Who will forget the 7th July the day the UK was hit with homegrown sucide bombers?
Tamasin showed a great way with words which inspired first a blog post then a sermon on “what is love?” I tried guest bloggers whilst I was away on holiday and despite the wonderful efforts of some great bloggers, decided that this was goign to be a strictly Warnock-only zone from now on except for the comments section (at least for now!). And once more, the blogosphere plugged some of the gaps left by the mainstream media as the New Orleans disaster unfolded- what a year we had.
I blogged about my growing frustration with the inaccuracy of the mainstream media. I cant help but wonder whether blogs really will start to take their place even in the UK. I was thrilled to be able to report that Terry Virgo had preached at a UCCF conference and hint at all that represented. The God or Not carnival was launched to significantly less enthusiasm than I expected, and world mags theologica was also born.
The highlight of the whole month for me was landing an interview with one of my greatest heroes of the faith: CJ Mahaney. Meanwhile I was ganging up with his daughters to stir up a mini blogstorm on courtship (actually they were eager to dissipate said storm as quickly as possible)
The month started fittingly enough as it turned out with a slightly provocative little post entitled “Why not have a noisy time?“, much of the rest of the year’s blogging would revolve around the charismatic debate which this post prefigured. My posts on preaching with passion and continuing my story also skirted around the subject of the role of the Holy Spirit.
But it was two posts, one by Challies which I responded to in “Convergence or divergence over spirtual gifts and cessationism?” and one from pyromaniac to which I replied “Rubber prophecies prove nothing except some peoples gullibility” that rattled my cage and it seems many others to cause the charismatic/cessationist debate to ignite. There are so many posts on that subject you will really have to flick through the archive page to get a flavour of the debate from my side at least.
The charismatic debate continued right up to Christmas, but a couple of interludes during the month included a resurgance of the subject of Bible Translation , two interviews and a reposting of links to some old articles on counselling. All in all its been a great fun year!
One of the ongoing highlights of blogging this year has been the opportunity through Tim Challies to review some great Christian books – if anyone is a book marketeer out there and wants to send me a book to consider mentioning on my blog just drop me an email or approach Tim if you want a few of us to all blog a review.
I have also developed something of a taste for the “Blog interview” usually conducted via email so let me know who you think I should interview next!
Thank you once again. I pray that 2006 will be a great year for you my readers and that together we can continue to explore this still largely uncharted land called blogging.