Most years, at around this time I like to review the highlights of my blogging year. 2012 has certainly been an exciting year in the life of this blog.
In February I preached on the three phases of faith, a sermon that might surprise some of my Reformed friends. I also wrote a simple post, that once again reminded me of why the subject of resurrection is so important: “Your dead shall live, their bodies shall rise!” Somebody should write a book about it!
March saw me venture into the controversial topic of gay marriage and return unscathed having explained the different perspectives different Christians have on this subject, and I also posted on why killing babies after birth is just a logical extension of abortion
In April it was a delight to preach on Easter Sunday for a friend, and unsurprisingly given my book, I preached on the Resurrection.
In May a very difficult six months for our whole family culminated in the death of my Father-in-Law and I wrote, “We grieve but not in the same was as those with no hope.”
In June I nervously shared about a personal spiritual experience , and encouraged others to follow the Puritan’s example and do the same. I also challenged Atheists, “How do you live without hope?” and posted a series of three posts about reaching out to Muslims: Did God have sex with Mary?, Eleven things Muslims and Christians agree on about Jesus, and Six things we disagree on about Jesus.
July was a relatively quiet month, except for sharing a dynamic sermon PJ Smyth preached on porn, and my entry into the Rachel Held Evans vs the two Wilsons debate. I lost some complementarian friends and gained some egalitarian friends over that. It is sad that these issues are so emotive and divisive.
In August I discovered a tool that demonstrates plainly something I had long suspected: on Twitter even people you think are close to each other often do not share an audience as much as you might suspect. My constant urging to point the audiences God has given us to useful material by others was given some scientific support. Speaking of statistics, it was shockingly revealed that in the UK out of 6 million abortions only 143 women had one to save their lives.
Also, it was really great to have visits from two leading pentecostals to our church. It is increasingly clear to me that imagined differnces between pentecostals and charismatics are often not substantial in reality. It was great to hear Kenneth Ulmer preach on the gospel and the church, and Jack Hayford on Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.
September saw the launch of my Top Christian Blogs and Microbloggers by Twitter Followers list, and a post on not comparing yourself to others to try and undo some of the damage such a list could do to bloggers fragile egos! I also shared a series based on a transcirpt of a sermon I preached entitled “A Life of Joy” which included some comments on clinical depression, unusual for me on the blog despite my profession as a psychiatrist.
I taccled the thorny issues of What is an Evangelical? and What is a Christian? without getting eaten alive. Amazingly I emerged relatively unscathed from a series on the Complementarian-Egalitarian spectrum which included a debate with Rachel Held Evans. Perhaps I was protected because of some lessons I have been trying to learn about prayer!
Also in October, I made the decision to move the blog to Patheos, arguing that to do so was my way of taking the blog to a marketplace of ideas and later reassuring folks I had not turned liberal. I did wonder if the move would put some poeple off, but almost immediately I had an interesting discussion on evangelicalism and homosexuality with a Patheos atheist, and at the end of November (a month I spent growing a Mustache!) I was able to report more than a 20% increase in traffic.
November had begun with an invitation onto Huffington Post TV which reminded me of the cultural gulf we are facing! It was also interesting to see what some of my new non-Christian readers made of my post on “entitlement” where I argued that responsibilities not rights should drive our morality. I enjoyed reading an old work providing a Reformed argument in favor of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as distinct from conversion, and the world was intregued to meet our new Anglican Evangelical Archbishop. It was also great to review my favorite book of the year, Mohler’s Conviction to Lead. November was a busy month indeed, and Logos Bible Software brightened it up by releasing a new version of their software…add it to your Christmas list now and use my discount!
Finally, in december I interviewed Al Mohler, posted about gratitude for the gift of today, and suggested that there are two types of leadership: influence and authority, I think this is a theme I may return to in the New Year.
One thing I am looking forward to early in the New Year is travelling to the Desiring God Conference where Tope will be preaching, and I will be doing a “meet the author” session (please come along as it would be nice to see some of you!). Desiring God kindly profiled my pastor Tope on their site and it will be a great time.
So enjoy the holiday season, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! May 2013 be a year of great blessing for you all.