Wow, what a year! Thanks to all of you who helped my blog receive more than 615,000 pageviews in the past twelve months. It’s been an honor, a pleasure and an adventure to engage you in thoughtful conversation. Here’s to another year of more of the same!
It’s good time to look back on what folks were most interested in this past year when it came to the articles I shared. What mattered to people? Have those priorities changed? What will be on next year’s list of top posts? I guess that’s the fun of living; we get to find out together along the way. But for now, here’s what you told me mattered most in 2012:
#5 – Farewell Chick Fil A (6,460 pageviews, 93 comments)
Who knew a chicken sandwich could be so controversial? But when a prominent fast food chain goes public about their positions on “family values” (translated: denial of equal rights for LGBT people), it’s news. I wrote about my personal decision not to patronize the company any more, and what followed was quite a back-and-forth about the efficacy of “boycotts,” the propriety of a for-profit company taking a public stand on moral/social issues and more. What can I say? Americans love their chicken!
#4 – Seven Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church (7,494 pageviews, 21 comments)
This was actually one part of a three-part series on why Young folks leave church and why at least I came back. Why did this blow up? Put simply, everyone knows this is a major phenomenon, and yet there’s no consensus about why. In fact, church as we know it will not return, and any relationship people have with faith and their respective communities will be radically different moving forward. Some cry that this is the end of Western faith; others suggest we’re witnessing a new Enlightenment being born. Regardless, everyone seems to be fascinated by the questions about what’s going on and why.
#3 – Church Sign Epic Fails, Vol. XXI (9,212 pageviews)
The weekly “Church Sign Epic Fails” series has become kind of a staple of my blog this past year. In fact, I’m only a few weeks away from having a full 52 sets posted. Why are these so popular? I think it is a succinct and humorous metaphor for the issues churches tend to have in trying to connect with the culture around them. Often times, the comments I receive about these share a common theme like, “I’m glad you helped me laugh at this, because otherwise I’d be crying at how lost we seem to be.” Sometimes truth is most easily swallowed along with a healthy dose of humor. As for why this particular post got more views than any of the others, who knows? It usually depends on who shares what with whom; sometimes the scales just tip and something unexpected happens to go a little nuts.
#2 – 25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading (23,617 pageviews, 50 comments)Interestingly, this was a re-post I shared from my friend, Matthew Paul Turner, who always has his finger on the pulse of what folks in the Christian/Religious/Spiritual spheres are talking and thinking about. I shared this piece partly because there are some really great resources within this list, but also selfishly I was excited that he had included me on the list :-/ And as for why this post has gotten (and actually, continues to receive) so much traffic, it comes down to search engines. Enough people did a Google or similar search for “Christian Blogs” and clicked on the link to my blog that it’s one of the very top results when you Google the phrase “Christian Blogs.” Turns out a lot of people are looking for those, which is a good thing, given my chosen line of work.
Mad props to Matthew Paul Turner for his help in making this post such a big hit this past year. He really deserves the credit; I just got lucky.
#1 – Ten Cliches Christians Should Never Use (55,666 pageviews, 298 comments)
This post, and the related series of articles I posted on Christian Cliches and their respective antidotes, was the closest I’ve had to a runaway hit to far in the blogosphere. Aside from this first article getting so much traffic, the second article, TEN MORE CLICHES CHRISTIANS SHOULD AVOID, 32,490 hits and 145 comments; Nine (Final) Christian Cliches to Avoid got 16,467 hits and 77 comments and; Ten Antidotes to Christian Cliches got 13,696 views and 33 comments.
In all, the series got well over 100,000 views and almost 600 comments. WOW. So, why the buzz about this series I never thought would raise so much as an eyebrow? Like the Church Sign Epic Fail series, this points to the heart of how and why Christians often miss the mark when trying to engage the culture at large. Fortunately for me, no one else had apparently compiled the phenomenon into a fairly simple, easy-to-share set of lists. Of course, there were those within Christianity who cried foul in response to my criticisms, but in general, folks resonated with these cliches and agreed wholeheartedly that they had more than worn out their welcome.
As a side note, I’m happy to report that Patheos Books will be publishing a version of my Christian Cliches as a e-book early next year, including some content not found in the online articles. Rest assured I’ll spread the word far and wide when that hits.
So that’s my blogging year in review. Never would I have imagined it would be such an exciting and fun experience. I’m deeply grateful for each of you, whether you’ve agreed with me or not, and whether you’ve smiled, grumbled or thrown things upon reading my thoughts. It’s all part of an important, larger conversation.
What do you want to see covered in 2013? What have I missed that simply commands attention? What do you like most: humor, videos, lists or full-length articles that make you pause and scratch your head? I’m listening, and I hope you’ll keep reading.