Happy New Year!

Thank you to all of my readers for being part of this blog last year.  Many blessings for 2017!

Here is what you can do:  Use the comments for this post to give your New Year’s resolutions.  Then you can come back next year and check them to see how you did.  Well, I can see that you might not want to do that.  Happy New Year anyway!




Image from Pixabay, Creative Commons, Public Domain


Make your predictions for 2017

3706551411_cd226727fe_zNow it is time to look forward, to speculate about what this new year will bring.

Lots of question marks hover over 2017.  Will Donald Trump make America great again, or will his presidency prove to be a major fiasco?  Will the economy boom or will it collapse?  Will Christianity thrive or be declared a hate crime?  Will the pendulum start swinging back, or will the sexual revolution keep going further?

But these are big issues.  When we check the predictions at the end of 2017 in our annual contest, the winning guesses tend to be highly specific and seemingly unlikely at the time.   You can make all the predictions you want and your mistakes won’t be held against you, so feel free to take risks and make outside-the-box projections.  (This is speculation, not prophecy, so the Deuteronomy 18 rule will not be in effect.)

Yesterday we reviewed the predictions for 2016, so that will give you an idea about how our little contest works.

Let us begin:  What do you think will happen in 2017?


Image by Duncan Hall, “Envision Your Future,” Creative Commons License

Checking our predictions for 2016


It’s time to check the predictions we made around this time last year, something you don’t see the tabloids or most highly-paid consultants doing. Your predictions for 2016, as usual, were thoughtful, interesting, mostly-wrong, but with some remarkable accuracies.

Go here to read them all and come to your own conclusions.  We were still under the World Table comment system back then, so go to that link.  If you do a search for the post, it will come up as there being no comments, but click the full post and you will find them.  (Tom Hering predicted that I would leave Patheos over the issue, which had a trace of truth about it, though in a scrambled way.  I got us out of World Table and Patheos itself got taken over by BeliefNet.  The $5 monthly contribution that he predicted all of you readers would send to me has not been forthcoming.)

First of all, despite lots of political projections, no one picked Donald Trump to win the presidency.  Nor did anyone pick the Cubs to win the World Series.  (DonS predicted that the Yankees would miss the playoffs, which they did; Kirk thought the Nationals would win the series, which they did not.  Nor did Kurt Cockrain’s Rockies.)  Pete made several Bob Dylan predictions, but said nothing about his Nobel Prize.

There were some close ones.  Nils predicted that Ben Carson would become Secretary of Health and Human Services.  He has been nominated Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Stefanstackhouse came really close.  After a fine and accurate analysis, he predicted that Trump would get the Republican nomination.  He also predicted that Hillary Clinton would be derailed by an unexpected scandal.  But that, he said, would prevent her from getting the Democratic nomination.  Instead, Elizabeth Warren would get the nomination, whereupon she would beat Trump and become the first woman president.  So the prediction started well but then kind of came apart.  Stefan also had a pretty good prediction about evangelical colleges facing major threats in 2016.  That called to mind the proposal from the California legislature to force Christian schools to accept gay sex or lose state funding, a measure that was, however, not enacted.

There were also predictions that did come true.  As Sam P and Nils foresaw, Leonardo DiCaprio did get his Oscar (best actor for Revenant).  SKJAM! predicted that a Supreme Court justice would die and that the Republican-dominated Congress would refuse to consider the president’s nominee, wanting to wait until after the election.  One-and-a-half months after SKJAM! said this, Antonin Scalia died and Congress did as he said they would.  SAL made another striking prediction, that the candidate with the most votes will not win the election.

Those last two could easily have won our contest, were it not for one of the most impressive performances in the history of this blog.   The clear and indisputable winner is. . . [Read more…]

Blog news

Podpis_had_cranach_starsiMerry Christmas, everybody!  I thought I’d pass on some news about the Cranach blog and tell you about what’s coming up next week.

  • Patheos has been bought by the even bigger religious site BeliefNet.  Patheos will have its own identity, the editors will be the same, and it will, as they say, remain its own brand.  But BeliefNet has resources that will make possible some technical improvements, new features, and, eventually, a new look.  I’m not sure what they have in mind, but be on the lookout for changes in the year ahead.
  • You may have noticed that I have started putting pictures with my posts.  I was asked to do that–if not as an early phase of BeliefNet upgrades, because pictures make posts more sharable on social media–and I have enjoyed this new tasks of illustrating what I have to say.  The challenge is to not violate copyright laws!  I have found an easy way to find images that are in the public domain or are usable through Creative Commons, a process by which photographers and other artists make their work freely available, as long as credit is given.  (Go to Google Images, then hit “tools,” then hit “usage rights,” then hit “licensed for reuse.”)  Images with no attribution are from a horde that Patheos/BeliefNet owns or from my own collection.

[Read more…]

Back in the U.S.A.!

photo-1474663898126-6f6f19a48b1d_optWe are back in the good old U.S. of A. after spending a month visiting our daughter and her family in Australia.  We enjoyed our time down under very much.  But it’s good to be back home.

I can’t believe that I was able to keep this blog going as usual despite the time difference (16.5 hours, a day ahead) and our many activities.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.

It was strange to watch the election from the other side of the world, but sometimes a little distance (literally) is clarifying.

After the jump, a cool picture of me in the Australian landscape that my son-in-law took.  I call it “Australian Sublime.” [Read more…]

Liveblogging the election

My custom has long been to stay up until the wee hours watching the election returns.  That will be much easier this year, since I’m in Australia.  Polls will close starting at about mid-morning, here in Oz time, where it will already be Wednesday.  The American election is of enormous interest here–as they say, when America sneezes, Australia catches a cold–so the TV networks are planning comprehensive coverage.  We’ll see what that means, but it looks like I can follow the election through the morning and into the early afternoon.  So we can do a LIVE BLOG!

I’m not saying that I will be commenting minute by minute, but I’ll be coming to this post and using the comments to talk about whatever happens.  Please do the same.  Comment here about election day, the latest developments, the trends you are noting, the surprises, etc.   I’ll be doing that when I can, though I’m sure the news coverage in Australia will not be as full or as informed as what you will be getting.  So please contribute to this.  We can also “reply” to each other, thus discussing information as it comes up.

This has been a strange and unpredictable election year, so we can expect its culmination on Election Day to be similarly strange and unpredictable.  Whatever happens, we can talk about it here.