My Top 10 Personal Events (And Blog Posts) of 2010

Before turning my eyes toward the new year, I thought I’d take a moment to look back at the one now vanishing. Here are ten big things that happened to me personally in 2010.

1. My wife Catherine didn’t die. Wait—duh. I spent Thanksgiving 20o9 in a hospital room with my wife, not 2010. But it feels like she healed at the earliest part of 2010, since … well, she did. So Cat not dying gets to be part of my 2010 memories. First we thought she had cancer; then we wouldn’t know for sure until they operated; then she underwent this huge operation (during which there were some truly scary complications); then she didn’t have cancer; now she’s perfectly fine and all healed. Hal. A. Looya! (You can read a bit about this whole emotional trauma in Me, Emoting About My Wife.)

2. I found out that, five years earlier, my mom had died of breast cancer. I know it’ll make people crazy, but the truth’s the truth, so: When I found out my mom died, instead of the emotional turmoil or sadness that you’d expect me to feel, I felt a deep, deep peace come over me. Finally, I was safe from her. Can you imagine being such a lousy parent that, when you die, your child feels pretty wholly the opposite of sad? Finding out my mom had passed away worked for me. I felt good about it. How awful is that? But there it is. I had done my grieving for my mother throughout the long years of knowing I’d never have a relationship with her. Having her removed physically from the earth just didn’t present for me what you might call a large psychological challenge. And that’s something I’m proud of. It wasn’t easy getting there. (See: I Just Found Out My Mother Died—Five Years Ago, and Unhappy? Reject Your Loser Parents.)

3. My dad collapsed. Just this past December 23, my dad wound up in the hospital after falling and knocking his head. He’s unlikely to ever return to his home; he’ll most likely end up in assisted care living. It’s not good. Cat and I made immediate plans to fly across the country to be with him—but, alas, he asked us not to. Again: not the world’s greatest parent. The poor guy’s completely emotionally dysfunctional, and always has been. But he’s my dad and all that, and I hope I can see him at least one more time before he strolls onto that big fairway in the sky. (See Sad to Say, I Won’t Miss My Father.)

4. I started blogging for The Huffington Post. Over Mother’s Day weekend of this year, one of my first HuffPo posts (Ten Ways Christians Tend to Fail at Being Christian) went viral. It was shared on Facebook 4,413 times, Facebook “liked” 12,684 times, and reTweeted 2,178 times. For a day or two it was the number three story on all of Google News. I’ve had some very good luck with HuffPo; I’ve published some fifty-five pieces there since February—mostly on their Religion page, but also on their Books, Living, Comedy, and Divorce pages. My recent 10 Things To Do if She’s About to Divorce You was the #5 post listed in HuffPost Divorce: Blockbuster Posts of 2010. (Um, yeah: so now this post has become a resume. Sorry. Also, I want to say that continued to take fabulous care of me in 2010. They featured a ton of my content, and were just great all the way around.)

5. I ghost-wrote four books. Yes, for that work I got paid exceptionally well. But I (now) have a loathing beyond language for writing good books for people who don’t even read them, much less care about them. Doing that is (literally) sickening to me, because (and here’s something I’ll never say again) writing is for me something very close to sacred. I got paid to have my work—the best part of me—become part of a big, fat lie. No money’s worth that. Or, at least, for me, it hopefully won’t ever be again. (What I mean by “writing is sacred” is that the truth is sacred. And so the means by which the truth is communicated is sacred. In the beginning was the Word, and all of that. That’s why lying is such a profoundly terrible transgression: it perverts words, which are meant to convey the truth.)

6. I brought back full rights and all remaining copies of my book Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang. This was a huge thing for me; it took me literally years to make happen. (See “Penguins,” My “Blasphemous” Christian Book, Finally Returns Home.)

7. I signed with a new literary agent. During the summer of 2010, I became a client of mucho wonderful literary agent Kathy Helmers, of Creative Trust. Kathy counts among her other clients Donald Miller, Ted Dekker, Philip Yancey, and Brian McLaren. I like her a great deal. I look forward to seeing what kind of opportunities this new year might bring for the two of us.

8. I interviewed Charles Robbins, CEO of The Trevor Project. That piece—related, as it was, to the rash of gay teen suicides then happening across the country—went pretty large, and ended up with me doing quite a few posts about the relationship between gays and Christians. You can read my Robbins interview here.)

9. I launched the Facebook group, Thruway Christians. This was a big deal for me, because it threatened to seriously hurt me professionally. But I felt I had to do it—so I did. So far so good! But we’ll see.

10. My Facebook fan page grew from about 500 members to 2,127 members. That page isn’t some inconsequential vanity project for me. It’s a primary way that gatekeepers of media outlets use to determine my (or any artist’s) value. Every person who joins that page is one more step away from me ever again having to write somebody else’s book.

So … those are some of my Big Events for 2010.

My top 10 blog posts for 2010 (view-count wise) were:

1. Evangelicals and Muslims: Both Love Jesus (Thanks, StumbleUpon.)

2. What Non-Christians Want Christians To Hear (Thanks, StumbleUpon.)

3. The Gay Teen Suicide Rate and the Christian Condemnation of Gays

4. 7 Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships

5. How Is Being Gay Like Gluing Wings on a Pig?

6. What Would Jesus Do If Invited to a Gay Wedding?

7. Accosted by a Christian

8. The Real Reason Christians (and Others) Get So Crazy About Gays

9. Love Jesus? Hate Bigotry Toward Gays?

10. Bullies, Misfits, Gays — and Me, Alpha Boy

Soooo … that’s that wrap-up! See you guys in the new year!


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  • typo queen

    Are you still writing your own novel?

  • Anonymous

    I really, really, really am. It’s not really a NOVEL, though, so much as it is a really creative memoir.

  • Quite a momentous year you had there John. Lots of positive milestones you have managed to reach. I suspect 2011 will be as interesting for many of us.

  • Textjunkie

    And a happy New Year to you too, John!! Thanks for all the good points you made in 2010!!

  • Lee Walker

    glad to have become one of your many fans this year! 🙂

  • DR

    Wow. What a year. So glad that I got to be a part of it here. Happy New Year!

  • Anonymous
  • DR

    I was so surprised when this wasn’t #2. Whatever!

  • Anonymous

    Hey did you know you were jsut put on ?

    Hey me and the other guy were the ones who kept nagging you to write that article, as we really wanted to know WHY they hate gays so much. I kept cming back and coming back and nope you hadn’t written it yet. I think you were busy writing another book.

  • Anonymous

    Nah, I was just … waiting until it felt like the right time to write it.

  • Anonymous

    Although it didn’t make your top 10 for hits, the blog post I most remember was the one about the closeted married Christian man & then quite dramatically some how it was in the comments or something there was a closeted gay pastor.

  • Anonymous

    John, have you missed me? I was busy, I am a farmer and we brought in our harvest so I was not active for prolly almost 2 months.

  • Anonymous

    I always miss you. By the way, I am a straight grandfather. Not single tho, so I’m not trolling.

  • Anonymous

    Thx Don. Not trolling either but I must say if I was ever in the position I would think this website would be good hunting grounds, LOL. I have been busy for the last few days fighting almost 100% religious based bigotry towards GLBT people over at this new website I found Human Events. I got good training over here for this.