ANNUAL REVIEW – 2012
The always controversial Mark Driscoll and the buzz generated by reports of “church discipline” at Mars Hill Church and the release of his book, “Real Marriage,” stirred up conversation at the beginning of 2012. Then, there was an email I received in response to our Driscoll posts. It came from a young man named Donny B. and it moved us to talk about what life is like for “today’s young, lonely, suburban American men.” Powerful and challenging, it remains a topic we need to talk about.
1/6/12: Top of My “Don’t Read” List
1/10/12: Guest Post: Quiet Desperation (Donny B.)
1/25/12: MPT Posts on Church Discipline — And I Suggest a Better Way
Our most discussed post in February was written in the form of an imaginary conversation between Chaplain Mike and a Concerned Christian. CM spoke about how he would not be interested in having a church that approached the faith by trying to control and manage people, but would rather simply and regularly invite them to Jesus. Everyone welcome. Some agreed and some did not, but it certainly stirred up a conversation!
2/13/12: Why Gays, Republicans, and Other Notorious Sinners Are Welcome at My Church
When “the weather outside is frightful,” Pastor John Piper has had a habit of sticking a smelly theological foot in his mouth. We called him on it in March. Chaplain Mike said Piper’s response was more akin to Islam than Christianity, as well as “inappropriate, not helpful, pastoral, or loving,” with inexcusable timing; an approach that disrespects God and hurting people. CM got worked up about this, and you obviously wanted to talk about it.
3/6/12: OTD: Obsessed with Tornadoes Disorder
Must be something about spring. Chaplain Mike went on another rant in April — this time in response to the gifted but often clueless Doug Wilson. Wilson wrote a misguided and mean-spirited post about “effeminate worship” — another Neo-Reformed effort at promoting “masculine Christianity” — and bullying those who think differently. CM just couldn’t let that go, and we had a vibrant discussion as a result.
4/23/12: “Esau Christianity?” Doug Wilson Needs a Bible Study
In May, with fear and trembling we waded into the turbulent waters of the biggest culture war issue of our day: homosexuality. First, Jeff asked us to think about lines and where we think we should draw them — not based on principles of morality or our culture war stances, but according to what Jesus would do. That led to a great conversation. A few days later, Chaplain Mike took on the six passages of Scripture which directly address the subject of homosexual behavior. He led us on a tour of these texts and tried to keep us on topic as we discussed them.
5/17/12: Drawing a Line in the Sand (Jeff Dunn)
5/21/12: What Does the Bible Actually Say about Homosexuality?
Weren’t there some things that happened in politics in 2012? As much as we tried to avoid getting involved, at certain points we chimed in on political themes. When the Affordable Care Act (which Chaplain Mike absolutely refuses to call “Obamacare”) was declared legal, we talked about it. After all, CM is a health care worker, and this affects his vocation as well as his faith. It affects a lot of you too, as the discussion showed.
6/29/12: A Few Thoughts on the Affordable Care Act Decision and Health Care in the U.S.
Jesus-shaped spirituality is always a topic of discussion on Internet Monk. When someone becomes a popular Christian teacher and starts promoting law-based spirituality rather than a life that is rooted in Christ and grace, then you’d better believe Internet Monk is going to speak up. In his book “Crazy Love” and in a video we observed, we heard Francis Chan say that if you are not “obsessed, consumed with Christ, fixated on Jesus, risk-taking, radical, and wholly surrendered” then you’re not going to be in heaven. We disagreed. Violently. You wanted to talk about it.
7/10/12: No Super Christians
Jeff took on one of the darlings of the fundamentalists when he wrote his August post on David Barton, the self-proclaimed “historian,” whose revisionist rendering of America’s past has great influence over many who matter in the halls of power. And folks, that’s what it’s all about — power, not truth. Jeff, on the other hand, insisted that truth matters.
8/14/12: The Barton Lies (Jeff Dunn)
Jeff stirred up the most discussion in September as well, this time by writing about the “class bully” of the science class, Ken Ham. Ham had just taken on Bill Nye, and in turn, Ham was taken on by Peter Enns. After straightening out all the triangulation, Jeff asks, “Does anyone else wish Ken Ham would just go away?” Well yes, but if he did, who else would generate so much conversation on Internet Monk?
9/27/12: Creation Wars Remix (Jeff Dunn)
Ah, October: my favorite month of the year. October 2012 was devoted to the subject of church music, and, although we didn’t have a single post that generated over 200 comments, we broke all records for readership during the month. On some days, nearly 6000 unique visits were recorded, which indicates that church music is a passionate area of interest for many of you. The most-discussed post was Chaplain Mike’s reflection on contemporary “liturgy” and how it bears uncanny resemblance to nature’s pattern of sexual arousal and satisfaction, leading people to imagine that the goal of worship is an emotionally-charged, even sensual experience with God.
10/8/12: Worship Is Not Sex
Chaplain Mike was on sabbatical in November, but the other writers kept writing, the readers kept reading, and the commenters kept commenting. Our most discussed post was a guest post by Scott Lencke, which came to Jeff via the recommendation of Mike Bell. Issues of gender and church leadership are always of interest to us here at Internet Monk, and in this article Lencke brings out one of the most pertinent points in the discussion: the new creation brought about through Christ’s resurrection.
11/29/12: Guest Post: The Church Of England, Women Bishops, NT Wright & Complementarians (Scott Lencke)
We’re still in December, so we might yet be able to top our book review of Justin Lee’s excellent book, “Torn,” but whether we do or not, what he wrote is a remarkable and invaluable contribution to the ongoing discussion about how we relate to our LGBT brothers and sisters in the church. Frankly, I’m surprised we didn’t get 300 comments on this one. But whether you talk about it here or not, I hope you will get a copy of the book and discuss it in your congregation.
12/10/12: IM Book Review: Why Many Are “Torn”