October 23, 2017

Looking back at Internet Monk, 2014

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It is time for our annual review here at Internet Monk. 2014 was a good year, with lots and lots of good conversations. I hope you enjoyed it as much as our writers and I did. Before I say anything else, therefore, please accept a hearty “thank you” from all of us for your faithful participation here at the iMonastery.

The first list for review is our “most discussed” posts. These are the pieces that generated the most comments throughout the year. I did not include Open Forum or Saturday Ramblings posts in the list, even though they often received as many or more comments than some of the most discussed posts that were dedicated to a particular topic.

You will notice characteristics which mark many of these popular articles:

  1. Our friend Mike Bell really got us talking throughout 2014. Nice job, Mike!
  2. Sex is always popular. Homosexuality is always hard to talk about without a big argument.
  3. Mark Driscoll = a lightning rod.
  4. Bible subjects such as the beginning of the world and the end of the world, of which no one has any personal knowledge, are topics people love to talk about.

I encourage you to go back and review some of these most discussed posts. They really stirred up good conversations.

MOST-DISCUSSED POSTS IN 2014

January 9 — Chaplain Mike, “A Defense of Megachurches” (221 comments)

January 24 — Mike Bell, “When Science Changes” (234 comments)

March 18 — Chaplain Mike, “Goodbye, Angry Young Prophet?” (295 comments)

March 27-28 — Chaplain Mike, “The Real Issue (that no one wants to talk about)” (282 comments), and Mike Bell, “Ashamed!” (291 comments)

April 4 — Mike Bell, “What Hill Are You Willing to Die On?” (238 comments)

July 9 — Marci Alborghetti, “Sanctity of Life and the Death Penalty” (248 comments)

August 1 — Mike Bell, “Things I ‘Learned’ from Rapture Theology” (200 comments)

September 19 — Mike Bell, “How I Became . . . A Theistic Evolutionist” (249 comments)

September 24 — Chaplain Mike, “The Conservative Evangelical View of Inerrancy” (200 comments)

October 3 — Mike Bell, “How I Became . . . An Arminian” (213 comments)

October 9 — Chaplain Mike, “The Balance Has Tipped” (220 comments)

November 4 — Chaplain Mike (with guest), “Guest Raises Questions about Premarital Sex” (336 comments)

November 25 — Chaplain Mike, “Biblical Marriage: BEYOND Traditional” (225 comments)

• • •

8311442480_36c9a08dac_zI continue to enjoy the privilege of being lead writer on IM. I couldn’t do it without the support of those who have been able to contribute regularly, such as Damaris, Lisa, Dan, and Adam P. We heard from Martha occasionally this year, and we’re all still missing Jeff. We welcomed some new gifted friends such as Adam McHugh, Daniel Grothe, Rob Grayson, and Marci Alborghetti. Some of our faithful readers such as Miguel, Randy, and Tokah gave strong contributions, and we were delighted that such talented writers as Peter Enns, Jonathan Aigner, Matt B. Redmond, Jason Stellman, Andrew Perriman, Fr. Ernesto Obregon, and Fr. Stephen Freeman lent us material to post or re-post here.

I’m sure I’ve missed somebody, so please bear with my poor memory here. The point is: Internet Monk is a community, of writers as well as readers, and I am blessed to be part of that. I encourage you to go back through the archives and re-read the wonderful writing we have been privileged to present here from this talented group.

I’ll conclude this little retrospective with a list of some of the pieces I enjoyed writing most in 2014.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE PERSONAL POSTS FROM 2014

“A Long Way from the Lake” (January 26). I find myself a long way from the place where I first heard Jesus call, “Follow Me!” Sometimes I wonder where that young, energetic disciple disappeared and what it means to still hear Jesus calling today.

“Outside the Camp” (March 2). Eventually, in late 2014, I came to accept my theological and ecclesiastical status as a “spiritual mongrel.” This was the first of several posts that expressed my sense that I don’t seem to fit in comfortably anywhere.

“Our Life and Witness: Local, Quiet, Pastoral” (March 30). This has been a fairly consistent theme in my pastoral writings. Being a faithful Christian is not about taking the “right” stands on the “big issues” of the day, it’s about loving the neighbor right in front of my face.

“You Are Free to Love” (Good Works Week VI, May 23). We had a whole week on the subject of good works. Yes, there is a way to talk about them, encourage them, and insist upon their necessity without lapsing into works-righteousness. And that’s what we tried to do.

“The Great Methodological Heresy” (July 2). Simply put, Christians don’t win by winning. No matter what the culture warriors try to tell you. The cross teaches us otherwise.

“My Outlook, My Faith, and My Hope” (September 17). My concise personal creed.

“Under Roiling Skies” (October 22). A day in my life, under apocalyptic heavens.

“As It Was in the Beginning” (Fall, or Folly? #4, November 13). This post concluded a controversial series, in which I suggest that the traditional language of “the Fall” does not accurately describe what is happening in the early chapters of Genesis. It’s a wisdom story, folks.

“Fundamental mistakes in reading Genesis 1-2” (December 3). I hope this piece will provide a bit of exegetical clarity to texts we too easily assume we know.

“A shepherd’s ambiguous apologetic” (December 11). There is no defending God. He’s real and I know it. That’s about the best I can do.

Comments

  1. Congrats, Mike, to you and all those that helped to make IMonk a great blog in ’14!

    The bar has been set pretty high for the coming year.

  2. I love the iMonk community. Thanks to you, Chaplain Mike, for your continued leadership in keeping it running, and to all the contributors and commentors.

    My two favorite articles this year were your “My Outlook, My Faith, and My Hope” (listed above) and “10 Words from the OT that guide my journey” (http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/10-words-from-the-ot-that-guide-my-journey), the idea of which I used as a prompt for my church’s men’s group.

  3. Thanks for what you writers, and administrators, do here.

  4. Thanks for a wonderful, challenging and thought provoking year to you Chaplain Mike, and to all of the other contributors.

    I had several favorites, but at the top of the list for me is “You are Free to Love” – Good Works Week VI.

  5. simply put…thank you to all who dwell here. I feel community here and receive encouragement to continue on.

  6. This remains my favorite site for spiritual reading. Thank you for all your work.

  7. Dan Crawford says:

    This past Sunday while chatting with several fellow parishioners, I mentioned something I had read on Internet Monk. Oh my gosh, they said, one of our favorite blogs, and we continued our discussion about favorite posts. They and I share some of the posts on our Facebook pages. I check this site every day – I’d been following Michael since 2007 and continue with the Monk today. Always interesting, occasionally provocative, and very often personally inspiring, it is a daily blessing. Keep up the good work, Chaplain Mike, and please encourage Martha of I to give us more.

  8. 2014 has been one of if not the best years of my life…for many reasons, most of which all the good folk would condemn. Yet I’m happier, more stable, more content, less depressed, less angry…everything is just better. My life is transforming physically, mentally, spiritually…everywhere. 2014 has been amazing. I’m actually excited for what 2015 will bring.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Ditto. 2014 has been a great year.

      And lots of good stuff on IM too. It is one of the rare places I feel I get honesty and a careful look at the texts so important to all of us here; so much *using* of Scripture everywhere else. Here I get to hear what it says to people who are listening to Scipture rather than using Scripture. The range of topics is great too, it doesn’t just dwell on the Hot issues.

  9. Thanks again, CM and crew; wishing you a holy and blessed 2015. IM is a very good and necessary way to serve. I also hope Martha is able to contribute more.

    May Our Lord grant Michael S. Eternal Memory.

    Dana

  10. Thanks to Mike and all the crew for all the hard work you put in here. IM is the single site I’ve followed longer than any other.

    And thanks for doing me the honour of sharing some of my posts this year 🙂

    A very happy New Year to all!

  11. OldProphet says:

    I loved all the posts! I love the mental gymnastics and the contesting of rapier wits that imonk allows. Thanks for 2014! W, you’re my favorite. Stuart, you’re my second. And, Robert F., well, you know. Every one else is tied for 4th! So, all in my top 5. And those who don’t like my ratings? Write me a letter. No address, oh sorry. But seriously, there is always hope that I can pull all of you back into the Evangelical camp. As the great Gene Scott said, “every one has the right to be wrong”. Happy New Year Chaplain Mike, and thanks for allowing me to be a part of the great body of believers. Ducks by 4

  12. This past year was very good here. The thought that this coming year will be even better gives me what I need to deal with the rest of it. God bless you all! Happy New Year!!!

  13. Vega Magnus says:

    Thank you so much for publishing my post, CM. It was extremely illuminating and a lot of fun to read the comments and talk to various people about their views.

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I notice that at least three of those on the list revolved around the World Vision HOMOSEXUALITY fight.