Looking Back on 2014 and Forward to 2015

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As 2014 is winding down, I thought it would be a good time to go back and revisit some of the most popular posts on my little blog here. I say most “popular” with a heavy dose of humility as popular here pales in comparison to popular elsewhere on the internet. 2014 was my first year of consistent, weekly blogging. There were some hiccups, but I somehow managed to put out 142 posts that brought in nearly 4,000 views. I want to say a big “Thank You” to those 4000 sets of eyes who took the time to read what I write and share you thoughts and comments. Your conversation and support is greatly appreciated. With that said, here are the top 5 posts (by views) that I rolled out on the blog in 2014:

  • Advent Lectio: Comfort When There is Little to be Found This should come as little surprise that my first post about the miscarriage of our baby girl, Zoey Grace, flew to the top of this list. It was only posted earlier this month, but the outpouring of support from friends and family all across the country made this the post popular post of 2014. I know this post was helpful for me in working through the craziness of the situation, but I was also surprised at the amount of people who revealed how healing and touching it was for them as well.
  • The Biggest Myth Revealed by School Shootings Posted in the wake of the high school shooting in Troutdale, Oregon I lamented about how we in America believe violence to be a solution to our problems. Especially in America, we glorify and define our history by moments of violence. I point out that Jesus seems to come along to reverse this myth that violence solves problems by acting in ways that attempt to end the rolling cycle of violence (see Matthew 5:38-42).
  • Saint of the Week – Lin Zhao Agatha Some saints get regular attention throughout the year. This one was a sleeper surprise to me. Practically every week somebody stumbles over to my blog by searching for this saint. Lin Zhao Agatha is a somewhat obscure, Chinese saint, that has a short but powerful story. Born in 1817 and beheaded in 1858 for her faith, Lin Zhao Agatha’s story should enlighten us to the struggles that our current brothers and sisters in the faith still encounter in China.
  • 10 Things I Learned from my Dad – Part 1 This post appearing in the top 5 should not be a big surprise either. Posted after the passing of my father I spent two posts going over 10 things my dad taught me. Some were taught directly (like mowing the lawn) but most were learned by just watching my dad and learning his character. Lessons like how to love my wife, the importance of Sunday naps and being involved in church were picked up more through experience rather than instruction. Be sure to check out Part 2 to get the full list.
  • Saint of the Week – Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe Another saint rounds out the top 5 posts of 2014. This one was not that much of a surprise. Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe had quite a year. She was named one of Times 100 Most Influential People in 2014, appeared on the Colbert Report and had her work featured in a documentary called Sewing Hope. Since 2001, Sister Rosemary has worked to save nearly 2000 girls from being forced to be child soldiers or sex slaves in Africa. At the St. Monica Girls’ Tailoring School in Gulu, Uganda Sister Rosemary teaches them to sew, cook and other skills and will help place them in consistent jobs in their community. The story of Sister Rosemary is one we all should know.
  • Honorable Mention – Brittany Maynard’s Choice and the Challenge of Death – I wanted to also highlight this post as it sparked the most conversation on the blog and on Facebook. The post looked at the choice of Brittany Maynard to move to Oregon and utilize their Death with Dignity option after discovering she had terminal brain cancer. The post examined what death and dying looks like in our modern medical world and what it means to “play God”. We are given the option, by God it seems, to act as his caretakers of earth and humanity. What matters is how we choose to play God with the choices and opportunities we’ve been given.

So, where will this blog be going in 2015? Truthfully, God only knows. However, I do plan to try and continue posting at least one blog post a week along with the regular prayers on Sunday morning. The Lenten Lectio and Advent Lectio series will continue as usual. Something I’m considering switching up is not doing a regular saint of the week. I have not been as consistent with a weekly saint as it does take a bit of work to find a good story to highlight. This may transform to a Saint of the month because I would like to continue highlighting people who are doing, or have done, great things for the church. To replace the weekly Saint, I will instead try to do a weekly, lectio type, reflection on a Psalm or segment of a Psalm. The Psalm will come from the lectionary reading for the upcoming Sunday as provided by one of many online resources I frequent for lectionary matters (The Text This Week, Mission Saint Clare, Sunday Worship app).

Thanks again for a great year. Please continue to read, comment and share my posts on your social network of choice to further the conversation.

God bless.

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