The Best of 2016

It’s The Monday Heretic’s third birthday! To celebrate that and the end of a very long and sometimes exhausting 2016, I’ve complied some of my favorite posts from the past year.

Hope your holidays were a time of rest and refreshment. Regular posts will resume next week! (Probably something related to Rogue One.)

2016

Most Popular Posts

Gold Medal: Lord of the Rings Valentines

Just like last year, my punny valentines climbed to the top. I find this hilarious, and plan to continue the series, though I haven’t settled on this year’s theme yet. I do have plenty of ideas, so we’ll see how long this keeps up.

Summary Quote: I think these you just have to see for yourself.

Silver Medal: Hamilton and the Danger of the Single Story

I’m glad this one did so well, because it links to a TED talk that I hope profoundly shapes the way I interact with people for the rest of my life. Also, a political post that wasn’t too terribly controversial, yay!

Summary Quote: “We will only be able to move forward as a nation if we learn to have civil dialogue on tough issues, if we speak with both grace and conviction. On a smaller scale, our relationships with those around us will benefit if we listen well, if we allow others to be complex and not defined by a handful of tweets, positions, and stereotypes.”

Bronze Medal: Of Course All Lives Matter. But…

I love it when I find an obscure historical scenario that relates to current events (we tend to repeat ourselves a lot, so it’s not surprising). This post is, in a way, the starting thoughts of an issue I’ve been thinking a lot about and will continue to think about, because there are no easy answers.

Summary Quote: “It’s not a matter of pinning blame or parsing statistics. It’s realizing that power can corrupt, injustice breaks God’s heart, and our black brothers and sisters live with fears and struggles we’ll never have to deal with. We affirm that all lives matter when we take the time to defend the lives of others and hear their stories.”

My Favorite Posts

In no particular order, a few of the highlights of the year from the blogger’s perspective. I can’t promise you that these are the best posts I wrote, but they’re at least the ones that stuck with me, sometimes because of what I learned while writing them, sometimes because of the discussions they sparked.

The Problem with Hating Nazis

This is something that’s bothered me for a long time, but I hadn’t pinned down why until I wrote it out. (Yes, about 45% of my opinions are formed as I actually write about them. Sorry if that’s alarming.)

Summary Quote: “It’s a simple sociological fact that makes movie producers trot out legions of bad guy armies with gas masks, hoods, weirdly shaped helmets, and other seemingly impractical fighting gear. Namely, that it’s easier to hate people when you can’t see their faces.”

Millennials: Don’t Abandon the Church

This is a topic I’m passionate about. I’m not one of those people who is super critical of my generation, because I know so many great people who belong to it. But this one covers an attitude I know a lot of people my age struggle with (because I do too).

Summary Quote: “We are the church. Not just the older folks, not just the married couples, and certainly not just the pastors. It is not “their” move. It is not us vs. them at all. It cannot be, or the church is going to self-destruct in a slow, cringe-worthy, pass-on-my-message-because-I’m-not-speaking-to-her-right-now sort of way where no one wants to be the first to break the silence and everyone is clutching tightly to their resentments and misunderstandings.”

On Leaving a Legacy

More Hamilton references, and thoughts on the perpetual struggle not to put your identity in your accomplishments, or even in dreaming of doing great things for God.

Summary Quote: “You build your tower toward the sky, and you’re not really trying to reach higher than God. But that tower’s still pretty impressive, isn’t it?”

Love the Hard People

I am selfish. (If you know me or have read more than three of my blog posts, you will probably recognize this.) I struggle to stick around when people are difficult, but I’ve also experienced how meaningful this is. Two very different movies helped me put that into words.

Summary Quote: “When the God brings someone difficult into our lives, we play through all the scenarios and what-ifs and possible misunderstandings and discomfort and decide it just isn’t worth it. We, with Peg, think it might just be better to leave things alone, because at least everyone will be safe and things will go back to normal.”

Kylo Ren and Me

Because Star Wars and sin nature. (That’s really all you need to know.)

Summary Quote: “What if the way out of temptation hurts or costs us something? What if it feels like something good dying along with the bad? What if a relationship can’t be saved but has to be removed, a dream job has to end for us to say yes to God’s call, our security has to be taken away from us for a while so we learn what it means to have faith?”

Almost Midnight: A Story for Maundy Thursday

So, I have an annual Good Friday tradition that is not of the adorable, heartwarming variety, but I’ve found it very meaningful. This is part of that series.

Summary Quote: “Sometimes I wonder about Pharaoh—how could someone who had seen all the miracles of God that he had, who had heard God’s messenger predict exactly what would happen still make the choice he did? And then I realize I already know: power.”

Advent Stories: The Scribe

I love writing these Advent Stories. It’s fun to shake things up and write stories instead of traditional posts, and this was my favorite of this year’s lot, probably because I like giving people permission to be sad, even at Christmas time.

Summary Quote: “Sometimes I have longed for God to give me a message, like one of the prophets of old. What would it be like to dare to speak his name, to feel the Spirit move within me and open my mouth to shout, ‘Thus says the LORD’? Then maybe something in this broken world could be restored. Maybe the people would turn back. Maybe the Deliverer would come. I have prayed and prayed. But a message from God has not come. So I remain faithful in the silence.”

(To go to past blog birthday parties, here are 2015 and 2014.)

Thanks for joining me this year! I always enjoy writing these posts and look forward to more in 2017.

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