The Best of 2018

It’s the first Monday in the new year, at that means…time for a blog birthday party! It’s still crazy to me that the blog I started in January of 2014 has lasted this long.

5 cake

In 2018, I wrote 39 posts, which is less than any previous year. Before, I’d only give myself a week off if I was deathly ill or it was a major holiday. This year I let myself skip if I was working on another writing project or had a busy weekend or just didn’t have anything worthwhile to say.

Overall, I’m a fan of the change and the freedom to pause…which is also why I’ll be taking the rest of January off. I love exploring my faith through writing, but I also feel like it might be time to step away and spend more time with God without an audience. So I’ll see you in February!

Here are a few of my favorite posts of the year, in no particular order. (So yes, it’s a “Best of”…but according to me, so a little biased.)

What Matters More than Your Problems

Why: The great thing about doing a post reflecting on a great song is that you have most of your content given to you already, and Andrew Peterson’s “Is He Worthy?” is my favorite song of 2018.

Quote: “When you’re repeating back God’s faithfulness with dozens of your brothers and sisters, from all different backgrounds, suffering in a hundred different ways and still singing…you start to be able to feel the things you know in your head.”

Baby Dedications for the Rest of Us

Why: Basically any time I get a chance to talk to my generation, and myself, about how being a part of the church means serving others and not just being served, I’m in. Also, it was through the church that I realized I actually enjoy kids. Who knew?

Quote: “Here’s the thing, though: you don’t get a family—a real, beautiful, stuck-with-each-other sort of family—without sacrifice.”

Chase Your Ordinary Dream: Time Travel Edition

Why: I’m a history nerd.

Do I really need a longer explanation?

Okay, fine, contrasting two pre-Civil-war preachers was fascinating because it shows that not much has changed. You’ll always have your private-jet feel-good-gospel leaders…and the ones who do what’s right, even at great cost and without reward here on earth. Also I just really want to hang out with Leonard Grimes in heaven.

Quote: “Appearances can be deceiving. Faithfulness has a cost. And history sometimes exalts the unworthy and forgets the selfless heroes…but God does not.”

Judas and the Mermaids: the Seduction of Sin

Why: My annual Judas post almost always makes my favorite list, because it’s helpful in shaking up my perspective on important things, especially my own sin. Add an eerie mermaid song, and this is a lesson I’ve returned to a few times throughout the year.

Quote: “We have to start with ‘All sin is seduction, and it leads to death’—even our sin—before we can get to the glorious truth of ‘God’s grace is salvation and it leads to life’—even for our sin.”

Come Quiet

Why: This is a lesson I’ve been kicking around for several years now, so it was fun to finally put it into words and share it. (Slightly ironic, since the whole point is that sometimes we don’t need to have everything spelled out and expressed? Maybe.)

Quote: “And maybe it’s good, sometimes, to remember that our words—that even my many, many words—are ultimately not enough. The best response to the hard times of life is not frequent check-ins with others for reassurance, more logical reasoning, a longer to-do list or a five-year plan…but silence in the presence of a God who is in heaven and in control.”

(If you’re interested in past “Best of” posts for some guidance in exploring the archives, here are: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.)

 

 

4 comments

  1. Enjoy the break! You are one of the only bloggers whose posts I approach with a mixture of anticipatory delight, amusement, and curiosity — I am never exactly sure what you are going to write, but, unfailingly, I always find myself stimulated, enjoying it, rejuvenated by it, and benefiting from it. I’m glad you’re only taking a break. In all of these things, your writing is very gentle, never overwhelming. I’ll stop with the compliments now before it sounds like I’m trying to butter you up or something — but I mean it.

    May God rest and refresh your spirit. Laird’s _Into the Silent Land_ for you for January?

  2. I just read your piece about modesty. You’re young, so I am not offended by your article. You’ll grow into this writing thing. I just want to offer a few points to consider.
    1) Your article is one I may have posted at your stage in life. To support a rebellion against the culture of the day is quite normal. I was a rebel myself.
    2) Your pro-liberal bias was apparent. The pro-conservative faction would see it right away and dismiss what you had to say. That does nobody any good. You want both sides to read the whole thing.
    3) Like it or not, every generation and every culture has it’s own taboos and it’s own rebellion against the previous generation’s norms and standards.
    4) The Bible is not to be interpreted based on the culture and circumstances of the time of it’s writing. Those words were, literally, “breathed out by God.” and should be understood as if they were written today and to each person and culture in which we find ourselves. God, in His infinite wisdom, did not write a book that would only be understood in it’s fullness by those first reading it.
    5) A woman needs to ask herself why she is wearing a particular fashion, for instance, a short skirt. The standard for women has always been to wear the clothing most likely to attract male attention, pushing the lines of decency farther each time. In other words, intentionally provocative. There would be no other reason to wear the shortest skirt possible, a thong bathing suit, tight clothing or deeply cut cleavage to reveal the most breast cleavage possible.
    6) In short, for a woman of any culture, at any time to wear intentionally provocative and sexual clothing, jewelry, makeup or anything else is blatantly sinful and immodest.

    Don’t you agree?
    Louis

    1. Hi Louis,

      Thanks for joining the conversation! I actually really appreciate hearing from people who disagree with some of the things I have to say. I’m going to assume you’re talking about “What We Should Talk About Instead of Modesty.” (I’ve written a few others in the past that deal more with the actual subject of modesty in dress rather than where feminine beauty really lies.)

      Interestingly…I knowingly addressed my post to a audience of relatively conservative Midwestern Bible-church friends (about half of my subscribers), and their feedback was positive, so your concern that they would read the post in a hostile way didn’t appear, at least in the conversations I had. I think what they focused on was the intent of the post: that it becomes easy to obsess over physical appearance in many different ways rather than focusing on attitude, character, and pursuit of holiness.

      Should those things change everything else in our lives, including how we dress? Of course. But I think it’s a mistake to teach young girls to fixate on legalistic rules rather than teaching them to know and love the God of the rules and to pursue godliness in every aspect of their lives.

      Since communication is always difficult, it’s certainly possible to get a different point out of that post. And of course not everyone would agree with even that, especially my readers who aren’t Christians. But just wanted to reiterate as I did in the post that the point wasn’t to take a position for or against short skirts or any other fashion, though you certainly could reason an argument from Scripture on that topic, but to hold social media to a higher standard: to desire that girls’ hearts pursue Christ more than they want girls’ hems to follow a set of length guidelines. I think all of us want that, but it sometimes doesn’t come out in what we focus on when talking to and about them.

      Again, thanks for commenting!

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