In my previous post, and in most posts where I do any kind of reflecting on the nature of blogging or marking milestones in the life of this blog or whatever, I commented on how I’m regularly surprised at which posts garner attention here and which generate only the slightest of ripples. So, because it’s the last day of 2016 and because the soccer game I’m watching this morning is kind of dull and I’ve been absent-mindedly browsing through last year’s archives, I thought it would be fun to post a “top five according to me.” Or a “top five posts that I felt pretty good abut that languished in relative statistical obscurity. Or “five posts that are feeling lonely.” Or something like that.
At any rate, here are five posts that I think touched on important or interesting or amusing themes, and that received comparatively little attention in 2016 along with a brief description of each.
A reflection on the biblical significance of “forty” alongside the uncomfortable experience of actually being forty. The post concludes with some of the important and life-giving things I have learned in my journey with Jesus over these forty or so years.
A month or so of excruciating neck and back pain occasioned this piece on suffering and its causes. Might the doctrine of original sin represent a bit of theological “reverse engineering” in an attempt to account for our pervasive experience of and contribution to the pain of the world.
Maybe the pervasiveness of human depravity and selfishness and greed and lust and violence and God knows what else was a symptom so ugly and so widespread that we collectively said something like, “Well what kind of an awful cause could lead to an effect this bad?” We must have sin in our origins!
Frozen: A (Whiny) History of Suffering
This one was just a bit of fun after a trip to the dentist. I’m not sure what it says about me that I think I do some of my best writing when I am self-indulgently complaining… 🙂
Do we make up reality as we go? Are human beings the arbiters of what is good and true and beautiful? Are we our own little gods? Or is human life lived within objective existential constraints? A fascinating passage from a novel by Jesse Ball occasioned a reflection on some of these vitally important questions that we often seemed determined to ignore.
If objectivity is reduced to inconvenient fiction, then subjectivity becomes a tyrannical master. If nothing is given, then everything must be taken.
On the Occasion of Your Fifteenth Birthday
A letter I wrote to my fifteen-year-old twins on their birthday inviting them to embrace higher aspirations than being true to themselves. As is often the case when I write to or about my kids, what comes out contains some of my deepest longings for them, for myself, and for all of us, really.