Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Best and Worst of Five Years of Blogging

Today is my five-year blogiversary. In honor of this more-or-less monumental achievement, I thought that I'd take a look back and bring you my five absolute favorite posts, followed by five mea culpas for posts that should never have been posted.

My Five Favorites

1. I Was Watching - During Lent 2008, I decided to take on a blogging discipline where I would intentionally write longer essay-type posts. This was one result, about how pastor's kids who enter the ministry themselves may often do it despite being pastor's kids. I tell part of my own story in the process.

2. Darren - Another result of that Lenten discipline, and I might call it the single-best entry that I've ever written in five years of blogging. This is about the loss of a college friend and experiencing the community of mourners who gathered to say goodbye.

3. Children's Sermons That Textweek Rejected - I don't know how much time you spend on, or whether you've ever ventured to the "For Children" section looking for children's sermon ideas, but I'm often not impressed with the vast majority of them. They take way too much preparation, are theologically (or just logically) questionable, or may leave the wrong impression with the kids. So I wrote this parody hoping to skewer all these things. This entry holds the record for number of comments, so I'm guessing it's not just me who thinks this way.

4. St. Louis - the First Year - This entry sat in my Drafts folder for a couple months before I actually posted it. It's about the struggles that I went through my first year of seminary; how it seemed nearly everything I thought I was sure about was upended during that time. My experiences both in and out of the classroom sparked a dark night of the soul that didn't end for nine months. This entry's purpose was to look back on what caused it, and to also be thankful for the growth that resulted from that time.

5. The Emerging Church in Rural Ohio - As regular readers know, I'm a pretty big fan of the emerging/emergent church. At times, though, I think aspects of it invite needed criticism. One aspect that I've picked up on is how often the emerging conversation seems to center on urban issues, or is meant to appeal primarily to big-city hipsters. This entry asks the question, "What about the rest of us?" It eventually was published in the online e-zine Next Wave as well.

Five Posts I Wish I'd Never Written

1. Living in Ohio is Awesome! - While walking to my car at a gas station one day, a guy yelled a homophobic slur out of his car window at me because I was wearing a Michigan shirt. So I composed this entry about how moronic it is to treat people like that on the basis of a sports rivalry. It was incredibly sarcastic, and I don't really regret much about the entry itself. It's more the comments that it inspired, which I finally decided to close. I still get hits on this entry through Google, mostly of course from people searching for "ohio is awesome." I didn't feel like having to referee an entry a few years old any more.

2. Paranoia, or Legitimate Beef? - A few years ago my church hosted a movie night. The original plan was to project a movie onto the side of the church and have everyone sit on blankets or lawn chairs. A week or two later, the big non-denominational church around the corner started advertising a drive-in, which I took at the time to be a direct shot at one-upsmanship. In retrospect, I probably blew it way out of proportion and I don't even really care that it happened now. Nevertheless, this entry sparked a flurry of discussion at a more conservative blog that lends itself to defending the honor of megachurches. The whole episode was much ado about nothing in the long run.

3. An Evening With Brian McLaren - This is my recap of a debate that I attended at Malone University between Brian McLaren and Malone professor Bryan Hollon. I don't regret writing this so much as I regret how I wrote it. If I could write this one over again, I would have written a more fair summation rather than the catty entry that I produced. I was needlessly harsh toward Hollon, and I probably could have worded my critique of McLaren much better as well so as not to invite quite so much defensiveness from fellow emergent Christians.

4. Back From Crying in My Beer - This entry should have caused me to get my privileges as a Michigan fan revoked, or at least suspended. Written a few days after the Appalachian State loss, I said all sorts of stupid things like considering switching allegiances (Michigan State? Really?) and implying that Lloyd Carr isn't a real Michigan Man. Dealing with your historically dominant football program showing serious cracks in the foundation apparently can cause you to say incredibly ridiculous things. Notice that the past two years I haven't written anything similar, though. I've weathered a lot as a fan these past 5-6 years, and this was a particularly weak moment.

5. The Entire "365 Albums" Category - You may or may not recall that this was my endeavor to listen to a new album a day for a year. It lasted six weeks. Coffeeson was very young at that point, and I was very tired, and this was mostly a case of bad timing. On the plus side, I heard some good music for that month and a half, and every once in a while I think about resuming. But not yet. As it stands now, I see this as a failed experiment and slightly embarrassing.