What the Hell, Bell? A Response to Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”

Christian Pastor Rob Bell is raising hell these days with his latest book, Love Wins.  The controversy stems from the book’s claims about the fallacy of  the longstanding Christian teaching on hell: that it’s a real place of torment people go to if they don’t accept Jesus Christ.  Many are calling Bell a heretic, and many others are defending him, but what’s the real deal?  What is Bell really saying in this book, and should Christians be careful to watch out for his message?

I want to cover some of the credentials I have for responding to this particular book.  For one, I did actually read it.  I know this seems obvious, but I wanted to make that perfectly clear right out of the gate.  Also, I have read extensively from books covering Christian teachings and experiences.  These include a number of books by C.S. Lewis, Watchman Nee, A.W. Tozer, Billy Graham,Dietrich Bonhoeffer , and many others.  But what really makes me qualified to respond to this book is my active faith in Christ.  I take my faith seriously, and this has led me to read and study the scriptures both on my own and with others, and also to do what Jesus says.  What I’m saying is, it’s deeply personal.

Rob Bell is a big deal for the Christian community in America.  He writes very popular books and has a hugely popular video series called, NOOMA.  Bell has much influence, which is why it is wise to consider what he’s saying in his various messages.  For the most part, I am confident that Christians as a whole agree with Bell’s message about Jesus being the most important factor in anyone’s life.  If you investigate his teachings, you will find Jesus everywhere.  This is great, and may no one criticize him for it.

In Love Wins, Bell says a lot of good things.  He says, “I believe that Jesus’s story is first and foremost about the love of God for every single one of us” (4)  Certainly, who could dispute that the gospels are a radical illustration of God’s love for mankind?  He writes about how God is eager to bring us into His family and give us new life.  He identifies and criticizes overly religious Christians who attempt to do good and as a result believe themselves to be better than the rest.  He calls out Christians who are judgmental regarding homosexuals and members of other religions.  Bell focuses heavily on social justice, and identifies sex trafficking and the need for clean water in many places as a few issues that Christians should be passionate about.  This is all true and good for Bell to address.  I commend him for it.

Bell gets much right, but he gets some crucial things very wrong, which shows me why so many Christians, including the popular Christian Pastor John Piper, are opposed to his message.

The most striking aspect of Bell’s book, in my opinion, is that it completely lacks a critical piece of God.  What I am referring to is the third member of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.  Bell writes much about Jesus and God the Father, which is wonderful and good.  But it strikes me as odd that he would leave out one whom Jesus calls The Spirit of truth.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15 (Emphasis added)

The Holy Spirit is a big deal.  Consider the first few chapters of the book of Acts.   Jesus told his followers to wait for the Holy Spirit to come soon after he ascended to heaven.  When the Holy Spirit came, Jesus’s followers were empowered to speak with authority about Jesus and the scriptures.  The Holy Spirit gave them the ability to speak to the hearts of the people and truly transform them.  The Holy Spirit gave them the power to heal the sick.  The Holy Spirit is the power of God that fills Christ’s followers for the purpose of saving those who are lost.  The Holy Spirit is a big deal, and Rob Bell doesn’t mention him.  Sadly, the Holy Spirit isn’t known by many Christians in America, and perhaps this is why we don’t see revival and the awesome power of God poured out.

The first few hundred years after Christ were difficult for Christians.  They were heavily persecuted.  Thousands upon thousands were murdered for their devotion to Christ.  Many endured unspeakable tortures in the name of remaining true to their faith.  Now, keeping that in mind, I want you to consider Bell’s painfully nuanced explanation of how everyone can be saved by Christ without needing to actually believe in him.

First, there is exclusivity.  Jesus is the only way. Everybody who doesn’t believe in him and follow him in the precise way  is defined by the group doing the defining isn’t saved, redeemed, going to heaven…There is that kind of exclusion.  You’re either in, or you’re going to hell.  Then there is inclusivity.  The kind that is open to all religions, the kind that trusts that good people will get in, that there is only one mountain, but it has many paths…And then there is an exclusivity on the other side of inclusivity.  This kind insists that Jesus is the way, but holds tightly to the assumption that the all-embracing, saving love of this particular Jesus the Christ will include all sorts of unexpected people from across the cultural spectrum.  As soon as the door is open to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists…many Christians necome very uneasy, saying that then Jesus doesn’t matter anymore, the cross is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter what you believe… Not true…What Jesus does is declare that he, and he alone is saving everybody (77-78 Emphasis added)

Who would go to their death for that belief?  If everyone is going to be saved inevitably, what was wrong with all of those Christians yesterday and today who refuse to deny their lord, even at the hands of tyrants?  What’s at stake, and where is the sacrifice?  Would the same Jesus who tells us to pick up our cross and follow him then turn around and say that we don’t need to actually believe in him to find redemption with God?  Is this an intellectually and spiritually fulfilling image of God?

The final thing I want to mention is that Bell, like Brian McLaren and many others in the Emergent Church movement are pretty much declaring that Christians have gotten it wrong for 2000 years, and now they have it figured out.  All that stuff about sin bringing about God’s wrath and judgment, and the need for Christ’s death on the cross to make a way for those who believe in Him, and only Him, to be saved from eternal separation from the Almighty is outdated and misleading.  There really isn’t an ultimate consequence to rejecting God’s only Son.  All we need do is talk about it.  Ask questions with no answers.   Treat faith like one of many possible life choices.  Stand firm on no absolute truth.

I don’t want hell to exist.  Believe me.  But any honest Christian, or even a faithless scholar studying the bible would tell you that hell is spoken about rather clearly.  It’s not something that you can just choose to ignore.  All of this business about God’s wrath, though it isn’t particularly popular these days, is just as true now as it was when it was first written.  All of this business about Jesus coming to save us, and giving us His life is also just as true.

Jesus Christ is a real person, and not just a name or a figure.  When you accept him, you accept him.  You don’t accept a concept of him.  You are made new by believing in a real God.  And there are real consequences for accepting or rejecting him.

Thinking Like a Feminist: Yes, You Read That Correctly

Certain words are inflammatory.  I seem to remember writing a post about this a few months back.   Words like abortion, liberal, conservative, gay, lesbian, Christian, Muslim, etc have the potential to really get the blood going.  Another example would be the word, feminist.  Some people hear this and they get excited about female empowerment and gender based justice, and others become irritated at the thought of Joy Behar and Rachel Maddow going off on a sarcastic tangent.  Certainly, we all have a gut reaction to the word.

I have used the title, Thinking Like a Feminist, but I’m sure I’m not using the word exactly as it is meant to be used. (Notice that I used the word used three times in that sentence.  This breaks one of my “unwritten” rules on sentence structure.)  For my purposes today I am using it with the meaning, women’s advocate.  So, my title is really, Thinking Like a Women’s Advocate.  Very good.

I recently saw the film, Limitless, with Bradley Cooper.  The premise is that he’s a struggling loser of a writer who gets access to a drug that makes him a zillion times smarter.  In a few short days he finishes an incredible book and finds that he can convince any woman to have sex with him.  Then he… oh, wait a second.  What did I just type?  Let’s see here, “he can convince any woman to have sex with him.”  Hmm, what’s that about?

This character learns that with all of his new-found confidence and smarts he can charm women into sleeping with him.  It’s actually a little like what Bill Murray did in Groundhog Day when he learned all about Nancy in order to eventually sleep with her.  But Groundhog Day revolves around a solid love for the female lead, so I don’t think it can be condemned on this front.

In one scene Cooper’s character seduces his angry landlord’s wife.  She goes from hating him to lusting after him in about five minutes.  I found this, and similar occurrences in the film to be troubling.  What does this say about men and women?  What does this say about women?  I don’t think it’s good.

Showing a male lead easily seducing women by charming them is not new to Hollywood.  Just about every Bond film has him charming the pants off of women in order to engage in shallow sex.  How many times have you seen a male character use manipulation in order to sleep with a female character?  Too many, I assure you.  When someone is “The Man” they can disarm any woman.  Women are helpless to resist.  What’s wrong with this?

Do you remember the Garden of Eden?  Remember when the serpent manipulated the woman (some would say charmed) into disobeying God by eating the fruit?  How is this any different?  You have the strong, charming, confident character exercising his dominance over a “weaker” creature.  Just as Eve appeared helpless to resist the clever devil, women on screen cannot seem to resist confident clever men.  This exercise in dominance should infuriate anyone who claims to love women.  It implies that women are the objects of male pleasure, and also that they lack moral fortitude and value as individuals.

I want to see women respected and valued in art and in life.  When a man dominates a woman by cleverness and superior will,  true lovers of women should be stirred to anger and action.  If this makes me a feminist, well, I guess it is so.  I’m just as surprised as you.

Charlie Sheen is Winning: No, Really

Ask Charlie Sheen and he will tell you that he is a winner.  If you challenge him on this point he will call you a loser and assure you that he is “winning”.  Is this man crazy?  Or, is he actually winning?

The truth is that Charlie Sheen is a winner.  He has tons of money, fame, power, and sex.  He had a tremendously popular sitcom that made him millions on top of his millions.  He was the star of that sitcom, and it is nothing without him.  Most people know his name, and he is currently at the center of the pop-culture universe.

Charlie Sheen knows what he wants and he gets it.  He is a winner.  By his definition, he is winning.  He has all of the things that the world tells you to want.  He has them, and he isn’t ashamed.  He has all of the things that you’re supposed to have and he is right when he says that you are a loser for not having them.  Charlie Sheen is the master of his own universe.  The world revolves around him and that is exactly what he wants.  Charlie Sheen is winning.

No, you say.  You say that he is troubled and delusional.  You say that he is burnt out from years of drug use.  So?  Even if that’s the case, he is still winning.  He believes that he is winning, and isn’t that enough?  If what’s true for me isn’t true for you, and if truth is a relative subjective thing, who are you to judge Charlie Sheen?  To him, he is winning.  You are a loser.

Charlie Sheen is winning because that’s the truth he believes.  There is no greater truth that reveals him to be delusional.

Who are you to say otherwise?

February Blues: Reflections on the Worst Month of the Year

If you know me, you know that I am overall and abundantly in possession of a sunny disposition.  I’d like to remind you of this (or tell you for the first time) so that you don’t have to worry about reading a mopey rant about hating winter.  I have made a few observations about the month of February, and I would simply like to express them.

 

Every year I find myself growing weary of winter after about the middle of January.  By the time February rolls around, I have had it.  Think about it.  It comes after November, December, and January.  It’s like winter is punching you in the face for three months and then , in February, you’re on the ground and it’s telling you to bite the sidewalk.

But it’s only 28 days you say.  Yeah, they got rid of a few days because people were complaining.  Stick an extra day on July and August, they said.  This is February’s only redeeming quality, but it’s also 28 days too long.

The snow has piled up for months and it’s getting all black and rock-hard on the sides of the road.  No more snow, you think to yourself as you drive by massive frozen mounds wondering when it’s all going to finally melt.

Also, consider the holidays that February gives us.  First we have Groundhog Day, which without the movie would be exciting for people living in Punxsutawney, and anyone in elementary school.  Not really a holiday in the standing of Christmas, or even Arbor Day.   Then we have “Send a Card to a Friend Day” on the 7th, which is really pushing it card companies, since Valentine’s Day is only a week later.  Ah yes, Valentine’s.  For many millions it is a day to be reminded of your loneliness, and for many millions more it is a day to fulfill a joyless obligation.  But for some, perhaps, the day can be used to express genuine affection.  It should be noted that Organ Donor Day is also on the 14th, which works because a lot of people are getting their hearts ripped out of their chests anyway.

Honestly, February is just the month that comes at the end of winter.  It doesn’t have those warm days that you find in March with its flower buds and returning robins.  March is the assurance that warm weather is coming.  February is the dark just before the dawn.

Thank God it’s not February anymore.


 

Delicacy= Disgusting

“Here, try this.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a partially formed chicken fetus.”

“That’s disgusting!”

“No, it’s a delicacy.”

We’ve all had this conversation.  Maybe not about eating a chicken fetus, but something just as disgusting.  How many times have you seen something, either in real life or on television that looked absolutely disgusting but was declared a delicacy?

Why not try this poisonous puffer fish called Fugu?

Are you worried that it’s both gross and deadly?  Don’t be!  Hey, it’s a delicacy.  And if something is a delicacy, it must be good.  You only think it’s disgusting because you’re an uncultured swine.  Eat up!

If you do a Google image search using the word delicacy you may want to place a bucket next to your chair.  First, you have the partially formed chicken fetus that I mentioned.  This is a delicacy in the Philippines, and I know that my friend Joel has tried it.  After that you have a picture of what looks like a badger pancake hanging on a hook.  Scroll down and you’ll see cooked rats and fat grubs on a stick.  Then you’ll see some octopus and a bowl of fruit bat soup.   It goes on and on, and you get my point.  In general, delicacies are repulsive.

Did I mention that the definition for delicacy is Something pleasing and appealing, especially a choice food? Sounds about right.

Is the whole world playing a joke on us?

I am bringing this to your attention so that you will not fall into the trap of eating something simply because it has the right label.  Just because something is a delicacy does not mean that it is good, delicious, or desirable.  Chances are it’s actually something disgusting.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

A chicken fetus, a bowl of worms, a cow tongue, a poisonous fish, a bloated badger, a bat, a rat, and an octopus by any other name (delicacy) is still disgusting.

 

And if you’re thinking that me eating a hamburger or a chicken wing is along the same lines, let me remind you that it’s just meat that I’m eating.  I’m not eating feathers, eyes, tentacles, tongues, or feet. I’m just not that sophisticated.

 

 

 

Are Dead Birds and Fish a Sign of the End?

 

Birds are falling from the sky, and fish are dying all over the place.  There are stories popping up all over the news and internet regarding these strange phenomenons (or is it phenomena?  Haha, sounds like that muppet song, Mahnamahna!  Anyway…).  Here are just a couple of links if you want to check it out for yourself:

New York Times: Mass Animal Deaths an Environmental Whodunit

ABC News: More Dying Birds Fall From the Sky

See!?!  I didn’t make it up.

 

We live in an age of mass communication.  I can talk to someone on the other side of the world in a flash.  We can send messages on our phones, and watch live video from some country that we’ve never heard of.  This instant communication makes the world seem a lot smaller.  Not that long ago, if an earthquake devastated a region on the other side of the globe, you and I would not have heard about it for days or even weeks.  And not that long before that, we may not have known about it at all.  So where am I going with this?

As a young boy, I had a touch of the hypochondria.  I had a heightened awareness of my entire body as a result of the realization of my own mortality.  I would think to myself, Is that normalIs that the right colorWhat is that pain in my side?   Every little apparent abnormality was scrutinized to no end.  I had a new awareness, but lacked the understanding to interpret things appropriately.   This is along the lines of what is happening in the world today.

I recall a class in which a discussion broke out about the end of the world.  At that time I raised my hand and said, “Does anyone else find it a little convenient that only now, when we have the ability to monitor the entire world, we recognize that the world is falling apart?  I mean, you’re telling me that after all this time, only when we’ve just begun to connect and understand the world as a whole it is coming to an end?”

 

Now, I’m not about to say that everything is perfectly fine with the world.  Certainly there are plenty of environmental and man-made issues posing a threat to the fragile deck of cards that is civilization.  What I am saying is that it is easy to make unreasonable connections, which lead to unfounded conclusions.   If you do a little research, you’ll find that mass die offs happen fairly regularly.  Somewhere between 150 and 200 instances occur just in the U.S. every year.    So why are we only hearing about it now?

One reason for the news coverage is surely connected to the timing of them all.  At the start of the new year a bunch of birds drop dead simultaneously over a small town in Arkansas.  New Year’s is highly symbolic.  It stands as a marker for the end and the beginning.  It reminds us that time is marching on toward some great and terrible destiny.  It’s no wonder that at such a time people would flip out.

Another factor is the approach of 2012 and all of those end of the world prophecies that go along with it.  Any strange global occurrences can then be attributed to the approach of this ominous date.  Also, many religious people believe that the end is at hand, so any signs from the heavens could indicate that Judgment Day is around the corner.

The media has a finger on the pulse of the masses.  They know what gets us going.  By reporting all of these events, they are able to create the impression that all of them are connected.  We don’t usually hear about these events, but now that the media has decided to focus in on them it appears to us that it is unique and alarming.  Much like an author chooses to direct the attention of the reader by introducing intentional characters and action, the media has the ability to shape our perception of current events.

We live in a volatile time.  The world, at any given time is on the edge of oblivion.  So it would be foolish of me to say that the world is certainly not approaching some dramatic conclusion.  But it would also be foolish of me to say that it certainly is.  The future is unknown.  Even Jesus addressed this when he said…

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13: 32-37)

 

We don’t know the end.  And believe me, that’s a good thing.

 

Tradition!!! Dick Clark’s Not So Rockin’ Eve

It just wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without Dick Clark.  That must be why they force a dying man, suffering the crippling side effects of a stroke, to host a major event one night every year.   It’s tradition!    To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, please watch this clip.

Disclaimer:  This is not a subtle indication that I believe that the Jews control the media and therefore force Dick Clark to host the new year’s show every year.  I just think the song is appropriate.

Tradition is the reason we force Dick Clark out of his bed.  Tradition is the reason we prop him up and give him a microphone, even though he can’t speak clearly.  And tradition is the reason we watch the same lame New Year’s Rockin’ Eve program every year.

So what am I suggesting?  I’m suggesting that we stop torturing Dick Clark, and simply hand it over to Ryan Seacrest.  They’re basically the same person anyway.  Dick hosted American Bandstand, and Ryan hosts American Idol.  Dick hosted his own radio show, and Ryan hosts one as well.

We have to let go of this tradition!  Or else future civilizations will think we have a tradition of torturing the infirm.

Are Movies About Pure Escapism?

While I was getting my haircut last week, the barber discovered that I had a strong affinity for movies.  This led to her statement, “I understand that it’s nice to escape from the world while you’re watching a movie.”  I simply nodded my head, but inside I recoiled.  Is that really how she feels about movies?  And is there any truth in that statement for how I feel about movies?  Needless to say, I have been thinking this over ever since.

I’m sure there are people out there who watch most movies just to be entertained and swept off to a new life and environment.  Just look at the success of Avatar.  The main attraction wasn’t the characters or an emotionally engaging story, but the film’s ability to convince you that Pandora exists and you are a resident.  That was the selling point of the movie.  Many millions of people bought it.

There is a level of truth to the desire for escapism when anyone watches a film.  We like to experience new places, people, and events.  But is that the driving force behind my own love for the cinema?  I don’t believe that it is.

A good film makes you forget that you’re watching it.  I often catch myself getting lost once a film has encouraged my engagement with its characters and plot.  This is the magic of movies.  They sweep you off to a place you’ve never been.  Yes, but what happens once you’re there?  Do you simply absorb pleasure from various types of sensory stimulation?  Do you think to yourself, this is nice, but it has nothing to do with my real life?  I can say with great certainty, I don’t.  The value of a good movie isn’t just found in its ability to temporarily suspend our belief, it is also found in its implications for our real lives.

Consider the film, It’s a Wonderful Life.  It does a wonderful job of convincing us that Bedford Falls, NY is a real place, and that George Bailey exists.  The characters act like normal people (Mr. Potter may be a little more blatantly evil than a real person) and the events of the film make sense in context.  We are even willing to accept that an angel intervenes in George’s affairs in order to save his life.

It is very satisfying to watch George find peace and redemption.  But what is it about this film that really impacts so many viewers?  I believe it is its simple, true, and profound message about life.  Every life has a purpose, and every person has the ability to influence others and the world in positive ways beyond their understanding.  The film causes us to consider this for ourselves.  Do we truly believe this for our own lives?  What amazing implications if this film is speaking the truth.

When we watch a character suffer, we have the opportunity to relate, and even draw strength.  Remember Samwise Gamgee’s speech in The Two Towers film?

Frodo: I can’t do this Sam

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those are the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances a turnin’ back only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding onto somethin’.

Frodo: What are we holding onto Sam?

Sam: (Picks Frodo up by the arm) That there’s some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.

 

When we relate to characters, even fictional ones, we see ourselves in them.  We wonder, could I have the same courage and strength?  Could I endure so much hardship?   Even though they’re not real, they have a real impact on our lives.

 

Movies (books too, and even video games.  All stories)  entertain.  Movies allow us to escape this world for a time.  But movies also teach us about the world, and ourselves.  A good movie has vast implications for our lives and the world.

So don’t go on about pure escapism!

Trans Fats: An Uncharacteristic Assault on Corporations

I’m sitting in Wendy’s the other day, and I notice that the fries are different.  This disturbs me, and perhaps I will write about it in the future, but today I want to tell you about what I saw below the fries.  On the place mat they wrote this little ditty about how the new fries come from Russet potatoes and they are sprinkled with sea salt.  Also on the mat is a section boasting about how the fries contain no trans fats.  Clearly, I thought, Wendy’s is trying to appear healthier.

But wait, Wendy’s isn’t healthy.  What’s going on here?

I’ve noticed that trans fats have taken center stage in our nation’s health debate this past year.  There was talk about banning salt in restaurants, but once people remembered that salt is an essential part of good tasting food they let it go.  At least for now.  San Francisco also passed legislation to ban the Happy Meal.  You’ll remember a few years back McDonald’s was under pressure when a few fat people tried to sue them.  So they added nutrition facts and got rid of the Super Size.  Wendy’s also got rid of the Biggie Size.  But once again, trans fats are on the chopping block today, and I have a hunch that the big food corporations are eating it up.

Here’s my theory.  Trans fats have been identified as extremely unhealthy and unnatural.  They offer no benefits to our bodies, and exist only to make food taste better.  This makes trans fats the enemy.  Very good.  Once this enemy was identified by the public and the media it had to be addressed by the big food providers.  Now, during all of this there was an ever growing awareness of the obesity epidemic in America.  About 1 in 3 children are obese, and adults are even worse.  So, food corporations had no choice but to respond to America’s increased demand for healthier fare.  Some offered a baked alternative.  Some offered a low calorie alternative.  Some offered a low sugar alternative.  And Some offered a low carb alternative.  They made these small steps, but they continued to push the foods that made them wealthy.  In order to continue the pressure to consume the same unhealthy foods, these corporations needed a distraction.  They needed a way to convince the public that the old standbys were still good to eat.  Trans fats provided the perfect scapegoat.

If the food never had trans fats, you can now boast Zero Grams Trans Fat!!!

If the food used to have some trans fats, you can boast Now with Zero Grams Trans Fat!!!

Do you see what I’m saying?  This is a distraction.  You read that something has no trans fat and you think, this is healthier.  It still has 50 grams of fat and 1500 calories, but there are no trans fats.  That means there is less fat.  That means it is healthier, or at least relatively healthy.  And that is my main point.  By demonizing trans fats, corporations can make themselves and their food look better without having to sacrifice anything.

(I’m not trying to say that big corporations are pure evil.  All I’m saying is that they work really hard to turn a profit, and they’ll use whatever they can to achieve that end.  Certainly, trickery is one of their tools.  So, if you’re going to eat this food, make sure you’re eating it for the right reason; it tastes incredible.)

 


 

100th Post Extravaganza! Or, How I Fell in Love With Lady Gaga

 

Here we are at 100 posts.  I thought, on this occasion,  I would look back on a few of the best and worst posts of the past 99.

The Worst

Failed Attempts at Writing Fiction: (August 8th) I just copied and pasted the opening paragraphs to a bunch of my old stories.  This was pretty lazy and I would imagine boring to read.

Short People Got No Reason to Live: ( August 25) This consisted of a long rant about being short.  This received absolutely no response from anyone.  After reading it over, I can see why.  It ended with the line,  “Height is relative. Tell that to the short, lonely, sad, poor man dying of a heart attack.”

Conspiracy Theorist Theorizes That Conspiracy Theories Are Part of Larger Conspiracy: (September 27) I think the title says it all.  It was a made up interview from the future in which Highlights for Kids questions a conspiracy author.  Solid gold premise, but poor execution.

Gods of Truth:  (November 26)  This was very recent.  Since I started using WordPress, I have been able to check the popularity of each post.  On average, a post receives 20 views after a couple of days.  This one has had the fewest since I’ve been keeping track.  It has 2.   I’m not sure why.

 

The Best

California Gurlz: A Floozy in Candyland: (October 5) By a significant margin, this is the most viewed of all my recent (past two months) posts.  It has 52 views; while the second place one has 37.  I really do get a kick out of analyzing popular music.  I had a lot of fun writing it, and that translates into a fun read.

The Joy of Friendship Series: (Mid October) I enjoyed reflecting on what it means to be a friend and where the joy in friendship comes from.  I know a few people were bored by this, but it came straight from the heart.

Elementary Hell: The Worst Year of My Life:  (September 1)  People seemed to get a kick out of this account of my miserable days as a First Grader.

God and the Shawshank Redemption: (November 24)  This was posted only last week, but it is already one of the top 3 in terms of popularity.  I looked into the biblical elements woven into the movie, The Shawshank Redemption.

My Thoughts on Glenn Beck (And Jon Stewart Too): (September 24) Once in a while I attempt to tackle more serious topics.  This was one of the most difficult things I’ve written in blog form since it focused on the controversial figure, Glenn Beck.  But I am pleased with the end result.

A New Kind of Christianity Series: (May)  After reading Brian McLaren’s book, I responded over the course of five posts.  It was an in-depth (for a blog anyway) analysis of a new movement within Christianity.

 

My All Time Favorite Post


What Lady Gaga is Truly Saying: (August 10)  This was easily the most entertaining and rewarding blog writing experience thus far.  This might disappoint some.  But I’d be lying if I claimed any other before it.  I view this post as the unofficial beginning of my blog.  What I mean is, this was the first post to truly capture the spirit of what I’m trying to do.  It deals directly with popular culture while offering insights into the true human condition.  It is at once entertaining and informative.  And it led to a crush with Lady Gaga that continues to this day.

 

After 100 posts, I am curious if you have any particular favorite, or least favorite.  If you read my blog regularly, I’d love to hear from you.