A year ago this month, my brother, Matt, gave me a call. A few years before we had run a website called Moral Musings, where both of us wrote on spiritual things, while Matt also dealt with literature and I posted on history and politics. The site had gone well enough for a first shot, but life had caught up with us both, and the site petered out. So he asked me if I would like to start writing with him again.
The timing couldn’t have been better. I had just finished my last masters course and I wasn’t teaching Bible class at the time, so I had been quietly considering my options. I had also just been asked to write for our church blog. The only problem was that when my rotation for teaching Bible class came up again, posting would become more difficult, and I didn’t want to give up any more of my family time than I had too.
Rather than compromise, I decided to try a bit of all of the above. Matt and I could run two blogs in tandem so we could each use as much of our existing material as possible (most of which had never been published), and I could post any spiritual content on the church blog, as well. And though we’ve tweaked some things over the past year, this remains my working model: (1) keep family first, (2) focus on my public teaching with the church, and (3) post new or revised articles whenever time allows. So if the sequence of posts doesn’t always make sense, now at least you know why!
I could ramble on about all I’ve learned about you, me, writing and the web, but I’d rather highlight our top five articles you liked on Facebook over the past year, and a little bit about each.
#5: The Limits of Instruction. Aristotle was the first Greek philosopher I read extensively and he remains my favorite secular thinker of any age. After reading his Politics for my first major graduate paper, I took the opportunity the next semester to read Nicomachean Ethics, Rhetoric and Poetics, which serves as the basis for the series on Aristotle you can read here. One of my planned side projects is to finish reading his Complete Works, edited by Jonathan Barnes, which has recently been re-released as a single-volume ebook.
#4: The Virtue of Marriage. As you’ve probably figured out, I don’t really read the same things others do, and when I do I rarely read them the same way. Jane Austen was hijacked by the Left years ago as an exemplar of modern feminism. As this—and our other two posts on Austen—point out, though, she was nothing of the sort. Sense and Sensibility even gets its own chapter in Benjamin Wiker’s 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read as one of four “conservative stories” alongside The Tempest, The Lord of the Rings and The Jerusalem Bible.
#3: The Joy of Baptism. This is one of the few standalone articles I have posted in the last year, and one of my personal favorites. Whether you’re discussing the gospel with friends, or defending the Bible’s position on something, start by simply surveying what the Bible says about it. This article grew out of these types of discussion, and has been instrumental in helping me encourage believers, convict the lost, and silence false teaching.
#2: Resolve to Read. In the last ten years, there are few issues I’ve talked about more than equipping people to get into God’s word for themselves. So every year I tweak this outline and share it with anyone still listening. So look for it again in the next few months! If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at how we got the Bible and how to study it, check out our 16-week Bible study, Understanding Scripture!
And finally, #1: Lessons From the Farm (Hos 10:11-11:11). I’m not only a bit strange in my reading habits, I also tend to teach and write on subjects others might avoid. In the case of Hosea, though, the subject was based on circumstance rather than choice. It just so happened, that when our Sunday morning teacher deployed in the midst of the Minor Prophets, Hosea was next in the docket. But when I was done, I had more to say. That is, until I lost my own steam toward the end and am still three posts short of complete. The timing for this most recent one was also significant: I had just lost my grandmother. And because it attracted both regular readers (all three of you!) and family members, it quickly rose to Number 1. Our series on Hosea--Israel’s Scarlet Letter—is also our longest and most-read.
Well, that’s the list! It’s your list, really, but I am grateful for any fruit our humble little work has borne in the past twelve months. Lord willing, we’ll be wrapping up our current series on Economics in about February, with posts on Revelation: The Drama of the Apocalypse as I teach through the book, then it’ll be on to some lighter reading and shorter series until we settle down in our next assignment.
So God bless and Godspeed!