The Year in Review
Sharing my posts on Facebook continues to be important for traffic. More people find this site through Facebook than any other way. Thank you to all of you who read this because you found my posts shared on Facebook, and thank you to those of you who share what you read, or “like” it, on your own Facebook pages. You are an encouragement to me.
Reading the blogs of my friends is just as important as writing my own. It’s encouraging for me to be in these online conversations with my friends. Also, over the past two years it seems that as many people — many of whom I do not know, and would probably never meet — find my blog because they read my friends’ blogs, and click through to mine. To share the love, here are some of my favorite blogs written by my friends:
- Etz Pri
- Rural Water
- Living as Apprentices
- Forsythia Root
- That Reformed Blog
- Welp…I’m a Pastor
- Poetry & Prose & Proclamation
- At the Table
These certainly aren’t the only ones (and if your blog isn’t on this list, sorry!). But these are notable, and you should click through and read on! I also have a widget right now on the page footer, which shows the recent blog posts I’ve “liked.”
And, as always, a writing process and a writing schedule are always helpful, but a series or theme has turned out to work best to keep my posting consistent. The themes/series this year have ranged a bit, but most of my posts followed the Christian year. Lent turned out to be a difficult one, per reader feedback (in hindsight, trying to paraphrase/render readable the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Terrible Sonnets” and relate them to Ignatian spirituality was a bit ambitious); and Easter’s posts were rather long-winded (really, tying together reflections on 1 Corinthians 15, N.T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope,” and John Donne’s “Holy Sonnets” proved too much: from now on, one thing at a time). Once (or twice) a week seemed to be pretty sustainable this past year; thank you to all of you who nudge me to write when it’s been a while.
The top post of the past year: “This week in review…” (July 18, 2014). Lesson learned: sharing on Twitter is also very good for boosting traffic, especially when blogging about trending topics.
An old post that (surprisingly) remains very popular: “Snow White and the Huntsman” (December 1, 2012). I really love writing posts like this, even though I’ve only done the one. I may have to consider posting an “Engaging Hollywood” series in the coming year, where I get to explore films and engage them as a Christian.
My blog was read in 34 countries this year! 34! The Top 5:
- South Africa
The Year Ahead
Plans and Aspirations
This year will be big: A new career, a different schedule, a fresh purpose. In the next month, my wife and I will be moving from West Michigan to South Dakota, where I have accepted a call to pastoral ministry with Emmanuel Reformed Church. I will have a new place, and a new people, and a renewed purpose and direction for this blog.
My hope is that this will continue to be a personal tool, where I reflect on my own spiritual transformation into Christ-likeness, but I also hope that this grows more and more into a pastoral tool, where I can guide reflection on scripture, and offer insights into my own spiritual growth for the renewal of others’ spiritual growth.
In short, I hope that “Blowing on the Embers” really is just that: a place and a community of mutual encouragement and support where we can urge one another “further up and further in” to practices and experiences where God is met and we are changed.
The much anticipated, previously announced, and subsequently delayed, Christian Use of Social Media series. I have been collecting my thoughts, and reflecting on my experiences, and plan to do this in the coming months.
Engaging Hollywood. I have led small group discussions like this, where I select 4-6 films (usually Oscar nominees), and create a kind of study/discussion guide. These posts would reflect on how we as Christians can appreciate (maybe) and engage the stories that our contemporary culture is telling, and discern how we can tell our story in discussion with them.
More weekly Lectio Divina reflections based on the passages I will preach from, for further engagement. I may even find a way for audio/video files of my sermons to be published here, but no promises.
Lessons Learned. I’ll be doing a lot of pastoral learning and growing this coming year. I’m sure there will be many opportunities to share here all the ways I’m growing in Christ-likeness as I grow as a pastor.
Thank you to all of you who continue to read. You are a blessing to me, and your reading and your “liking” and your commenting have all been so encouraging to me this past year. Whether new posts show up in your inbox, or updates appear in your news feed, or you stumble upon this blog by accident, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Amen!