I’ve now been blogging for a year! I’m very grateful to you, dear readers, for your interest.
The numbers stun me:
- Well over 10,000 page views
- Visitors from 72 countries
Most from the USA of course but hundreds from
- New Zealand
- the United Kingdom
How I wish I could know how you found the blog and what you thought about it!
I started out with a general plan to post on things I’m reading and thinking about in the history of the Church and its theology — mining the past to find wisdom for the present.
In the course of the year my posts have mostly fallen into three categories:
- The Heidelberg Catechism — the Reformed summary of biblical teaching that celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2013
- Models of Christian Community — movements whose distinctive ways of being community sparked deep discipleship and effective mission
- Saints — aka role models for Christian living and spiritual life
Looking back at my most viewed posts I’m happy to see that each of these is represented in the top ten, grouped below by category
This piece on St. Nicholas was far and away my most widely shared and read post. Someone even pasted the link into a discussion of the “Elf on the Shelf” in Jon Acuff’s megablog “What Christians Like.” I clearly hit on a good seasonal topic that connected with lots of people.
2. John Wesley’s Basic Christianity; or How Does a Methodist Stay a Methodist.
3. Where’s Your Community Going?
4. How John Wesley Marketed His Small Group Program.
5. John Wesley’s Secret for Building Community.
9. What Kind of Relationship Defines Community?
Those five posts on community make up a full half of my top ten. That is exciting to me in a couple of ways.
Regular readers will know that these posts are part of a book project, for which the wonderful Chad R. Allen coached me through the writing of a book proposal on his blog. Your interest gives me lots of motivation to get the book proposal polished and ready to roll.
I was also grateful for United Methodist friends who helped get the word out on my Wesley posts, and thrilled to find the UMC Good News Magazine wanted to turn two of the posts into an article.
The book project is still in early stages, so lots more posts are still to come in this category.
These three were outside of my main blogging topics, so it was interesting to see that they sparked interest. I’m only counting hits on my own blog, and so the total readership for #7 and #10 is surely much larger — Anita’s blog is much more prominent than mine, and the Patheos forum surely got seen quite broadly. (If I can get stats on these I’ll update this later.)
They make an interesting triptych:
- #6 was a bit of a rant on hymn writing, but seemed to hit a nerve for a number of other people. I have deep interest in more historical aspects of worship, so there may be more in that area at some point.
- #7 was on Martin Luther’s way of praying, a topic from my book Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers (InterVarsity, 2012), and I’ll definitely do more posts on prayer from time to time.
- #10 was on children’s sermons — again a worship topic, and one I have a lot more to say on in some forum or other. My wife and I have been writing a column for the journal Call to Worship, focusing on issues of children in worship, but this post was my first foray into blogging on the topic.
Finally, coming in at #8, one Heidelberg post made the top ten.
My earlier reasons for blogging on the Heidelberg Catechism have mostly ended. The new translation of the Catechism has passed the vote of the PC(USA) presbyteries and so it is moving on to the next General Assembly. And with the turning of the year, the 450th anniversary will be over.
I plan to continue blogging regularly on the Catechism in 2014.
I believe one of the great crying needs of contemporary Christianity is to understand the shape of the Christian faith. We know we want to follow Christ — but fewer and fewer people have a solid grasp of biblical teaching. Know our faith better and we’ll have a better chance of sharing it — and of living it, for that matter.
Even for those who have sojourned long in the church, basic Christianity has to be learned as a second language.
That is where a document like the Heidelberg Catechism can be a great help. It distills and organizes biblical Christianity in a remarkably accessible way. Even though you or I might disagree with it in places (it is 450 years old, after all) it makes a great conversation partner.
I hope you’ll check out some of the posts I’ve linked to above.
And I’d love to hear from you about post ideas you’d like to see — feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
I would love it if you shared the link to this post! (There is a Facebook button right below here…)