Another year is in the books for Navigating by Faith. I started this blog in 2012 in response to an inner conviction that I should use whatever writing and analytical skills I have developed as an English Major, law student and attorney for over two decades in the service of God, exploring and testing the boundaries of faith and its relation to the world in which we live. As the name of this blog suggests, the endeavor has been a journey.
The most popular (which is a relative term I realize) blog post in 2012 did not focus on faith, but on politics, following the election of Barack Obama to his second term as president. (Political Decompression) That article was cathartic in shedding the slough of my skepticism about the value of our two-party system (something I have not been completely able to shed to this day), but it affirmed my faith in the sovereignty of God – something in which I continue to find solace.
The number of readers has never been my focus, though it is one measure of success in fulfilling whatever purpose God might infuse into my writing and thinking. From 287 views in 2012 to 1093 views in 2013 to over 11,000 views in 2018, the readership has grown, albeit modestly.
Somewhat contrary to my intuition, the most popular writings in each year are not always the “timeless” ones. The most popular article in 2012 focused on the 2012 presidential election. The most popular article in 2013 (The Face of Evil) was about the Boston Marathon bombing. The most popular article in 2014 was a summary of the Hobby Lobby case. Finally, in 2015, the most popular article focused on something a little more eternal – The Bible That Makes You a Scholar – though it is about a new Bible, rich in its resources to aid in the study of that ancient collection of writings.
I suppose the popularity of writings that focus on current happenings is revealing of our preoccupation with our current circumstances that pull us away from more eternal things. One of the very purposes with which I write is to encourage a bigger view of life, to see the forest in spite of the trees, to lift up the gaze from the feet in front of us to the heavens above to reflect on God and His Kingdom as it intersects with our daily lives.
In the last two years (2016 and 2017), the top three (3) blog articles were exactly the same in exactly the same order. They were The Ebla Tablets Confirm Biblical Accounts (written in 2015), It is Well with My Soul: The Story (written in 2014) and C. S. Lewis on Individualism, Equality and the Church (written in 2015). Remarkably, those blog articles are still three (3) of the top four (4) most popular articles in 2018, though in different order.
Without more introduction, here are the top ten (10) blog articles on Navigating by Faith in order beginning with the most popular:
- It is Well with My Soul: The Story (2014) (repeat)
- Donald Trump, Fruit and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (2018) (new)
- The Ebla Tablets Confirm Biblical Accounts (2015) (repeat)
- C.S. Lewis on Individualism, Equality and the Church (2015) (repeat)
- The Message in the Earliest Creeds in the New Testament (2016) (repeat)
- Is God a Hard Taskmaster? (2017) (new)
- The Making of New Wine Skins (2017) (new)
- Tuning In to God’s Frequency (2016) (repeat)
- Reflections on the Influence of Stephen Hawking (2018) (new)
- A Message in a Manger (2013) (repeat)
In all the years but for 2012, the most visited page on the blog is the home page. That makes sense, I guess. After reading an article, many people apparently want to know something about the person who wrote such an article. I believe that says something about human curiosity (though I am not sure what).
For the first time this year, a page other than the home page (not an article) has made it into the top ten. That page is a subset of a new section of the blog I created in the middle of 2015 – Journeys of Faith. It’s fitting, I think, for a blog on navigating by faith to include journeys of faith – stories of people of faith. These are the stories of people who have found faith in the God of the Bible coming from a variety of backgrounds, religious and otherwise.
The one page that saw the most traffic in the past year, more than any single blog article, is the page on the stories of homosexuals. I don’t comment on these pages. I let the stories stand on their own. I also don’t write often (barely at all and rarely, if ever, on this blog) on the subject of homosexuality. It’s a curiosity, therefore, why this page was so well traveled in 2018.
After six plus years of blogging, I can say that blogging is a regular part of my life, and it hasn’t gotten old yet. I continue to sharpen ideas and flesh them out through writing. Some ways of thinking remain largely the same after these six years, but other ways of thinking have changed. I have gained new perspectives. I have evolved and grown.
I don’t get many comments on the articles I write. Not nearly as many as I see on other blogs. I am not sure why that is. Perhaps, they aren’t engaging enough. Maybe they aren’t inviting enough. Maybe they aren’t interesting enough. I don’t know.
I don’t usually compare this blog to other blogs, though I do notice differences. But my writing is more of a response to the prompting that comes from a conviction that God would have me write than anything else. I write because I believe I am “called” to write. I write because I believe I should use the talents I have, such as they are.
I firmly believe that theists and atheists alike approach this world with faith. To begin with, we all have faith (be it weak or strong) in our own abilities to know and understand the world. We have to take it on faith that we accurately understand reality and the basic assumptions that drive everything we think and do.
Faith has little value if it is blind. Faith that has value is faith that is informed and supported by evidence, logic, philosophy and science. Faith also needs to make sense of the world. Faith needs to make sense of personal experience. Faith is a guide to all of us, though we don’t often really question (let alone acknowledge) the basis for that faith.
“Believers” are, perhaps, more self-aware in that respect, but all of us make assumptions that we usually don’t question – and that goes for nonbelievers too. Those a priori assumptions (first principles) make all the difference in where we end up. If you change a first principle, you change everything that follows it.
Those first principles are rarely anything that can be proven or disproved. There is a God. There is no God. You can’t “prove” either principle in a mathematical sense. You have to take it on faith. You can test those principles, but you can’t prove them.
For me, CS Lewis sums it up:
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
With that said, I do want to thank people who read and especially people who comment. I appreciate the encouragement, and I appreciate the constructive comments as well. Iron sharpens iron. I may think I have made myself perfectly clear without the constructive comments that show my deficiency. I am indebted to them.
If I have challenged anyone to think, or to rethink, as the case may be, I am happy. I don’t believe I have all the answers, though I strive to understand better each day than I did the day before. Life truly is a journey. It is an unending journey of discovery.