I have been blogging now for a decade. When I started, I felt like I had learned some things I had learned on my journey, especially from many years ago, that I needed to work out in writing. I also wanted to work out new things I was learning through the process of writing.
I felt called to write, but I ignored what seemed like God’s gentle, but steady voice for some time before I relented and committed myself on the path forward. I explored blog tools and sites, and I created Navigating by Faith late in 2013.
I have written 1035 articles since that time. Article views have grown from a meager 728 readers and 1028 views in 2013 to a very modest 22,608 readers and 30,751 views in 2021. In 2022, I finish with 21,716 readers and 30,198 views. Readership picked up through COVID, but it has plateaued.
The numbers ultimately are not of primary importance. The content is the key. The content reflects my own journey – where I have been, where I am, and where I am going. I try not to make it about me, though.
I have worked out some of the threads of thought that were first mined in my college days, and I have gone on to explore new threads of thought as I have applied myself to learning new things and exploring many tangents. From the beginning, I have tried to by guided by that same “voice” that prompted me to write. I have tried to go where it leads.
Following are the top ten articles in 2022 as determined by the number of views. I have added one additional article at the end because the theme it emphasizes in that total. If you want to retrace my steps this past year, jump in and read on.
In the last five years, much of what I have written has alternately grown out of daily Scripture reading, extra-biblical reading, podcasts, and current events. This blog is an amalgam of those things and more. I have had the most difficult time writing about current events, and especially those things that polarize us.
Some of the articles that have found the greatest degree of readership come from the consideration of current events through the filter of Scripture. The article that is the closest thing to “viral” on the blog comes from that vein: Who Were the Sons of Issachar? And What Might They Mean for Us Today?
I wrote the article in September of 2020, and it quickly became the most read article in 2020. In less than a year, it became the most read article of the 1035 articles I have written over last ten years. It is also, by far, the most read article of 2022, at almost three times more views than the next most read article.
The article grew out of my own angst over the incongruity of evangelical Christians lining up behind Donald Trump and defending everything he did and said. A loud group of prophetic voices in Evangelical circles were proclaiming a second term for Trump. His first term was predicted by prophetic “words” going back many years, well before any pundit every weighed in on the political future of the bombastic businessman.
I grew up spiritually in these Charismatic, Evangelicals circles. My best friend from those days, a thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate man with a law degree who lived a self-sacrificial life representing the poor and marginalized people in society urged me to consider what he (and the modern “prophets”) firmly believed God was saying.
The stern warning not to despise prophecy echoed in my mind, and his statement, about “understanding the times” like the sons of Issachar, became the springboard for my own soul-searching, Scripture-reading, and attempts at discernment. I tried to let God take me where He would led me in applying that enigmatic statement spoken about the sons of Issachar who understood the times, to current events.
I am still uneasy about Donald Trump and the unlikely alignment of a large segment of self-identifying “evangelicals” who champion him. Many of those “evangelicals” are more politically-motivated, than spiritual, and a large segment of them don’t even go to church much.
Many of these self-identified evangelicals do not qualify theologically as Evangelical. What troubled me, though were others, like my friend, who sit more squarely on firm Evangelical ground. It still troubles me. How could they and I be so far apart in the way we view modern developments?
The second most read article in 2022 was also written in the fog of COVID in 2020: The Redemption of Korah: the Sons of Korah. This article homes in on redemption, a sweeping theme in Scripture, as it can be seen playing out in one lesser-known family. This article resonates with hope, as we see God’s redemptive work playing out in history of this family that once rebelled openly and defiantly against God.
The third most viewed article, God Meets Us Where We Are, also resonates with hope, but on a more personal level. One of the most distinctive characteristics of Christianity, and God as revealed in the Bible, is the ultra-personal, intimate connection God makes with each of us. He knows the number of hairs on our heads, and the thoughts in our hearts, and He is capable of meeting each of us “where” we are.
The next article in the order of readership in 2022 is Apologetics: What It Means for Our Speech to Be Seasoned with Salt. This article comes from my own prophetic leaning. I tend to think often about what God might be saying to His children, the Church, today. I really love the intellectual exercise of apologetics, but I am convinced that the most compelling truth is not necessarily what we know, but how we live our lives.
The next article is the only one in the top five not written in the last two years: CS Lewis on the “True Myth”. This 2018 piece reflects the deep well of inspiration C.S. Lewis has been for me. His conception of myth and true myth is especially thought-provoking.
The next most well-read article goes back two more years, to 2016: The Message in the Earliest Creeds in the New Testament. One of the most compelling aspects of Christianity to me is its rootedness in history. Though the “movement” started with inauspicious beginnings in the great scheme of history with its leader put to death on a Roman cross after a very short period of influence, it flourished against all odds.
When I was first exposed to the world of ecumenical thought in college, the resurrection of Jesus was predominantly thought to be a matter of legend – an idea that was developed by his wishful adherents generations after Jesus died. Gary Habermas blew that modern, construct out of the water with his “minimal facts” analysis. The creeds we see in the New Testament go back to the time immediately following the death of Jesus, and they focus on the resurrection from the beginning.
Music plays a big role in my life. Music moves people like no other medium, and music has long been used as an expression of hope and faith. The next most read article in 2022, The Borderlines: A Place Called Earth, was written as part of an ongoing series of articles on the subject of music that moves me.
The next article, Comments on Freedom and the Clash of Ideas, is one of the few articles on Navigating By Faith, that is not spiritual in nature. The protection of the freedoms we enjoy in the US, however, is critical to the community of faith, and to all people who desire to live in a world that is free.
Tuning In To God’s Frequency emphasizes a theme I return to often: that we must engage God on His own terms. He may meet us where we are, but we must turn to Him and engage Him as He is if we are going to have any personal, intimate connection with Him. He may love us, but He is “not a tame Lion”, as C.S. Lewis says. God is not content to leave us alone; He wants us to become His children and t become like Him.
The final article that rounds out the top ten most read articles on this blog in 2022 is Postscript to the Sons of Issachar Who Understood the Times. Written about two months after the most viral article on this blog, it reflects my ongoing angst on the subject of Donald Trump and his unlikely evangelical supporters.
Concerned that I might have missed the boat in my original article, I prayerfully reconsidered whether I might have failed to be “like the sons of Issachar, who understood the times”. I revisited the subject, and I wrote a postscript. You can judge for yourself whether I missed the mark.
I will add one more article to the list of most read articles in 2022 because it continues the theme of angst over the prophetic vein of modern politico-evangelicalism that has weighed me so much. “Do not despise prophecy” is Paul’s, warning to the Thessalonians, but then he says, “Test everything….” Is Saul Among the Prophets? On Prophecy and a Heart for God is a lesson in working through this tension.
Jesus said there would be many false prophets, and some of them would even lead true followers of Christ astray. Not every prophetic word that is uttered is true. Not every prophecy is meant to be followed. Test everything, and hold on to what is good, only. (1 Thess. 5:21) These words seem to be especially relevant to us in these times.
Navigating By Faith is far from “viral”, but it reflects my own effort to be true to what I believe God prompts in me. It is a discipline and an act of obedience to use the measure of talent and writing skills I have developed over the years, such as they are, for God’s purposes, such as I can discern them.
I hope that everyone who stumbles on this blog finds something useful here, something inspiring, something challenging, or (at the very least) something thought-provoking. If you find yourself reading these words, please drop a comment below. Let me know where you are in your journey.
One thought on “Top Ten Articles on Navigating By Faith in 2022”
It would be interesting and convenient a LinkedIn post, with links to this summary and the ten tops articles, in the Political and Theological Affairs group.
R. Olivo. ________________________________
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