Top links of 2011

I’ve been pensive lately. I write plenty of messy notes, but nothing blogworthy – mainly book-reviews. But, reflecting on 2011 I thought I’d include some of the top webpages and articles I just so happened to collect in 2011 that had a major influence on me or unusually good. Just sayin’ in advance, almost all of them are religious or philosophical… but hey, that’s what I read. There are more than this, but I didn’t think to favorite all of them. Anyway, here’s ten categories, somewhat in order of importance.

10Top tens. Starting out recently is this article from Collin Hansen, top ten theological stories of the yearChristianity Today has their own top ten  stories as well. As far as international news, AP’s Top Ten News Stories of 2011 is pretty comprehensive, though I’m baffled as to why the American pull-out of Iraq didn’t make the cut. Isn’t the end of a big, controversial 7-year war big news?

I would have added William Lane Craig/Richard Dawkin’s spectacle or the economic/environmental disasters that have caused more theological reflection in these top ten, but overall very good choices.

9) Future theology debate trends. It took me a while of thinking before I agreed with him, but Andrew Wilson’s article The Biggest Theological Debate of the Next Twenty Years is very insightful. What will it be? Read and see!

8God to Jesus. This article by John Dickson, Jesus: God’s Tangible Sign,  is so well-reasoned and well-written, especially on how rational it is to at least move from atheism to deism, then from there to theism, and on to Jesus.

7All the boys and the girls… This has been an interesting year in public discussion of marriage, sex, and dating and all the current issues with that, especially on the Christian scene. A few good articles are

Christian Boy Meets Christian Girl from World Magazine – the best of the bunch, and hilarious.

Then Dude, where’s your bride?  by Kevin DeYoung and A Guy’s Guide to Marrying Well with contributions from Al Mohler, Scott Croft, and others.

I took interest in these, because I fit some of their criticized stereotypes of young men  – not asking girls out, stubbornly single, wanting to “see the world” before being “tied down” in marriage, etc. I thought of bloggin in defense of this monkish lifestyle as mine, but haven’t gotten around to it! However, Vicky Beeching’s “Honest thoughts about singleness in the church” expresses some of my thoughts already. Nonetheless, excellent points and analysis are made by DeYoung, et al. and they’re worth the read.

6)Atheist surprises. Atheist Joel Marks in Confessions of an Ex-Moralist admits morality isn’t possible without God. He replaces it with something else like morality, but I was impressed by his candor. The well-known defender of evolution and naturalism, Michael Ruse wrote another fascinating reflection, On Going to Church Christmas Morning . In “Atheists Against Darwinism” Peter Williams surveys how the debate on Intellgient Design even has some atheists thinking. Evolution is not nearly the stalwart, established scientific theory it’s purported to be, and the exposure of its weaknesses by atheists is telling.

5)John Stott passed away this year. I really admire him and his work, so I thought I’d include two pages: One is Al Mohler’s Interview   and the other is his obituary in Christianity Today 

4)C. Michael Patton. Not one, not two, but three excellent articles from C. Michael Patton:

Confessions of a Theological Swinger 

A Short Defense of Christianity – to Myself 

Eight points of encouragement for those who are doubting their faith

The ability of this guy to write great-quality articles is amazing, and I had a hard time just choosing three. Look around Parchment and Pen blog if you have an hour to kill, it’s great.

3)Evil World. Related to above, this isn’t an intellectual article like the rest, but it sure leads that way: CNN article asking why is the Congo the “Rape Capital of the World”?  This is among the many articles that made me think of how sad and full of evil the world really is. That’s worth thinking about. But to balance this:

2Kimberly Klein’s   “My Beautiful Mess” was an extremely thought-provoking article for me this year (many of her posts are excellent, to be honest), written some time ago while she was in Kenya  – thoughts on suffering and hope. I’m not at the point of balance she is yet, but it is somewhere I hope to be someday. Read it, it’s profound.

1George John Romanes. Another article I read that is simply profound is this one on the life of George John Romanes. If you only read one page I list here, this is the one to read:  A Pilgrim’s Regress: George John Romanes and the Search for Rational Faith. His story really impacted me and the drama of the story just takes you in. The ending is a surprise!

Anyway. That’s what I got for closing the year. I have nothing original to say, but the above people are saying whatever it is better than I can right now!

On to 2012 C.E. And I hear-tell the world might end then, so better make it a good one! Happy New Year everybody!

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