At the start of this year I finally got around to adding Google Analytics to my website. It’s been insightful to see what has been popular with people (especially the ratio of popularity to how much time I spend thinking through a post: a couple of weeks vs an afterthought/5min post) where my readers are from (shout out to my US readers!), and which country seems to have the most bots visiting – I’m looking at you India.
So here, in reverse order, at the ten most popular posts for 2014.
10. The Home Buyers Guide for Christians [guest post by Priscilla Choi] (15th November)
My sister-in-law struck a chord with a lot of her FB friends with her perspective on how a Christian should be guided in home buying decision making. It’s very practical, and very thoughtful.
9. Thankfulness Challenge (19th August)
Around the middle of the year a challenge flooded my Facebook feed – the Thankfulness Challenge. It started somewhere, evolved along the way and Christians got in on the act by thanking God for particular things. It has since, that I’ve noticed, morphed into a general ‘thankfulness’ challenge before it petered out around mid-September.
I had a few concerns with the way the challenge was being encouraged, so here were my thoughts on that.
8. Q&A Fig trees, Sin, and Jesus (8th March)
Earlier this year I started posting up some answers to questions I received in my inbox. Most of these questions came from people within my own church, and a couple of others popped into my inbox from FB friends. One of the first Questions I answered online was this, ‘Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not having fruit when it wasn’t even the season (according to Mark)? Did Jesus sin in killing this tree?’ Well, this was my crack at understanding this tricky passage.
7. Exodus: Gods and Kings Review (19th December)
One of the later posts, but probably of keen interest to a lot of readers. This movie, probably more than Noah earlier in the year, had a lot of Christians divided. My review basically called for an end to the boycott-because-they-aren’t-faithful reviews and tried to model a way for Christians to actively engage with art of this nature and the questions it raised.
6. Sola Gratia: Grace Alone (18th March)
Fred Phelps died this year. Remember him? In response, I partially started a series on the 5 Solas of the Reformation to explain what reformed theology is built upon. I only got through the first three, but after having preached through the series recently I’m hoping to redux them in 2015. Here was my take on salvation by ‘Grace Alone’.
5. A Parable for the Modern Middle-Class-Aspiring Asian Student (15th June)
Here’s a post I had been crafting for a little while. That it was posted during exam period was no coincidence either. Some of the feedback I was able to read online was fairly positive, and I hope this post continues to be an encouragement especially for Asian students.
4. Ugly Church Buildings (17th June)
This fun post with copied and pasted pictures from Real Clear Religion was a surprising hit for the year. Check out some of the most hideous church architecture going around…
3. Masterchef Australia 2014 Live Blogging (5th May)
The kickoff for the new season of Masterchef Australia held some rich promises – the biggest one being the fact that this seasons contestants were the best ever. So I live blogged my way through the opener which had its moments as well as its predictability.
2. Masterchef Australia Season 6 review (4th August)
My review of Masterchef season 6 took out second most popular post for 2014. I love the show, I don’t think I’ve suggested anything less. It’s one of the few TV shows that Steph and I watch regularly when it’s on. This year was probably the best year so far, we were genuinely impressed with pretty much every aspect of this season. There was still some niggling issues, some of them ongoing for the past few seasons, but still made for great nightly viewing.
‘Masterchef Season 6 review’ was also the most searched term that landed people on my site. So it makes you wonder how the top post became top…
1. Sometimes Judge a Book By Its Cover (26th January)
For those who have been following my blog for a while it’s surprising, yet also unsurprising, that this was the top post for 2014.
The thought process that went into this post wasn’t exhaustive. I had been noticing for a while a common theme for the book covers every time I walked past books by prosperity gospel preachers at my local Christian bookstore. A teary conversation with a friend concerning prosperity theology prompted me to finally photoshop the evidence together.
What happened next took my by surprise. The post was being widely shared and lots of interaction on these shares was happening. I had people coming up to me and asking, ‘How do you know my cousin in Melbourne?’ When I replied, ‘I don’t…’ they would then tell me they saw their cousin sharing my post on FB. Then Matthias Media posted it up on their FB wall as well. The speed of the sharing and the spread of the people reading was immensely encouraging.
There was also some critical engagement. I got called a ‘Loser’ and others questioned my integrity as a Christian. This didn’t bother me as much as the general lack of discernment in some of these comments did. ‘Judge not’ seems to be the most widely memorised verse in scripture… even if most people apply it out of context.
At the end of it all, that this post was the most popular is also unsurprising. We love controversy. This post was laced with it, even if the intention was simply to point out what I thought was common knowledge. But in pointing it out I also had to point out names, and this doesn’t go down well with a lot of Christians. So my prayer is that each of my readers keeps growing in humble, loving, godly discernment to point out and warn others in the flock of false teachers.
Some other posts worth mentioning because they appeared high in my count but because they weren’t posted in 2014 I didn’t include them:
Late in 2013 I posted some info about Noah (released earlier this year) and the theologically disastrous ‘Heaven is for Real’. This post was viewed quite often this year.
I was stoked to hear about this new study bible and getting my hands on one was an exciting day. It’s since been a faithful companion by my side in personal bible reading and sermon preparation. The review itself has made it onto the Gospel Transformation Bible website!
This was a surprise in my Google Analytics report. This 2011 post kept up its views for the year. It is a great song though!
So which were your favourite posts for the year? What topics would you like to see me blog about in 2015? Put your thoughts in the comments below.