2014 – review of the year

So, a slightly belated Happy New Year to you all. Before we move on to new things, how was 2014 for you?

For me it was a fairly challenging year that I’m not entirely sorry to bid farewell to. Continuing government cuts meant some unsettling changes at work, and I’ve been further inducted into the Dark Arts of Marketing. And the protracted saga of selling our home of 13 years, buying and moving into a new one felt a bit like pulling teeth and took the best part of the year. I also took a year out of regular church commitments, and my attendance became sporadic at best – which I attempted to justify here

Highlights of my year included pilgrimages to two places of personal spiritual significance – the Harry Potter Studio Tour (only half joking 😉 ) and the lovely St Hywyn’s Church in Aberdaron, North Wales. This was the church of 20th-century poet-priest R.S. Thomas, and it’s a beautiful place where you kneel at the altar to hear the waves breaking and the cry of seabirds. I’ve decided I want to be buried there, though hopefully not for a few years.

I also happily rediscovered live music, both rock and classical.  The former took me to the very civilised On Blackheath festival in September (Frank Turner, Athlete, The Levellers, Imelda May). The latter saw me at the London premiere of UK composer Jonathan Dove’s brutal-beautiful choral work in commemoration of WW1, For an Unknown Soldier (my write-up here if you’re interested).

2014 news round-up

Meanwhile the earth limped on, somehow managing to evade Armageddon for another year. And out in the wider world, there were one or two news stories that even the most hermit-like of us are unlikely to have missed.

The Middle East and Syria continued to be a horrific bloodbath, with no obvious solution in sight. Islamic State and Ebola reared up in competition to be humanity’s deadliest scourge. We had the tragic suicide of Robin Williams – which who among us can afford to condemn?

On a happier note we landed the Rosetta probe on a comet – a remarkable technical feat, albeit raising questions of how much money it’s justifiable to throw at scientific missions.

Apparently we had a World Cup (which I happily missed completely), ending in defeat for the host nation, and locally a Scottish Independence referendum with an arguably similar result.

In the smaller Christian world, Vicky Beeching came out as gay, and Archbishop Welby confessed to having doubts. And possibly the best Pope of all time continued to be a thorn in the flesh of his own Catholic establishment.

Business and finance news… sorry, I neither know nor care. Except that the financial crisis has continued to hit the poorest hardest, and some of us are starting to wonder if there’s any alternative to unfettered capitalism.

Book and film of the year?

So what was your book, album, film or TV series of the year? Though I haven’t finished it yet, my book choice will probably turn out to be Lamentation, the latest in C.J. Sansom’s superlative series of Tudor detective mysteries with their hero the hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake. The danger and atmosphere of the troubled period grab you by the throat, and the plot revolves around heresy hunts and religious tensions between traditionalist Catholics and reformist Protestants in the last days of Henry VIII.

Film of the year… I’d hoped it would be Hobbit 3, and it had some great moments, but I got bored by all the CGI silliness and computer-game fighting.

TV series – spiritually speaking, it would have to be Rev, or (at the risk of losing all masculine credibility), Call the Midwife. I’ll add Doctor Who and Sherlock in too from sheer personal bias.

Music – I’d hoped that the new U2 album might deliver something good, but looks like that didn’t work out. Bastille and Biffy Clyro have been my bands of the year, and for classical I’ll shout out for Jonathan Dove again.

Blogging on

Meanwhile, this blog has been going exactly 4 years now, and I thank you all very sincerely for bothering to follow it. I’m well aware that blogging always runs the danger of being merely a vanity project, so please nudge me if I’m getting self-indulgent.

Over the last year we looked at a range of subjects, including whether God has a perfect plan for your life, whether and how we can hear from God, and what to do with our uncertainties. I also investigated the cheerful topics of suffering and sin, and revisited the ever-uncontroversial subject of homosexuality.

I rather ironically ended up arguing with atheists under a post titled ‘Stop arguing with atheists!’ And the other most active post this year has been an old one, ‘Hating God’, which appears to have attracted a sizeable new audience of people feeling aggrieved with the Almighty.

Looking ahead… a recently reduced commute means I can’t blog as much, which may come as a relief to many. But as always, I’ve got a massive backlog of posts awaiting the cold light of day. Here’s a short selection if you’d like to see any of them move up the publication schedule:

  • Series on the Bible, inerrancy and other fun stuff
  • The myth of redemptive violence
  • To believe or not to believe?
  • Why I gave up trying to save the world
  • Why doesn’t God just make everyone Christian?

In the meantime I wish you all an excellent 2015. Please keep commenting – it gets a bit lonely otherwise! 😉

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About TheEvangelicalLiberal

Aka Harvey Edser. I'm a web editor, worship leader, wannabe writer, very amateur composer and highly unqualified armchair theologian. My heroes include C.S. Lewis and Homer Simpson.
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10 Responses to 2014 – review of the year

  1. Michael says:

    I am looking forward with keen interest in reading your blog. You will, undoubtedly, feel intense pride to know that yours is the only blog I follow with much gratitude to the Triune God of Grace. I wish you good writing and good health for 2015. Thank you!

    Like

    • Dear Michael, thank you very much for your kind words – I will endeavour to live up to them!
      I’m afraid I’m a bit of a heretic in many ways, or at least I’m aware that some of the ideas I explore in my blog may seem a little unorthodox at times. But I do still trust and worship the Lord of goodness and grace.
      All the best to you for the coming year!

      Like

  2. The series on inerrancy sounds good, it should get you a few more fans from the fundamentalist wing of Christianity. (Fun or mental you decide). I’m not quite sure how a shorter commute means less time for blogging, I would have thought it would be the other way round, unless you pass your commute by blogging?

    Like

    • Hello, I like your new screen name! Hope all’s very well with you 🙂

      Yes, I’m aiming at losing all my remaining fundie friends by rubbishing inerrancy…

      My old bus journeys used to give me nearly 2 hours uninterrupted writing time every working day if I wanted it. Since the house move I now have about 30 mins sitting time per day on a crowded train which isn’t half so conducive!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. doncher1 says:

    Happy new year to you. I’m looking forward to reading ‘why I gave up trying to save the world’ and ‘why doesn’t God just make everyone Christian?’. As you say, I often think about the fact that it must get a bit lonely writing blogs if not many people comment, especially as one of the things that I really like about your blog is that you always reply to people’s comments – something of a rarity I think, and it makes such a difference to the feel of the blog and the connections between writer and readers. As an infrequent commenter, I’d just like to echo what Michael above says about looking forward to reading your blog… even if I don’t comment much.

    Like

    • Hi doncher, thanks very much – and actually you’re one of my more regular and frequent commenters :). And as for me I’m shockingly bad at finding time to comment on the blogs I follow.

      If someone has taken the trouble to leave me a comment I think it’s important to reply if at all possible, but I’m not always very prompt!

      All the very best to you, and I’ll move those two posts you mentioned up my publishing schedule, such as it is…

      Like

  4. Daniel says:

    As with Michael yours is the only blog I actually follow (Although have to admit to having read less than previously. Sorry!) t’s been a funny old year from my side to. Having effectively given up church I hadn’t realised quite how much it had changed me until a Christmas drinks with old friends and when religion came up my thoughts on the conversation. Still keep writing and keep me sain as problems continue to annoy.

    Like

    • Ah, thanks Dan – I’m deeply touched to hear you still read my lengthy ramblings at all, and surprised to hear that they might just occasionally be vaguely helpful!

      Totally understand about giving up church – as I say, I haven’t exactly been a regular attender the last year, and it’s generally the last thing I want to be doing of a Sunday morning. I am beginning to feel a bit like something’s missing though, and not just the guaranteed half-hour sleep during the sermon, or the slightly dodgy coffee afterwards 😉

      Like

  5. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Thanks for the nice review Evan, it gives me a better idea of you as a person, and not just a blogger. I look forward to your upcoming posts!

    Like

    • Thanks Tim! I was wondering whether I’d been a bit too personal (details of my life generally seem a bit off-topic for the blog!) so glad to know that’s not a problem 🙂

      All the best to you, and to your lovely blog.

      Like

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