December 19, 2023

Steve’s Top Ten Blog Post List: 2023 (10 through 6)

But First A Light Interlude

Ok it’s time for lists. If Spotify can do it so can I. Incidentally, my Spotify “most listened to musical act for 2023” was Byron Bay born, but Berlin based five piece outfit – Parcels. I was a 0.01% listener, which says that when I got down a rabbit hole I go down deep. But do yourself a favour and listen to a stylish, super talented, bunch of groovers who wear impossibly well tailored clothes. The city that most reflected my music tastes was Brighton in the UK (humble hipster brag right there). All top five of my top five songs were from Parcels.

Good choice though? Especially if, at this time of year, you’re waiting for one. A parcel, I mean.

Here’s a taste of Parcels. The song’s called Lightenup, which seems like a good idea for 2024:

Everyone loves a good parcel, right?

Now For The Serious Stuff

Okay, now for the serious stuff, a ten through one of the most read blog posts for 2023 on stephenmcalpine.com.

10. When Death Starts To Take Our Friends

Matthew Perry’s death at 54 (my wife’s age!) shocked a whole generation of X-Gen types who suddenly realise their mortality, and the fact that being there for someone won’t necessarily help if the demons are in too deep. A wake up call for those who have refused to drink at the true foundation of life.

9. The Day I Lost My Marbles

    The vexed problem of Christian organisations that will sacrifice all of the small people (the little marbles) for the sake of saving a bad leader (the big marble), and the enervating effect that has on the org. I gave this as a talk to a whole bunch of little marbles who have been done over in ungodly ways by supposedly godly people. I expect a similar blog post to be up there at the end of 2024. We don’t learn! Or we don’t speak up enough. Or both.

    8. Ayaan Hirsi Ali…

    In the culture wars every now and then someone makes a significant pronouncement, and most recently that was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who came out and said she’s identifying as Christian now, as she sees how central the Christian framework is to everything she believes. A black minority woman who has received multiple death threats from Islamists should be celebrated, but somehow progressives and some Christians saw reason to mock or doubt. And too many evangelicals who, upon getting a rough comment on Facebook, have a meltdown, felt equally sniffy about it because she doesn’t tick their boxes either. Fellow atheist for a season, Richard (pale, male, and stale) Dawkins wrote her a letter lamenting her lack of courage.

    7. Why Do We Affirm What We Affirm?

    After getting a shellacking (more of that in the 5 through 1 post) for pointing out an affirming church that still claims to be gospel-centred, I asked the question: What are the preconditions and the shibboleths behind our convictions, especially around matters of anthropology and sexuality? I wrote this, and I’m ever more convinced of it: “Perhaps it’s the shaping of things to come. The true shaping of things to come. That affirming churches and denominations will inevitably regard non-affirming churches as beyond the pale. Indeed they will mark them out as unsafe and unhelpful.”

    6. Hey Remember: There are Christian Schools and there are “Christian” Schools

    This is a hardy perennial in the battle by the “sexular age” to force alternate ethical communities such as faith-based schools to line up with the secular zeitgeist on sexuality. The standard framework is “Find orthodox Christian school with non-Christian student base (and handy bunch of well-heeled, well connected parents); find someone feeling victimised by the school over its Christian policies; give that person plenty of airtime in the media while simultaneously misrepresenting the school or misquoting the board; wait for general public furore and the school to back down. Launder, rinse repeat. Christian schools who hold an orthodox view and prosecute it are caught between a hostile culture and schools that either just want to keep their heads down, or who have rolled over on it and are keen to point out the resistors. Expect more of this also in 2024.

    So That’s Part One

    So that’s 10 through 6. The top five are to come tomorrow. I wonder if you can guess the subject matter. In the meantime here’s something else from my top five Spotify musical artists for 2023 to keep you entertained. This is beautiful, emotional and deep:

    Written by

    stephenmcalpine

    There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

    Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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