Revisiting 2014…aka another top 10 list.

A little while back I had a fan of Faith on View message me on Facebook asking me to once again post regularly on Faith on View. Okay, truth be told it really was more of an internet friend teasing me for my failures. For those who follow this blog, they noticed that in September posts stopped fairly abruptly. What happened was that I had the wonderful opportunity to become a Senior Lecturer at California College of the Arts which is one of the top Art Schools in the nation. But, I had previously committed to teaching two classes at William Jessup University, an evangelical school in the Sacramento  area, and a class at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where I am pursuing my PhD. This meant that in addition to the Theological Aesthetics course I was auditing from the esteemed Frank Birch Brown, I was also now teaching five classes at three different institutions. All that to say I was really busy and I let my writing on Faith on View slip. The good news is that this semester my teaching is reduced and I am only teaching one course at GTU and one at CCA. This should translate into more regular writing from me. I have a lot of ideas so I am looking forward to having more time to get them on “paper.”

Rondall, Pamela, and the kids in a fall 2014 portrait taken by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography
Rondall, Pamela, and the kids in a fall 2014. Portrait taken by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography

As for revisiting 2014, it was a good year. In the spring I finished my PhD coursework and residency requirements. As stated above, I also began teaching both at California College of the Arts and the Graduate Theological Union. Pamela and the kids also all kept busy. Additionally, it is the academic job application season so I have been working hard and will continue to work hard on submitting dozens of applications. We’ll see what happens.

For Faith on View, 2014 was also a good year. While this blog started in 2011, I never installed google analytics until late 2012. In the few moths in 2012 where there is a record, there were a whopping 868 pageviews. In 2013 I began blogging more often, including reporting on the sad situation at Louisiana College. Plus, I released the first ever Faith on View Christian College Rankings. In all, there were 217,179 pageviews in 2013. In 2014, we added Pamela’s writing to the mix and for the first nine months we blogged pretty consistently and released a second edition of the College rankings. We had a total of 285,985 page views. These are tiny numbers compared to the big name blogs. But, it is fun to see them grow and at the very least it shows that what we are doing resonates with some people. Which is good.

Top 10 Posts of 2014

I promised a top 10 list and don’t worry you will get it now. Looking back at 2014 it is fun to see what was most appreciated by people. So, here is Faith on View’s Top 10 Posts of 2014.

1) The Faith on View Christian College Rankings

This year was the second year of the Faith on View Christian College Rankings. They continue to be popular. These rankings are still the most complete and exhaustive rankings of Christian Colleges that are available. If you haven’t taken a look please do. Plus, we have improvements planned for the years to come.

2) Anything and everything about Louisiana College

Louisiana College has had a rough couple of years. If you haven’t followed the story it really is worthy of a book, movie, or maybe a television mini series. 15 of the top 30 pages this year were Louisiana College stories. One thing that really surprised me was when Scott Culpepper and I presented papers at the Conference of Faith and History held this year at Pepperdine University in Malibu California, we both repeatedly had people come up and talk to us about the situation at Louisiana College. Academics around the country were keeping an eye on the story. Some even faithfully followed the situation here on Faith on View. Since there were so many LC stories that were popular I’ve decided to include a sub-list here of the top 5 Louisiana College stories this year.

  1. Louisiana College: Drugs, Pornography, and What Joe Aguillard Knew

  2. Aguillard in his own words: Will the real Joe Aguillard please stand-up, please stand-up, please stand-up?

  3. Louisiana College: Satan is Working Hard, Stand with Joe

  4. Why Louisiana College Students are Afraid, and Why They Should Be

  5. Dr. Aguillard threatens students at Louisiana College

3) Nebraska: The Power of Grace

In the Spring, I took a course on films where we looked at films currently in theatres theologically, philosophically, and cinematically. As a result, I began blogging reviews of films (something I plan to continue). Some of these reviews, for whatever reason, gained a larger audience than others. Interesting to me is that it wasn’t the big name films that seemed to attract some interest.

4) Omar: The Limits of our Sacrifice or The Boy, The Money, The Sugar, and The Stone

This was another film review that gained some traction. For those who never saw it, which is probably most of you, Omar is a really interesting Palestinian film.

5) Why Do We Sing? Hymns and Contemporary Christian Music in the Church

This is an interesting article by Pamela about Hymns and Contemporary music in the Church. The article was actually picked up and reprinted by Two-Handed Warriors which was a lot of fun for Pamela.

6) Five Evangelical Christs: Thomas Kinkade (Part 5)

A six part series about how Jesus is conceived visually for evangelicals. Of course, Kinkade is probably the most recognizable religious artist of the last half century so it stands to reason that his article is the one people read the most. But, please don’t stop there. There are some really interesting other artists.

7)  Same Sex Attraction and the Aching Heart of Christ

This was one of the most personally meaningful articles for me in 2014. Same sex attraction is such a huge issue in the church today. Faithful people fall in drastically different camps and there s a lot of venom on all sides. What breaks my heart are the people who are hurt. This article spins off the story of a former student of mine.

8) Poll: Is Beauty Objective?

A poll is on an issue that I honestly am still trying to figure out. There were also some good comments both on the blog and on Facebook. Unfortunately, I was negligent in responding to the comments. But, this subject is a big part of one of my current research interests so I will not only be revisiting this specific blog post and comments I will also be writing articles in the future that tie into this subject.

9) Philosophy for Theology: Aesthetics and Theology

My aesthetics work exists on the boundary between theology and philosophy so I think a lot about these issues. There is one thing in particular that I think theology can and should learn from aesthetics. Plus, I tell my beloved Aston Martin Analogy in this article.

10) Am I a Liberal?

This story grew out of my coverage of the Louisiana College situation. In the evangelical world, the easiest way to discredit someone is to call them liberal. This, of course, was done to me by those who wanted to weaken my voice. While I’m sure some consider me a crypto-liberal (a new term to me that I think is really fun) I wanted to put out there what I believe and let others judge for themselves. Label me as you wish.

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