As Gregorian year 2010 ends, I thought it fitting to provide a retrospective of the top 10 posts of the last year, with some comments on what I was attempting to do in my particular post and why I believe the post was popular. First, though, before getting into the top 10, I would like to discuss some posts that were close to the top 10 but did not quite make the cut:
Honorable Mention #1: Somaliland’s Quid Pro Quo 
This article, written on November 27th, was designed to show that Somaliland, despite its unrecognized status, had some bargaining chips in order to gain a greater international profile. It was one of my earliest articles on this blog about Somaliland (several of which are on this list), and I sought to use it as an editorial about the foreign diplomacy efforts of this forgotten nation.
I must admit I was a bit surprised by the popularity of this entry (though others about Somaliland were even more popular), but this entry really put my blog on the map of commentators about Somaliland, both for and against, as people wondered about my own particular reason for interest in Somaliland. By putting my name and commentary in the attention of various articles and websites, I feel it might help increase the profile of Somaliland among others who are interested in international affairs.
Honorable Mention #2: Book Review: The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War 
The only book review to approach my top ten entries of the year, this entry was copied from my facebook profile on November 29th. In this particular book review, I sought to examine how someone could write a new book about the Civil War given the tens of thousands that are written already. Apparently there are enough fans of the grand strategy of the American Civil War to make this a popular post. Who knew?
And now for the top 10:
#10 (tie): Exploring The Ironies of the Unity of Faith and the Gifts of Christ: Ephesians 4:1-8 
My second post on the (now defunct) COG America organization, this particular post explored the difference between the conception of spiritual gifts by the ministers responsible for this organization and what the Bible says. Given that the COG America was a popular item in searches among the Church of God community during the few days while it lasted, this post caught some of that wave of popularity before the church went defunct.
#10 (tie): Somaliland Update: Somaliland President Prepares For Official Visit To China 
Another one of my posts on Somaliland, this particular post was written to explore the possibility that China would establish diplomatic relations with Somaliland as a result of their mutual interests. This post seemed to catch the wave of popularity based on my recognition as someone who writes and comments a lot on Somaliland, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Not enough people do it, or I would do something else.
#8 (tie): Somaliland, China, Oil, and Legitimacy: A Potential Minefield of Issues 
One of my most recent articles on Somaliland, this particular entry was a continuation of previous articles on Somaliland exploring the relationship between oil, diplomatic legitimacy, and the foreign relations of China and Somaliland. Like the others, it seems to have drawn a similar audience of people interested in the diplomatic efforts of Somaliland to achieve international recognition.
#8 (tie): Like It’s The Last Night On The Earth 
This particular entry was one of my most recent to date, and its popularity seems to come from the fact that I was writing about the Winter Family Weekend (which a lot of people seemed to be curious about), and the fact that the atmosphere was a bit odd made for some compelling reflections, which seemed to resonate with a lot of people.
#7: Contested Legitimacy in Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna 
This particular post was originally written as an essay early this year, and its popularity is a bit of a surprise to me, given the length of the essay (about nine pages or so). I did not realize that Fuente Ovejuna was such a popular book, for though this post has never been among the daily most popular posts in my blog, somehow it manages to find enough enduring popularity to stay relevant. Here’s hoping plenty of readers will find a lot to know about Fuente Ovejuna, one of my favorite plays of all time.
#6: All That Heaven Allows 
This particular post was one of my popular posts from the Winter Family Weekend that was especially (and quickly) popular. In this particular post I wanted to write some very serious reflections about the relationship between surviving traumatic experiences like childhood sexual abuse and the insights one gains on important issues of good and evil. Clearly, whether because others wanted to read about my personal life in dark matters or because my thoughts were of interest to others. It is my hope that my experiences may be of help to others to let them know that they do not suffer or struggle alone. We’re all in this together and we need to encourage each other and overcome the stigmas that others would wish to place.
#5: A Note To The Readers About My Travels to the Winter Family Weekend 
This post was the first of my “Winter Family Weekend” posts, and the most popular. I am not sure if the fact that this was my last post for days made it particular popular, or the fact that I challenged people to a snowball fight (strangely enough, while several people mentioned to me that they had read about the challenge, I did not have any snowball fights myself). I imagine the point was made sufficiently well to head off any dangers, though.
#4: What Wikileaks Says About Somaliland 
This was my most popular post about Somaliland, and I suppose that is because it managed to dovetail with the wikileaks scandal from earlier this fall. Some people seem to have misunderstood my post as supporting wikileaks, but my point was merely to demonstrate that my respect for America’s diplomats increased because of the sincerity and excellence and candor of their advice to their bosses in the State Department. The United States is well served by its diplomatic corps, and that is worthy of high praise.
#3: It Is Not Good That Man Should Be Alone: An Antidote to Pre-Celibacy Counseling 
When I wrote this article refuting some of the mistaken criticisms made about the longings of singletons like myself for love and marriage, I had the feeling it would be a popular post. I wasn’t wrong, though it was not a fun post to write. I was honestly hoping for more comments to go along with the views, but few people feel comfortable commenting on my posts for some reason. It was a pleasure to finally unveil some of my commentary on Ruth, which has been held up because I haven’t felt up to finishing it.
#2: Why Jesus Kept Hanukkah: Lessons From John 10:22-30 
For most of the fall, this was the most popular post of the year, and it seems to have been popular because it is not widely known that Jesus kept Hanukkah, much less that he did so for a very good reason to demonstrate the gulf between his purpose on the earth for the first time and the immediate kingship expected by the Jews of the time. It is my hope that this particular entry gets people thinking about the historical holidays of the Bible as well as the second temple context of much of Jesus’ disputes with his contemporaries. Without an understanding of the Judaism of the time, it is hard to understand what it is that Yeshua (Jesus Christ) was really saying.
#1: Just What Is The Ephesians 4 Model For A Healthy Congregation Anyway? 
My first post on the now-defunct COG America (an organization apparently started–at least its website–by a fellow out of South Texas named Jack “Jasper” Hendren), this particular fierce post was written to critique the view of Ephesians 4 and its relationship to the ministry that was promoted on that now-shuttered website. It’s ironic to think that my blog site has lasted long than a supposed umbrella organization for a Church of God, but so it is. Let that be a lesson for 2011–those who prematurely dance on the graves of other organizations had better take heed to their own longevity.
Overall, it seems as if a few topics were of consistent interest–Somaliland’s international relations, the crisis in the United Church of God, and my own personal posts about my life and activities. We shall see what interesting situations 2011 brings to write about when they arise, I suppose.