This year I was greatly surprised by how popular Edge Induced Cohesion became, with surprises starting in January and continuing throughout the year. 2011 began with a bang–a series of popular posts about religious controversies and ending with some very surprising popularity for a post against corruption in the news. The purpose of this blog shifted over the course of a year from a narrow post on history to a post that dealt with controversies of many types, examining the relationship between history, worldview, and our current political scene. Also, a move to Thailand in May shifted the geographical focus to include a lot of information on Southeast Asia.
That said, the year had a lot of milestones as well–500 posts (with 100 posts expected in late winter or early spring of 2012), 50,000 views (making this blog far more popular than expected), and my first post with 1,000 views (and it wasn’t the post I thought it would be either). So, without any further ado I would like to take the opportunity to talk about the top 20 posts of 2011, as well as what projects they were a part of so that my readers may understand just how complicated my blog is, as the popular posts were from a surprisingly wide variety of subjects.
Honorable Mention #2: 1 Chronicles 9:17-34: The Tabernacle And Temple Responsibilities of the Sons of Korah 
Categories: Bible, Sons of Korah
The first (of several) entries in my Sons of Korah book project that we will be looking at the today, this one almost made the top 20 list, coming in at #22. This entry specifically dealt with one of the more obscure passages of the Bible that showed how the Sons of Korah had responsibilities in music, as gatekeepers, and as being in charge of making the showbread for the tabernacle and temple. The Sons of Korah are mentioned quite often in scripture despite being largely unknown by the public. For whatever reason, many readers were glad to learn a little about them and their duties from this blog entry. I hope they found what they were looking for.
Honorable Mention #1: The Cogwa Cattle Rustlers Of Zambia 
Coming in at #21 and just missing this year’s top 20 was a post I wrote about some thieving Zambian members of Cogwa. Cogwa thieves proved to be a popular subject this year (we will meet up with some more of them later), but it’s a horrible thing to rob from brethren who have next to nothing, like members of the Southern African country of Zambia. This blog was part of a massive dispute over the ownership of some cattle given to UCG members by Lifenets to help with their farming efforts in the mostly rural nation. Of course, some people just can’t admit they’re a bunch of thieving scumbags.
#20: No Variation Or Shadow of Turning: Calculus In The Bible
Categories: Bible, Math 
The #20 post of 2011 for Edge Induced Cohesion was this quirky and drily humorous ode to mathematics in the Bible. Apparently the post struck a nerve with those who wanted to see how the Bible itself relates to moderately advanced mathematics, and prompted a discussion about whether the shadow of turning was about second integrals or path integrals. Count me on for greatly enjoying a discussion that combines general math nerdiness with discussions of the Word of God. Who says there has to be distance between intelligence and faith? Certainly not I.
#19: Psalms 42 and 43: As The Deer Pants For The Water
Categories: Bible, Music, Sons of Korah 
This post, about one of the best-known of the hymns of the Sons of Korah came in at the #19 spot for 2011. Though the Sons of Korah are largely obscure, the works that they have written endure. “As The Deer” is usually portrayed as a sweet and positive song when in reality it was quite darker and gloomier–something I will have cause to talk about later in today’s review. That said, it’s nice that plenty of people were curious about learning Psalm 42 and 43 deeper.
#18: The Sons of Korah 
Categories: Bible, Sons of Korah
This blog actually came from a sermonette that I delivered in Miami, FL early in 2011, and proved to be the catalyst of the Sons of Korah project, as I looked into what the Sons of Korah did and realized they did a lot of things that are largely forgotten, prompting my whole “book project” on the Sons of Korah that I am almost done with and still shopping around (unsuccessfully so far) to agents and publishers. Still, it was a very productive study in terms of recognizing a very obscure but important thread within the scriptures concerning the godly attitude toward rebellion, an important theme of this blog.
#17: Somaliland, China, Oil, and Legitimacy: A Potential Minefield of Issues 
Categories: Somaliland, Business, Law
The most popular Somaliland post by far in my Somaliland series, this post examined the dicey ownership of oil in Somaliland waters. Originally, an American oil company had the oil rights from Somalia but has never bothered to reconfirm them with Somaliland and so now a Chinese company has won the rights to the oil reserves and is working closely with Somaliland and Ethiopia to increase its access to these reserves. This blog entry was part of a longer series that dealt both with Somaliland’s efforts to leverage its natural resources for a better economy and international presence and China’s own seemingly limitless appetite for natural resources.
#16: Solsbury Hill 
Categories: Music, Song Analysis
By far the most popular song analysis of the series on this blog, this entry tackled a popular but enigmatic song that combined late 1970’s speculation on Christ (similar to the musings in Jesus Christ Superstar) with Peter Gabriel’s own search for musical autonomy. The song has long been a favorite of mine for its ambiguity and depth, and the post seemed to strike a nerve with readers examining the multiple layers of meaning to be found within this pop masterpiece.
#15: Introducing And Ranking The Twelve Apostles 
Categories: Bible, 12 Apostles
This post was originally written several years ago and posted online for the first time in 2011, as part of a slow-going project on the portrayal of the Twelve disciples in scripture. So far of the 13 apostles written about in scripture two of them are complete, but I’m hoping to continue writing about more of them (especially the obscure ones) before too long, so I hope that readers interested in hearing more about the apostles will enjoy those posts. A lot of readers did seem interested in finding out about the rank and hierarchy between the 12, though.
#14: Some Ironic Comments On The Upcoming Louisville Conference 
One of the many biting and ironic posts about Cogwa to gain an enthusiastic reading audience this year, this post examined some of my dry commentary about the “founding” conference for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (otherwise known as Cogwa), and that drew plenty of people interested in reading more about it. A little bit of irony never hurts.
#13: On Moral And Physical Courage 
Category: Culture, American Civil War
This post was prompted, as many of my posts are, by reading. In this case I read about the lack of moral courage by the leaders of the North before the Civil War that had to be paid in blood and physical courage later on as a result of the cowardice. In my darker days I reflect that we seem to be in a similar period right now in the United States (and other countries) where a lack of moral courage among leaders may prove very bloody for the people at large.
#12: A Comparative Analysis Of The Parable Of The Talents And The Parable Of The Minas 
This post was very surprisingly popular to me, as it was something I wrote about three years ago while visiting South America and musing on the similarities and important differences between the Parable of the Talents and the Minas, looking especially at how God gave the same reward for the same proportion of growth with different talents and different rewards for different proportions of growth from the same amount of minas. The essay was an attempt for me to understand the workings of God’s judgment, and it seemed to resonate with readers, to my pleasure.
#11: Personal Profile: Heman The Ezrahite 
Categories: Bible, Sons of Korah, Depression
The most popular post of the book project on the Sons of Korah, this post was also part of a lengthy and continuing discussion about mental illness (especially depression). As this is a subject of both personal interest to me (and apparently a lot of other people too), hopefully plenty of people were able to find some comfort in reading about one of my favorite personages in the Bible, and the author of Psalm 88.
#10: A Review Of My Strengths Finder Report 
Holding down the anchor spot of the top 10, I was a bit surprised at the popularity of this entry, which was a straightforward commentary on my strengthsfinder report and appeared to prompt a lot of reading from others who, like me, are interested in “positive” psychology and focusing on strengths rather than endlessly ruminating on weaknesses. At any rate, my interest in understanding the bigger picture behind my strengths and how they work together as part of a system caught the interest of many readers.
#9: Why Aren’t They In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: Chicago
Categories: Music, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 
The most popular post to date in a series about artists who have been snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame struck an amazing amount of commentary, including a posting of some very insightful articles about the bad blood between the members of Chicago and Peter Cetera, the lack of feeling of belongingness between a lead singer and a band with a slightly different background (similar to that felt by Steve Perry in Journey), as well questions about why Chicago does not get the respect they deserve. Clearly this post, and the series as a whole, has touched a nerve.
#8: Powers Denied To The States: A Constitutional Essay 
Categories: Law, American Civil War
This post as written in response to the growing debt crisis among the states, part of the debt crisis that is enveloping our society right now in many areas of the world, and how the U.S. Constitution strictly limits the power of its constituent states. A lot of people looking for the Article I restrictions on the states, and its implications on the Civil War and present political and economic problems, found their way onto this blog entry. I would have liked to have seen a lot more comments and discussion, though.
#7: On The Three Types Of Leavening 
Categories: Church of God, Law
This post sprang out of some lengthy discussions I have had with friends about leavening and about the general lack of understanding that Church of God members have about leavening, in their allegedly unleavened sourdough recipes and so on. The goal of this post was to prompt people to think about the other, hidden sources of leavening from their air that are used in foods that do not have chemical or biological leavening added to them. It prompted my local congregation to have a bogus and fallacious statement that breads with mechanical leavening weren’t leavened, so I suppose it did its job well.
#6: Some Ironic Comments On A Lawsuit 
Categories: Cogwa, Law
Who is Sarah Luther is about as pointless and meaningless a question as “Who is John Galt,” but at least there wasn’t a long and tedious speech about it, just a frivolous lawsuit that was filed and tossed out on account of the pseudonymous filer of the complaint, which led to a lot of fingers being pointed, including some people who (wrongly) believed I did it and that got connected with more Cogwa thievery. It wasn’t cattle this time, but rather congregational funds and hymnals and passover glasses. Some people never learn.
#5: Today In History: On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee Surrendered The Army of Northern Virginia 
Categories: History, American Civil War
This post was a straightforward post about the end of the Civil War and the surrender at McClean’s house in Appamattox Court House, and the ironies about it, something that many people seemed to find interesting and worthwhile. The post was a bit more of a popular subject than I normally like to write about but a lot of people seemed to enjoy it, so that’s good.
#4: Book Review: Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners And The Causes Of The Civil War 
Categories: Book Review, History, American Civil War
This is by far the most popular book reviews I have written on my blog (or any other blog, for that matter), and it is an immensely worthwhile and small book. Basically, this book ends any doubt that the South rebelled from the Union for the reason of slavery, as commissioners from states that rebelled stoked racist fears about the threat of the North to slavery to other states and incited them to rebel over slavery, not state’s rights. This book is immensely important and deserves to be much more read.
#3: Be Careful What You Wish For 
In case someone doesn’t know, someone wished me dead 70 times 7, and I wrote about it. This was the first post of the year that was immensely popular, and throughout the year people continued to check up on it. I don’t think anything more needs to be said about that.
#2: Facing The Grim Arithmetic: The Paid Ministry of Cogwa 
Well, this post has a bit of a “see, I told you so,” angle about it, as Cogwa congregations didn’t grow throughout the year and some of them are being shuttered because of a lack of members, with ministers being transferred in an effort to cut costs. I’m not surprised about any of this, because I wrote about it near the beginning of the year. This was the most popular post for most of the year, and ended up #2. The arithmetic is still grim in 2012–one cannot build a strong house on a foundation of deceit and theft.
#1: The Tragedies Of Amy Winehouse And Jennifer Eliott 
Categories: Politics, Music
After a huge (and very puzzling) surge at the end of the year, my rant against the corruption of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News charged to the #1 spot with over 1200 views. When I originally wrote this post after the death of Amy Winehouse, I had thought it was her death that would draw some interest, but as it happened way more people wanted to find out about Jennifer Elliott and the News of the World scandal, and my impassioned hostility to the political hypocrisy of using corrupt cops to support moralistic politics struck a nerve with a lot of readers. I wish I would have known how popular it would have been so I could have made my points even in greater detail. But what I have written, I have written.