Edge Induced Cohesion: 2015 In Review (Part Two)

Although WordPress provides an annual review of my post that is full of lovely graphics [1], it is my personal habit to write a more extended commentary of the popular posts and what I feel about their popularity in a given year [2]. It is particularly striking that similar to last year, the most popular posts on this blog are strongly concentrated in very narrow areas, particularly my posts on biblical matters. None of my book reviews, which make up the largest contingent of blog entries, are on this list, although one narrowly missed out on the honorable mention slots. In addition, none of the posts are part of the ongoing and popular series on acts snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, although here too some posts narrowly missed mention. Instead, the posts deal a bit with history and politics and to a great extent with biblical history or scriptural analysis. Clearly, this is what my readers want to read. I will do my best to deliver the goods in the future as time permits. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the following list of the top posts from last year.

Honorable Mention #1: Introducing And Ranking The Twelve Apostles [3]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

Coming in at #23 this year is a post that I wrote a few years ago while starting a commentary on the Twelve Apostles that I have intermittently continued since then. While some of the apostles, like Bartholomew or Thomas, have been popular ones for others to read, others have scarcely been read at all, and so the momentum for the project as a whole has flagged a little. That said, it remains enduringly popular for people to read this entry as a way of seeing where the apostles rank, as ranking and ordering is an activity that is popular in general.

Honorable Mention #2: Psalm 84: How Lovely Is Your Tabernacle/Better Is One Day [4]
Categories: Bible, History, Sons of Korah, Christianity

As one of the most notable and popular songs of the Sons of Korah, this song had an intriguing meaning this year in part because I managed to read a book by the person who led Passion, the group whose album “Better Is One Day” forms part of the title of this particular entry [5]. It is often a pleasure for me not only to reflect upon the Psalms, something I would like to do more frequently on a formal basis, but also to give credit to the often obscure authors of psalms who may not be as famous as David, for example, but whose works provide the context by which more famous psalmists can be judged, in recognition of the broadness of what God has done and not only the most illustrious people alone.

Honorable Mention #3: Psalm 45: My Tongue Is The Pen Of A Ready Writer [6]
Categories: Bible, History, Sons of Korah, Christianity

The #21 post of last year is one that has a deep and rather unhappy personal meaning for me. As one of the psalms of the Sons of Korah, this song is a wedding song that has strongly prophetic meaning, and as an unmarried man myself who would much like to be, the psalm itself seems a bit of a taunt. In the context of its writing, it could likely have been written on few other days than the one where it was written, when I felt optimistically about how things were going in a flirtatious friendship I had with someone in Thailand, just before everything went very badly, leading me to a chain of personal difficulties that has now dogged me for three and a half years. This psalm, and this post, is a reminder of the stark difference between my longings and the praise of scriptures and the reality of my own life.

#20: On The Importance Of Chronology In Understanding History [7]
Categories: History

The #19 post last year falls one spot to #20 this year, a post I find fairly commonplace and ordinary, but one which appears to have struck a nerve especially with foreign audiences of students who are encouraged in their efforts to master the chronological framework of history by this post from the point of view of a historian who pays close attention to dates.

#19: Psalm 88: For My Soul Is Full Of Troubles [8]
Categories: Bible, History, Sons of Korah, Christianity

The #17 post of last year falls two spots to #19 this year. This post is one that is enduringly popular, but one that also reminds me in many ways of my own life. The author of this psalm, Heman the Ezrahite (see #15 post below), was an obscure man, but the psalm itself expresses one of the most poignant truths of scripture that is often forgotten in our contemporary Christian society, that sometimes righteous and good people are afflicted for their entire lives, with blessings but also with great sorrows. We are often too quick to judge those we see in affliction as meriting their wickedness, and too slow to recognize the fact that many people are good to the degree they are in large part because they have been given so many afflictions, afflictions portrayed vividly in this psalm, which has been a favorite of mine since youth.

#18: No Variation Or Shadow Of Turning: Calculus In The Bible [9]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

In some ways the continuing popularity of this post is a bit baffling to me, as it was used as a source for a website known as Conservapedia that I was unfamiliar with until looking at some of the traffic for this entry. As someone who is fond of mathematics beyond my better read commentary on scripture, I wrote this post in a thoughtful reflection on how a verse designed to speak about God’s unchanging nature prompted a mathematical formulation of the same principle through calculus, even though more than fifteen hundred years were between the time of James and the time of Liebnitz and Newton when calculus was being developed. Of course, some readers have complained that the presentation of calculus principles in the Bible were not particularly profound, but the fact that they were present at all, even in implication, is impressive enough.

#17: Proverbs 31:1-9: Lemuel’s Mother And The Duties Of Kings [10]
Categories: Bible, History

The #9 post last year, this is a post that I feel very happy to have been able to write. From time to time I have discussions with friends, many of whom are female, and have the chance to write about aspects of the Bible that are often neglected because they do not happen to catch the attention of many commentators. Proverbs 31 is most famous for the acrostic poem about the Virtuous Wife, about which I would like to write in greater detail at some point, but the nine verses before that are from a very wise, if very obscure, woman. No one knows, exactly, who exactly King Lemuel is. If he is Solomon, then the woman in question is Bathsheba, which becomes much more interesting to think about. At any rate, Proverbs 31 ends the book of Proverbs by providing wisdom to a ruler from a woman, and many rulers then or now probably did not sufficiently respect the wisdom that the women in their lives possessed. Let us hope that may not be said of us.

#16: I, Tertius, Wrote This Epistle: A Musing On The Language Of The Renewed Covenant Scriptures [11]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

The #8 post last year, this is a post I found enjoyable to write and I’m glad it has struck a chord among readers. As someone who takes the text of the Bible seriously, I find that many people who wish to critique the Bible and judge some letters as being Pauline and some as not being Pauline, I find that many of those discussions fail to take into account the numerous language issues, including the fact that the style of the scribe or even the languages they were most comfortable in, which may have sometimes been Aramaic, even, play a major role in stylistic differences. This is a post about literary criticism, but at the same time I am glad that it continues to make people think.

#15: Personal Profile: Heman The Ezrahite [12]
Categories: Bible, History, Sons of Korah, Christianity

The #13 post last year, this post falls two spots to #15 this year. Many, though not all, of my posts about the Sons of Korah are pretty popular, likely because people tend to enjoy looking up information on more obscure people who have a cultural relevance but are not often spoken of from a biblical perspective. Heman is a man I consider to have been a lot like myself, at least from what I have read about him in scripture. I am glad I have had the chance to write about him and even speak about him before, as he was a man who, however afflicted he was, was immensely gifted and was a blessing to others. I hope the same may be said of me.

#14: Numbers 5:1-31: Concerning Jealous Husbands [13]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

The #16 post last year, this post rises two spots this year. I must say that I have found the popularity of this post, which made it into a reddit discussion on the application of biblical law and a defense of the law against beliefs that God’s ways were misogynistic and sexist and obsolete, a bit worrisome. On the one hand, I am glad that my own writing is able to defend the ways of God in a world that is often critical of them, but at the same time, the subject of this post is one that I feel a great amount of personal unease around, as it is one of those posts that draws attention to the issue of marriage in my life, which is one that causes a fair amount of concern, even alarm.

#13: What’s In A Greeting?: The Epistles Of Paul [14]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

I am pleased about the popularity of this post, which came out of nowhere to end up in the #13 spot. As someone who greatly enjoys compendiums and comparative analyses, writing this post allowed me to gain a better appreciation both of the genres of letters as they were written in biblical times, but also the ways in which the introductions of Paul’s letters, something it is easy to skip over, contained very worthwhile information about the way that Paul thought about various issues because of the way that they were phrased. I am glad that others have been able to appreciate reading what I enjoyed writing. I have thought to do a similar comparison of the closing of Paul’s letters and I think that would be a worthwhile project as well.

#12: The Difference Between Shipping And Logistics [15]
Categories: Musings

I am pleased that this post has been important, not least because it was a somewhat prophetic post of my own, written before I had anything to do with UPS, but also because despite my own original lack of interest in focusing attention on logistics, the subject has increasingly become a subject of focus, not least because it is both important and obscure and unjustly ignored, and those are the qualities that will place my focus and attention on something. At any rate, this post is popular and it appears to be popular especially in places like India and the United Arab Emirates, for reasons I do not understand except that many readers there share an intense interest in logistics, which I now share.

#11: Jonadab The Son Of Rechab Shall Not Lack A Man To Stand Before Me Forever [16]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

The #15 post last year, this year it moves up four slots to #11 on this year’s list. I must admit that this post was a fun post to write, not only because it deals tangentially with the Sons of Korah, who hosted the discussion between Jeremiah and the Rechabites, but because it prompted my own musings on the mystery of God’s prophecy and how we could determine that it had been fulfilled to the present day [17]. Over and over again, one of the most common searches I see for those who come to my blog are questions about the Rechabites, which is a great pleasure, and intriguing in light of the fact that the most conspicuous aspect of their obedience was honoring their parents, a matter of considerable contemporary difficulty.

#10: Seven Things I Learned From The Wisdom Of Agur [18]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

The #14 post last year, this year it jumps four spots to #10. Like the post on Lemuel’s mother, this post relates to a very obscure biblical figure. What I find most remarkable about the popularity of this post is that it is a long post, a sermon message I gave about the wisdom of Agur contained in Proverbs 30, which include some very obscure passages in the Hebrew as well as one of the most straightforward Messianic prophecies that demonstrates that the existence of God as Father and Son was known in ancient times, if not always recognized today. That said, this post is definitely one whose consistent popularity is pleasing to me, and encourages me to write about more obscure people.

#9: Deuteronomy 21:1-9: Righteous Blood Cries Out For Vengeance [19]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

The #18 most popular post last year, this year it rockets up 9 places. I have mixed feelings about the popularity of this post, not least because when something is read that is not commented on or responded to, it is hard to know how the post is taken. This post is an examination of the importance of forensics to biblical law, an issue of some interest, and yet it is my concern that it is the fact that the post writes about the way that righteous blood seeks vengeance that is most popular. The question, of course, is what blood is righteous blood, and how is the vengeance to be undertaken. That is always the rub, I suppose. In the meantime, I note the popularity of this post as reflecting a wider concern with questions of justice and vengeance, an area of considerable concern in our world as a whole.

#8: What Does It Mean To Be A King And A Priest In The Kingdom Of God? [20]
Categories: Bible, Christianity

Like some of the other posts included here among my most popular, this particular one was a sermon message given at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2011 to brethren of the Church of God in Thailand. This post, which has come out of nowhere to the #8 spot this year, is a post that discusses matters of fundamental importance for Christians, namely what we are being trained to do, for an audience that was not very familiar with such matters. I suppose the popularity of this post suggests that many have found it to be a worthwhile, and hopefully basic, outlining of the promises that God gives to believers and how we are to become kings and priests in the Kingdom of God, which we fervently hope will come.

#7: On The Difference Between Greek Thought And Hebrew Thought [21]
Categories: Bible, Christianity

Holding steady at #7 this year is one of my most intriguing quotes, one that appears to have gotten involved in a bit of a dispute, and a post that has been frequently misunderstood, largely by those who have Greek minds that think they have Hebrew minds. The real point of this post, a point I make often, is that the biblical mindset is one that views texts in layers without denying the validity or importance of any of the layers. All too often violence is done to texts by viewing them as only saying one thing, when in fact they may be saying many things at the same time, all of which are true, but all of which are part of a larger context that must be respected for its depth. As a writer of intricate and complicated texts, my defense of the depth of the biblical text amounts to an indirect form of self-defense for my own approach to writing and reading.

#6: Personal Profile: Obed-Edom [22]
Categories: Bible, History, Sons of Korah, Christianity

I think it would please Obed-Edom the Gittite gatekeeper of Jerusalem, whose post sat at #2 last year and falls four spots to #6 this year, to know that three thousand years after he served God that his life and the blessings that God gave him for taking care of the Ark of the Covenant were still remembered and pondered upon. As believers, we never know exactly how much people will remember the lives that we have lived, and this post demonstrates that a humble and somewhat obscure servant of God mentioned only briefly in the Bible, nevertheless has lived a life that continues to inspire others to service, in the knowledge that our Father in heaven above notices what is done on earth below.

#5: The Three Types Of Leavening [23]
Categories: Bible, Christianity

The #4 post last year, this year it drops one spot to #5. I find great amusement in the popularity of this post, which tends to peak every year near Passover when people like myself are working on cleaning our our houses from leavened bread products, as well as the fact that when I still lived in Florida I managed to see on the information table of my local congregation an attempt by someone who was not very knowledgeable about mechanical leavening [24] to address this blog implicitly. It’s always nice to know that one is being talked about and responded to, even when people choose not to respond to your face. To be a part of a greater conversation about God’s ways, especially concern over removing sin from our lives, is a great thrill.

#4: Powers Denied To The States: A Constitutional Essay [25]
Categories: Politics

The #5 post last year, it rises one places to #4 this year. Over and over again this particular post has been very popular on a regular basis, possibly because it combines an exegetical analysis of the Constitution with some rather pointed comments about the debt of states and the unconstitutionality of secession. Those are subjects that make it far more popular than my other applications of the same thought process concerning the powers denied to Congress as well as the admission of Puerto Rico as a state, its companion essays [26]. Nevertheless, I’m glad that my works of fierce and obviously relevant critique reach a wide and willing audience of readers.

#3: The Tragedy Of Amy Winehouse And Jennifer Elliott [27]
Categories: Politics

The #6 post last year, this year it jumps three spots to #3. When I wrote this post originally, which was admittedly in a great hurry as I was getting ready to go on a visa run to Burma while I lived outside of Chiang Mai, I thought that my writing about Amy Winehouse would be what makes this post popular. But no, what made the post popular was the fact that I wrote about the death of a young woman in Jennifer Elliott who was well-loved, struggled with her demons, and had a lot of friends who continue to this day to reflect fondly upon their time spent with her and the horror that she was pushed to despair and shame by the News of the World, owned by the same person who owns America’s Fox News. This post is highly ironic as well in that my strong Conservative leanings aside, this post is awfully hard on Fox News, which is commonly considered to be the partisan mouthpiece for Conservatives. Chalk it up as one irony among many in my life.

#2: Why Thailand Is A Third World Country [28]
Categories: Politics

The #3 post last year, this year it climbs to #2. As is sometimes the case, when I wrote this post I had a particular mindset in mind, and that is commenting upon the unevenness of development in Thailand, which I saw as seeking to present itself as a wealthy country on the level with the West but with immense poverty and privation in its rural hinterlands, where I happened to live at the time I wrote the entry. The post has since become part of an enduring argument over the way I described Thailand as “Third World” even though it was clearly aligned with the United States in the Cold War, even though I meant third world in a four world economic perspective, referring to its status as a lower-middle class country. Of course, it seems many readers have never bothered to ask, or read, what I was actually saying, and so they thought that I was being a snobby elitist Westerner as opposed to a pointed critic but one who had no hostility to the commonfolk of Thailand. Such is the life.

#1: Bartholomew Called Nathanael: An Israelite In Whom There Is No Guile [29]
Categories: Bible, History, Christianity

The #1 post last year as well, I am surprised that this post is so popular. As is often the case, in writing about this disciple with a similar name to my own, I wrote about someone whose nature is not that dissimilar to my own, being a person who is honest as well as a deep thinker about matters of communication. Given that so many people view this post, I must imagine it is because there is a great hunger to know about some of the more obscure apostles about whom little is said in the Bible or, perhaps more to the point, in many contemporary writing about the Apostles, which tend to focus on the familiar and not step out to discuss what is a bit more unusual. The fact that this post is popular ought to demonstrate that I am pleased to write about the off-beat and unfamiliar, and apparently that is what people particularly enjoy.

Bonus Feature: Top 20 Nations Of 2015

In February 2012 WordPress started showing the national origin of the viewers of my blog, and ever since then I have taken a great personal interest in which nations happen to enjoy reading my blog the most. As it happens, more than 2/3 of all viewers hail from the United States of America, which is no great surprise, and those nations that are the most popular have a remarkable degree of consistency. That said, this year was a year when one nation more than any other stood out by its rapid rise from a position of relative obscurity in the top 50 nations or so to a firm place among the top nations of this blog, while this year seemed a bit less consistent in the lower rungs, than was the case before, largely on account of some very unusual and remarkable patterns of viewing, such as a dramatic late year search for my blog entry on the problems of peace by people in Pakistan, and to a lesser extent India, which was remarkable and surprising. Even so, the top has been pretty consistent since the very beginning of this blog. With that said, here is the list of the top 20 nations by views for my blog, without any further ado:

#1: United States (#1 since 2012)
#2: Great Britain (#2 since 2012)
#3: Canada (#3 since 2012)
#4: Australia (#4 since 2012)
#5: India (#7 in 2012, #6 in 2013-2014)
#6: Philippines (#5 from 2012-2014)
#7: European Union (NR from 2012-2014)
#8: South Africa (#8 in 2012, #10 in 2013, #7 in 2014)
#9: Singapore (#9 in 2012, #8 in 2013-2014)
#10: Thailand (#6 in 2012, #7 in 2013, #9 in 2014)
#11: Nigeria (#18 in 2012, #13 in 2012, #10 in 2014)
#12: Norway (NR from 2012-2014)
#13: Malaysia (#11 from 2012-2014)
#14: New Zealand (#14 in 2012, #12 in 2013-2014)
#15: Germany (#12 in 2012, #14 in 2013, #13 in 2014)
#16: Kenya (#19 in 2012, #15 in 2013-2014)
#17: Ghana (NR in 2012-2013, #20 in 2014)
#18: Netherlands (#10 in 2012, #9 in 2013, #14 in 2014)
#19: Indonesia (#20 in 2012, NR in 2013, #18 in 2014)
#20: Pakistan (NR from 2012-2014)

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/2015-in-review/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/edge-induced-cohesion-2014-in-review-part-two/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/edge-induced-cohesion-2014-in-review-part-1/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/edge-induced-cohesion-2013-in-review-part-two/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/edge-induced-cohesion-2012-in-review-version-two/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/edge-induced-cohesion-2011-in-review/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/edge-induced-cohesion-top-10-posts-of-2010/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/introducing-and-ranking-the-twelve-apostles/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/psalm-84-how-lovely-is-your-tabernacle-better-is-one-day/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/book-review-the-comeback/

[6] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/psalm-45-my-tongue-is-the-pen-of-a-ready-writer/

[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/on-the-importance-of-chronology-in-understanding-history/

[8] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/psalm-88-for-my-soul-is-full-of-troubles/

[9] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/no-variation-or-shadow-of-turning-calculus-in-the-bible/

[10] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/proverbs-31-1-9-lemuels-mother-and-the-duties-of-kings/

[11] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/i-tertius-wrote-this-epistle-a-musing-on-the-language-of-the-renewed-covenant-texts/

[12] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/personal-profile-heman-the-ezrahite/

[13] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/numbers-5-11-31-concerning-jealous-husbands/

[14] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/whats-in-a-greeting-the-epistles-of-paul/

[15] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/the-difference-between-shipping-and-logistics/

[16] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/jonadab-the-son-of-rechab-shall-not-lack-a-man-to-stand-before-me-forever/

[17] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/jeremiah-354-the-sons-of-korah-help-stage-a-prophetic-test/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/jonadab-the-son-of-rechab-shall-not-lack-a-man-to-stand-before-me-forever/

[18] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/seven-things-i-learned-from-the-wisdom-of-agur/

[19] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/deuteronomy-21-1-9-righteous-blood-cries-out-for-vengeance/

[20] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-king-and-a-priest-in-the-kingdom-of-god/

[21] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/on-the-difference-between-greek-thought-and-hebrew-thought/

[22] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/personal-profile-obed-edom/

[23] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/on-the-three-types-of-leavening/

[24] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/the-plain-truth-about-mechanical-leavening/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/agents-of-corruption-2/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/something-in-the-air/

[25] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/powers-denied-to-the-states-a-constitutional-essay/

[26] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/powers-denied-to-congress-a-constitutional-essay/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/puerto-ricos-road-to-statehood-a-constitutional-essay/

[27] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/the-tragedies-of-amy-winehouse-and-jennifer-elliott/

[28] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/why-thailand-is-a-third-world-country/

[29] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/bartholmew-called-nathanael-an-israelite-in-whom-there-is-no-guile/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Edge Induced Cohesion: 2015 In Review (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: Edge Induced Cohesion: 2016 In Review | Edge Induced Cohesion

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