Edge Induced Cohesion: 2016 In Review

Since it appears that WordPress has decided not to do its usual annual review post this year for my blog [1], I figured it was necessary to continue my own series of annual reviews about the state of my blog in 2016 [2].  Sometimes you can tell a lot about a year as a writer by what people really wanted to see.  While there are some who found this year to be terrible because of so many celebrity deaths or the toxic political atmosphere of the year, for me I found this year to be largely wasted.  It just seems at this point in time that my life is going to waste without there being anything productive about it being left behind, anything worth celebrating or remembering, and that gloomy thought has led to a lot of writing and reflecting.  So, in that frame of mind I would like to look back at the top 20 posts for the past year along with some honorable mentions and comment on what I think of the posts that drew people to read at least some of the voluminous output that I pour out of my melancholy spirit.

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

Coming in at #23 for the second straight year (which is an unusual achievement, to be sure), is this evergreen post I write several years ago while beginning a series.  The series itself remains unfinished for several reasons–namely that some of the posts are too massive for the busy life I have at present and that the lack of views of more recent entries in the series has made it unsatisfactory for me to spend a lot of time writing about something that does not bring any personal therapeutic value nor draw the attention of anyone else.  Nevertheless, be that as it may, this post continues to draw appreciation from readers and that is something that I find rewarding.

Honorable Mention #2:  The Tragedies Of Amy Winehouse And Jennifer Elliott [4]
Category:  Politics

Having long been a staple of the top ten of my blog entries, this year my entry on a famous singer and a less than famous but troubled woman that I wrote about more than half a decade ago during my time in Thailand drops to #22.  Either this shows that people are finally not as interested as before in seeing my blistering criticism of News of the World in relationship to its shoddy journalistic ethics, or that this prime example of “fake news” was overtaken by other examples this year on the part of mainstream media (witness, for example, the current mania for pontificating about alleged Russian hacking from the Washington Post), or it shows that other issues became more important for those looking at my blog than this one.  As one of the early posts that surprisingly drove viewers to my blog, this particular entry and its rushed writing will always have a place in my heart as a reminder that even hurried writing can be of immense value if it resonates with others.

Honorable Mention #3:  Personal Profile: Joel And Abijah [5]
Categories:  Bible, History, Sons Of Korah, Christianity

The first post to be found among my top posts in the popular Sons of Korah series, this year’s #21 post’s popularity is a bit puzzling to me.  Joel and Abijah, of course, are the two sons of Samuel whose corruption led to the establishment of the monarchy in Israel.  They are among the most notable of biblical villains, given the way that the rise of the monarchy led among other things to a rise in taxation, a further separation of Israel from God, and a belief on the part of many biblically illiterate professed believers that one-man rule was the divinely ordained standard of government, something which has long been a blight on my own personal existence.  Despite their importance, though, they are truly obscure people in the Bible, only mentioned briefly in one narrative chapter of the Bible and elsewhere in the even more obscure genealogical passages of 1 Chronicles for the Sons of Korah.  It is somewhat gratifying that people want to read about what I have to say about them.

#20:  No Variation Of Shadow Of Turning:  Calculus In The Bible [6]
Categories:  Bible, History, Christianity

Falling slightly from #18 last year, this post is one the writings I have made that has clearly gone viral, being posted as a link in a Conservapedia discussion about biblical foreknowledge about calculus.  To be sure, this post is more than a little bit slight, just as the recognition of principles of variation over time discussed in this entry among James is slight, given that James was a Galilean Jew and not a classically educated mathematician.  Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to note that there are aspects of thought that can be understood from the scriptures by those who are subtle enough to take the Bible’s language seriously, and certainly it is true that translators of the Bible may be influenced in their expression by their own mathematical and general scientific knowledge, and this post is a reminder of that perhaps unrecognized and unacknowledged reality.

#19:  Powers Denied To The States:  A Constitutional Essay [7]
Category:  Politics

Falling from #4 last year, this post is perhaps the victim of poor timing.  It remains, for reasons unknown to me, the most popular of my series of constitutional essays, but the natural audience of the post, namely those who dislike the emphasis on federalism that many people have, had plenty of reasons this year not to appreciate the reminder of the limitations on state power given the contemporary political climate.  Traditionally speaking in American politics, state’s rights are emphasized by those parties that are in the minority while the prerogatives of the federal government are saluted by those parties which are ascendant.  However, after this year’s elections Democrats have not only lost control of the presidency as well as of both houses of Congress, and likely the Supreme Court as well, but they have also been decimated on the state level, leaving those who might appreciate this sharp rebuke of state’s rights under less gloomy circumstances to rather wish to pretend that neither federal power nor state power in the hands of their rivals and enemies was a reality.

#18:  Psalm 45:  My Tongue Is The Pen Of A Ready Writer [8]
Categories:  Bible, History, Sons Of Korah, Christianity

Rising a bit from last year’s #21 ranking, this post was a difficult one to write, and is one of the blogs that I least enjoy reading for a couple of reasons.  One of those reasons is that the post was itself written at a rare moment of optimism (all the way back in 2012) concerning the dumpster fire of my romantic life that went sour within days of my writing this entry.  Even seeing this particular entry is a reminder of a young woman who the thought of brings very unpleasant memories of just how badly personal relationships can fail and how wrongly people can misjudge one’s character and how flagrantly people who are angry and upset can ruin the good names and reputations of others.  Given that this is an area of continual unhappiness in life, it is more than a little bit upsetting to me that this post is relatively enduringly popular without the subject matter of the entry ever improving in my own life.  This post is a reminder of the gap between where I am and where I long to be, and that is not a satisfying place to be, for all of the beauty of this psalm by the Sons of Korah.

#17:   Psalm 88:  For My Soul Is Full Of Troubles [9]
Categories:  Bible, History, Sons Of Korah, Christianity

Rising slightly from last year’s placement at #18, this psalm’s popularity is also a bit puzzling.  It seems highly odd and perhaps somewhat significant that back to back in the rankings this year should be a post on marriage and a post on depression.  Those who are astute readers of this blog will know of my own fondness for reflecting on the life of Heman the Ezrahite, son of Joel (see earlier post on the Personal Profile of Joel and Abijah), and grandson of Samuel and its own personal relevance for me since childhood.  The fact that people look at this post fairly often should perhaps be of some comfort, as hopefully those who look at it are encouraged by my own reflections on this most gloomy of psalms, and unsurprisingly a psalm that has long deeply resonated with me.

#16:  On The Importance Of Chronology In Understanding History [10]
Category:  History

Rising from #20 last year, this post is one that reminds me of the pleasant nature of what people appreciate from my writings.  I have found that this entry is of great interest to high school students and educators of that age range in its encouragement of understanding the temporal context of history.  This is, by my standards at least, a fairly straightforward blog entry and I am pleased that it has captured the interest of others who wish to know history better and who can appreciate themselves the joy that one gains from being able to root one’s historical knowledge in a sense of time.  The fact that this post was a fairly ordinary post by my standards is proof that as a writer I do not know which of my posts will strike a chord with others.  One of the joys of writing is seeing which aspects of one’s thinking and writing are of most interest to others.

#15:  Seven Things I Learned From The Wisdom Of Agur [11]
Category:  Bible, History, Christianity

Falling a few spots from last year’s ranking of #10, this post remains fairly popular, which is gratifying and somewhat surprising to me.  Agur is one of the more obscure people of the Bible to have a chapter written by him in Proverbs (although he is not the only obscure figure in Proverbs to have a place on these rankings), and I have long appreciated his wisdom and found it an inspiration to me.  Hopefully this text of a sermon message I gave while serving at a missionary school in Thailand has given insight and encouragement to others as well, and served as a reminder of why it is important to examine some of the lesser known areas of scripture.

#14:  I, Tertius, Wrote This Epistle:  A Musing On The Language Of The Renewed Covenant Texts [12]
Categories:  Bible, History, Christianity

Rising a bit from last year’s ranking of #16, this post is yet another popular reflection on an obscure biblical personage.  Perhaps this seems like a bit of a running gag, but this post was a pleasure to write and reflect upon given my own abiding interest in questions of language and style and communication.  Given the fact that many writers of the New Testament used scribes for the writing of epistles, presumably dictated by the sender, it is likely that a great deal of the stylistic concerns about the Bible can be traced not to the widespread practice of pseudonymous texts being canonized as scripture, but rather to the fact that different scribes subtly influenced a text’s style (if not its substance) in ways that are difficult for contemporary critical scholars to appreciate.  As someone whose own body of work has a wide stylistic variation, I find such questions quite interesting when it concerns other readers and I am pleased that many others agree with me.

#13:  Jonadab The Son Of Rechab Will Not Lack A Man To Stand Before Me Forever [13]
Categories:  Bible, History, Christianity

Falling a bit from last year’s ranking of #11, this post about an obscure biblical personage (stop me if you’ve heard this before) remains very popular.  I have had the occasion, thanks to this entry, of chatting with people around the world (especially in the Arab world) who have found a great deal of enjoyment in this promise given by God through Jeremiah to a nomadic tribe of Bedouin affiliated with the people of Israel.  This particular passage has always been one I have found encouragement in, given my own distinct personal pessimism about the continuing viability of my own family line on account of my personal awkwardness and catastrophic lack of success with the fairer sex, and is a reminder of God’s gracious favor to those whose lives serve as a model of filial loyalty and the perseverance of the saints.

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

Rising one position from last year’s spot at #13, this post is another post on the subject of communication in the Bible relating to the letters of Paul.  As someone who takes the reading and writing of letters rather seriously, this post is one of the longer posts I have written that remains very popular, largely because it takes a detailed look at the introductions to Paul’s epistles and draws from the beginnings of the letters worthwhile insights.  It is to be hoped that those who read this particular entry will appreciate the importance of a beginning in framing the sort of letter one is writing and the the genre and belief system of a particular writer, as Paul was a consistently difficult to understand writer of letters, something I can identify with all too well myself.

#11:  Mysteries Of The Bible:  How Come No One Remembers Admah And Zeboiim [15]
Categories:  History, Bible, Christianity

This post is the most recent of mine to reach the highest levels of popularity.  Its writing was inspired by a friend of mine reflecting on on the destruction of the less familiar neighbors of Sodom and Gomorrah during the time of Abraham.  Given the intensity of debate concerning matters of sexual morality during this decadent age, it is perhaps unsurprising that this post should be so popular, although my other reflections on the subject have not been so popular.  It’s hard for me to know, since few people have commented to me about this post, what exactly is drawing attention to this post.  Is it the obscurity of Admah and Zeboiim encouraging readers who like my other obscure topics that draws readers, or the seriousness of its moral reflection and the hint of divine judgment that draws attention and interest?  I do not know, not being much of a fire and brimstone sort of person in my own life, nor someone who others tend to give the reasons why they look at what they do.

#10:  The Difference Between Shipping And Logistics [16]
Category: Musing

This post will always have a fond place in my heart as a harbinger of what has become, since my writing of this entry, a deep and abiding personal interest, namely that of logistics.  While most of my book reviews and musings on the subject of logistics have been obscure, this one is popular, and it makes for a good standard bearer for my thoughts on the subject as a whole, and a personal reminder of just how one’s perspectives can be broadened by paying attention to what many others ignore.  This post is one more reminder of many of my own fondness for looking at what is more obscure and unusual and unknown about areas of life, and it is always gratifying when others want to see and want to know more about such areas.

#9:  On The Three Types Of Leavening [17]
Categories:  Bible, Christianity

Falling a bit from last year’s placement at #5, this post still remains a very popular one.  Again, most of what can be said about leavening is not particularly deep or profound, but as is perhaps a bit of a leitmotif about my writings in general, what has made this post somewhat popular is likely my discussion of aspects of leavening that are not commonly thought of, and that is the popularity of mechanical leavening, where behavior induces leavening from the air without leavening being an active ingredient in the bread itself.  This entry is a reminder that it is important for us not only to look at the ingredients on the label of items if we are checking to avoid leavened bread during the Passover season, but also that we need to reflect upon how our foods are made and how often sin does not have a black label warning.

#8:  Proverbs 31:1-9:  Lemuel’s Mother And The Duties Of Kings [18]
Categories:  Bible, History

Rising several spots from #17 last year, this post is yet another popular post about an obscure person from the Bible.  In this case a combination of reflection on politics and the legitimacy of authorities and the issue of drinking probably helped to make this one a well-regarded post.  Again, it appears that my posts on obscure people from the Bible strike a chord with many people, possibly because people want to know more about others that few people stop to take the time to write about at length.  It is most gratifying that my posts on such obscure people should hopefully aid the reflections of others, and hopefully this praise of Lemuel’s wise and discerning mother will help encourage readers of the Bible to regard the wisdom and insight of women more seriously.

#7:  Personal Profile:  Obed-Edom [19]
Categories:  Bible, History, Sons Of Korah, Christianity

Slightly falling from last year’s placement at #6, this is a post that has kept on giving when it comes to my own personal Bible Study.  I was, for example, able to leverage this post and my studies in order to write it into a well received sermonette message at my local congregation, and it is unlikely that the post will cease any time soon to have importance given its confluence of what makes certain posts particularly appreciated among my reading audience, namely its seriousness (dealing with issues of death and divine judgment), the obscurity of its biblical personage, and its larger connection with questions of politics and family.  What’s not to like about that kind of mix?

#6:  Deuteronomy 21:1-9:  Righteous Blood Cries Out For Vengeance [20]
Categories:  Bible, History, Christianity

Rising up three spots from last year’s placement at #9, I remain rather ambivalent about the popularity of this post.  On the one hand, I celebrate the attention paid to questions of forensics and justice and the relationship of biblical law to contemporary application and relevance.  On the other hand, I tend to think that far more people consider themselves to be innocent than actually are innocent, and I find this to be somewhat troubling and upsetting.  As a result, this particular post is a reminder that there are people who may consider themselves or others to be innocent and seek vengeance when what is really going on is merely a destructive cycle of violence.  That said, as questions of judgment and vengeance are a major contemporary concern, I suppose it is inevitable that this would be a frequent area of concern for many people.

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

Rising a bit from #7 last year to #5 this year, this post is probably one of the ones viewed most often by those looking to troll my blog and deride my thinking.  At its core, my differentiation between Greek thought and Hebrew thought is not a disinterest in matters philosophical, but rather in the fact that it is common among Hellenistic thinkers to view things as either only literal or only figurative, placing exclusive reliance on a single layer of reading, whereas Hebrew thinking (which my blog exhibits quite frequently) is polyvalent and points to multiple layers simultaneously.  To be sure, this sort of thinking is not greatly encouraged in our own schooling, but that is largely because it is easier to try to get people to think of something as being only one thing than to recognize that it may in fact be many very complicated things.  I suppose I tend to revel in that complexity.

#4:  Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame:  Janet Jackson [22]
Categories:  Music, History

The popularity of this post can really be thanked to the #InductJanet campaign on Twitter.  Feeling it necessary to defend Janet Jackson’s careers, with the creativity and lasting success of her music and her approach to being a multi-level entertainer from any sort of shame that would fall upon her thanks to a single incident at the 2004 Super Bowl, it appears that this year my reflections on her career really resonated with other fans of Janet Jackson.  The fact that, sadly, she did not get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on her second nomination means it is possible that this post will be popular for another year while her fans promote her career and its legitimacy to the voters of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  The fact that this was by far the most popular post among any of the popular posts of mine in that series speaks to the way that her case for induction into Cleveland has captured the interest of many people.

#3:  Why Thailand Is A Third World Country [23]
Category:  Politics

This is yet another one of my posts that tends to infuriate a lot of readers who wish to defend Thailand as a second world state or who wish to attack the existence of different “worlds” of nations altogether.  Let’s be blunt here, as this post falls only slightly from #2 to #3 after having remained a very popular post for years, this post resonates with a wide audience largely because people like a good debate.  And there is no doubt that Thailand’s more elite areas can probably be compared to countries far above it in terms of overall development.  That said, until the country of Thailand can provide rule of law as well as economic opportunity for its masses, it will remain in my not-so-humble estimation a third world country.  And those nations that rank above it in terms of economic development may similarly fall to such a level if the standard of living falls for ordinary people.  I am not interested in comparing the lifestyle of corrupt elites across nations, but rather seeking to point out that the standard by which a nation is to be judged is by how its ordinary people live.  Is that such a revolutionary thought?

#2:  Bartholomew Called Nathanael:  An Israelite In Whom There Is No Guile [24]
Categories:  Bible, History, Christianity

The #1 post the last couple of years, it falls one spot to #2 this year on account of a massive and unexpected rise in popularity of this year’s #1 post.  It’s no great mystery why this post is so popular:  Bartholomew/Nathanael is a somewhat obscure person in the Bible, his praise by Jesus Christ is notable and immensely positive, and he represents a particularly ironic person in his immense honesty and forthrightness, an admirably straightforward person in a world full of guile and misdirection.  Of course, it should be noted that it is probably not very subtle that this post would also be a subtle commentary on how I view myself, which may account for at least some of this post’s enduring interest.

#1:  What Does It Mean To Be A King And A Priest In The Kingdom Of God? [25]
Categories:  Bible, Christianity

Storming from #8 to #1, this post was one of the several sermon messages I have given that remains important as a text for people to look up.  I consider the topic of this message to be somewhat basic and fundamental, at least given my own Church of God background.  However, it was unfamiliar to its original audience and may be unfamiliar to many who read the post.  Likewise, those who are familiar with the concept and in agreement with it may be interested to hear my own thoughts and reflections and commentary on the subject, as it is likely that I view even familiar subjects with a somewhat unusual approach given my general eccentricities as a person.  Either way, this post was massively popular in 2016, at levels that moderately concerned me, as it did not draw a lot of comments that made their way to me at least.

Bonus Feature:  Top 20 Nations of 2016:

Since WordPress started showing the nation of origin of views on my blog in February 2012 I have kept track of the rankings of each nation and their absolute number of views.  Roughly 2/3 of my views come from the United States, which is to be expected as a very American blogger, but it is rewarding that about 1/3 of the views come from other countries and I greatly appreciate those international readers of my blog even if many of the subjects of concern I have may be somewhat local and parochial in nature.  As is the case with the most popular posts, there is a balance between general stability among the most popular countries who view the blog along with sudden and unexpected rises in the most obscure places.  With that said, let us look at the top 20 nations of Edge Induced Cohesion for 2016.

#1:  United States (#1 since 2012)
#2:  United Kingdom (#2 since 2012)
#3:  Canada (#3 since 2012)
#4:  India (#7 in 2012, #6 in 2013-2014, #5 in 2015)
#5:  Australia (#4 from 2012-2015)
#6:  Philippines (#5 from 2012-2014, #6 in 2015)
#7:  South Africa (#8 in 2012,2015, #10 in 2013, #7 in 2014)
#8:  Nigeria (#18 in 2012, #13 in 2013, #10 in 2014, #11 in 2015)
#9:  European Union (NR from 2012-2014, #7 in 2015)
#10:  Singapore (#9 in 2012, 2015, #8 in 2013-2014)
#11:  Norway (NR from 2012-2014, #12 in 2015)
#12:  Thailand (#6 in 2012, #7 in 2013, #9 in 2014, #10 in 2015)
#13:  Kenya (#19 in 2012, #15 in 2013-2014, #16 in 2015)
#14:  Malaysia (#11 in 2012-2014, #13 in 2015)
#15:  New Zealand (#14 in 2012,2015, #12 from 2013-2014)
#16:  Ghana (NR in 2012-2013, #20 in 2014, #17 in 2015)
#17:  Germany (#12 in 2012, #14 in 2013, #13 in 2014, #15 in 2015)
#18:  Ireland (#13 in 2012, #19 in 2013-2014, NR in 2015)
#19:  Netherlands (#10 in 2012, #9 in 2013, #14 in 2014, #18 in 2015)
#20:  United Arab Emirates (NR in 2012-2013, 2015, #17 in 2014)

Just missed the cut:  Indonesia (#19 last year), Italy, Mexico, Jamaica, Spain
Also Dropped Out:  Pakistan (to #26)

[1] See, for example:





[2] See, for example:







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

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/07/24/the-tragedies-of-amy-winehouse-and-jennifer-elliott/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/02/12/personal-profile-joel-and-abijah/

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

[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/02/09/powers-denied-to-the-states-a-constitutional-essay/

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

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

[10] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/08/06/on-the-importance-of-chronology-in-understanding-history/

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

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

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

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

[15] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/09/02/mysteries-of-the-bible-how-come-no-one-remembers-admah-and-zeobiim/

[16] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/04/13/the-difference-between-shipping-and-logistics/

[17] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/04/03/on-the-three-types-of-leavening/

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

[19] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/06/05/personal-profile-obed-edom/

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

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

[22] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/08/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-janet-jackson/

[23] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/03/14/why-thailand-is-a-third-world-country/

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

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


About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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