Most viewed posts of 2021

As seems to be the the thing to do on blogs, I like to share some stats in a few posts running up to the end of the year.

This year, the Building Jerusalem blog has been viewed 235,000 times (at the time of writing). I expect that number to be slightly higher when this goes out. This is within a couple of thousand views of the stats for 2020, suggesting at face value we have neither grown nor shrunk.

I am continually grateful to everyone who reads this blog. There is no reason you should be interested in my thoughts and opinions, I am just a bloke sat behind a computer screen at the end of the day. But I am genuinely grateful for every click and view.

Most people who meet me for the first time seem to introduce themselves these days by saying, ‘I read your blog, but I don’t agree with everything you write!’ Well, frankly, I think it would be weird if somebody did agree with everything. I am not ultimately aiming for total agreement. I am happy to settle for being broadly interesting. Hopefully, in 2022, I’ll manage to keep you reading with that simple aim.

Today, I thought I would share with you the top 10 most read post posts of 2021:

10. Let the kids say it’s boring (the adults think it anyway)

The tenth most read blog post looked at how we respond when our children think that church is boring. It calls us to be honest about when things are boring so that we don’t discourage those who are only telling the truth and we can help those for whom it is true to become more interesting.

9. Being discerning and being critical are not the same thing

This one looked at the key difference between a discerning spirit and a critical one.

8. Get sovereignty right and the rest falls into place

At number eight, this post took a look at the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. It particularly focused on how, if we understand sovereignty rightly, it unlocks so many other doctrinal questions. It is one of those doctrines that, understood properly, helps make sense of so much.

7. Are PhD pastors better pastors

This one responded to a roundtable discussion about whether PhDs are necessary for pastors. I went a little further and asked whether they even serve to make better pastors.

6. Stop binding consciences and marking spirituality by Christmas celebrations

Number six was my yearly reminder that Christmas isn’t in the Bible and we have freedom to celebrate or not and to do so in whatever way we feel best. How you celebrate Christmas, of itself, is not a marker of your spiritual temperature.

5. Leave the New Atheists alone on their holy days

At five, I responded to the usual unprovoked, and entirely unnecessary, seasonal sniping at Christians from New Atheist quarters.

4. Pragmatism, Jonathan Fletcher and the shoddy reasoning of ‘we have… only been blessed’

This article responded to a letter, sent into Evangelicals Now, concerning the abuse of Jonathan Fletcher. Suffice to say, the letter was pretty terrible.

3. Mindfulness, narcissism and the solution to self-centredness

The third most read post of 2021 responded to an article in The Times which published the results of a study into mindfulness that found the practice ‘led to narcissism and spiritual superiority’. It thought about why that might be and considered a better alternative to our self-centredness.

2. The scariest verse in the Bible and how it should focus our minds on the task at hand

At two, I shared the single most terrifying verse in the Bible for a church leader. Whilst a lot of members don’t like it either, it is frightening for your pastor. Those of us who aren’t scared by this verse almost certainly haven’t grasped its gravity.

1. Are small groups overrated, unaccountable and ineffective and should we bother with them?

The number one most read post in 2021 responded to a tweet floating this suggestion. It considers the value of home groups and whether they are an absolute necessity or a big waste of time.