Top ten posts of 2013

Blogging is an ephemeral medium: you get a lot of hits (if you’re lucky) the day you write something, but interest immediately wanes.  For the most part, it’s just as well.  Hot, topical stuff always gets the most attention, and every blogger knows that nothing sells like a good scandal or controversy.  That said, if bloggers have something important to say on subjects of timeless importance, the hits will keep piling up over the years.  Most posts, deserve to be immediately forgotten, but some stand up.  This explains why, over the course of a year, some posts that were written prior to 2013 got more attention than more recent contributions.   For this reason, we will just be featuring the stuff our readers liked the most in 2013.  Here’s the list.

1. Don’t blame Al Mohler, it was all God’s idea.  This post hit a nerve with people who studied at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before it became an indoctrination academy.  In the picture below, James Petigru Boyce, the school’s founder, is pictured in the Confederate uniform he war on formal occasions during the Civil War.

James Petigru Boyce

2. Cliburn gives his regards to Broadway.  Broadway Baptist Church said farewell to its most acclaimed member this year.  I talked about the renowned pianist’s relationship with Broadway Baptist Church, a church committed to great music.

Van Cliburn plays in Moscow in 1958

3. Curtis Flowers.  Curtis Flowers lives on death row in the notorious Parchman prison in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  He has stood trial for murder six times, more than any American defendant in history.  Flowers is innocent, and the appeal of his 2010 conviction demonstrates how he was framed by an incompetent and lazy prosecutor.  Friends of Justice has been working on Mr. Flowers’ behalf since 2007.  Flowers is from Winona, Mississippi, the town where civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten half to death in 1963.

The old train depot in Winona, Mississippi

4. Ayn Rand: the mother of American satanism.  The title notwithstanding, this post doesn’t suggest that Ayn Rand was a satanist; but her insistence that her philosophy is the antithesis of Christianity was the inspiration for the pop satanism of Anton LeVey.

Ayn Rand and Anton LeVey

5. Stories we believe in: Learning from Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm.  What did Ronald Reagan understand about the power of story that liberals never seem to grasp?

6. Money for nothing: how racial bias destroyed six lives, stymied a black-owned business and outraged a congregation.  This narrative was written at the end of months of careful research.  This case sheds light on the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website; this is what always happens when a single website tries to bring too many players together.  The men and women at IRP believed they could help a long list of federal law enforcement agencies share data.  For their trouble, they were investigated, raided, and tried for, essentially running a fake business.  After all, the government implied, who ever heard of a black-owned IT company?  This case would have been lost to memory if the six defendants hadn’t belonged to the same Pentecostal congregation in Colorado Springs.  These people don’t quit!

7. Tom Berry: Ten years of waste, immigrant crackdowns, and new drug wars.  If you want to know why America’s immigration policy is so badly broken, this article by Tom Berry is a great starting place.  “Continuing down the same course of border security buildups, drug wars and immigration crackdowns will do nothing to increase security or safety,” Berry says.  “It will only keep border policy on the edge – teetering without direction or strategy.”

8. Songs got us through: Fannie Lou Hamer in Winona, Mississippi. The sadistic brutality Hamer and her friends endured in Winona beggars comprehension unless you understand the times.  In 1963, only 6.4% of Mississippi’s eligible black voters were registered.  In Montgomery County it had been years since the last African-American had voted.  It took men like Sheriff Earl Wayne Patridge to maintain this unnatural state of affairs.

Fannie Lou Hamer

9. Of hell and hell fire, it’s not what you think.  We are taught that God is love.  We are taught that God consigns the wicked to hell for eternity.  Surely both can’t be true?

A young C.S. Lewis

10. Welcome to the Parchman plantation.  This post, written following a failed attempt to visit Curtis Flowers at Parchman prison in 2010, keeps getting a lot of attention.

Cotton fields outside Parchman prison