Pub Theologian’s Best of 2012

Cheers to a good year just ending, and a new one around the bend.
Cheers to a good year just ending, and a new one around the bend.

So this is [New Year’s]
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is [New Year’s]
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

~John Lennon

So we’ve hit the end of 2012, which, contra-Mayan, was not the end of the world.

Let’s take a look back at the best of for 2012, and find out who our year-end winner is for a signed copy of Pub Theology!

Top Ten Beers

I sampled and enjoyed lots of good brews this year… there were many outstanding offerings, but these are my top ten:

10.  Perseus Porter, Elysian Brewing, Seattle, WA
9.  Ranger IPA, New Belgium, Fort Collins, CO
8. Satisfaction ESB, Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City, MI
7. Mayan Mocha Stout, Odd Side Ales, Grand Haven, MI
6.  Double Cream Stout, Bell’s Brewing, Kalamazoo, MI
5. Indian Brown Ale, Dogfish Head, Rehobeth Beach, DE – A cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown, Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time (It’s magical!).
4. Star Stuff Belgian Dubbel, Harmony Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI
3. Allagash Curieux, Allagash Brewing, a bourbon barrel-aged tripel, Portland, Maine
2. Firestarter Chipotle Porter, Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City, MI


Black Butte Imperial Porter
Black Butte Imperial Porter

1. Black Butte XXIV Imperial Porter, Deschutes, Bend, OR – the 24th anniversary brew of this imperial porter, featuring artisanal dark chocolate nibs, daglet dates, mission figs.  The best brew I had all year, thanks to friends at Wipf & Stock for the treat!

Top Ten Posts

    1. A New Convergence
      old_church_doorA few writers, thinkers, pastors, and theologians note that a new convergence is happening within Christianity.  While more conservative churches may well become even more strict with the changes afoot in the culture and in the church, others are expanding outward…
    2. Losing Our Religion
      john-sukRecently a pastor in my denomination announced that he is leaving the denomination because he ‘has doubts’ about the doctrinal positions that he is supposed to defend and teach.Is this really the place we want to be in?Are not these the very kind of leaders we need?  Yet the only space we seem willing to make for them is the doorway.
    3. Why Conservative Churches Attract Young People… or Not SongA fellow pastor recently wrote a recent column entitled, Why Conservative Churches Attract Young People.  “In particular, churches that have a self-consciously high view of Scripture, a commitment to the creeds and confessions, traditional stances on marriage and sexuality, and work to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ actually do draw young adults.”I have no doubt that this is the case.  He goes on to note some of the reasons, some of which I agree with, and some of which I might view from a slightly different angle.
    4. What’s the Big Idea?
      big_ideaQuite a bit recently people have been ready to write the eulogy on the church, and particularly on organized religion.  Christianity is in crisis they say.  My own tradition is not exempt, it seems.  A fellow pastor recently noted in a blog post that:  “the Christian Reformed Church is in desperate need of a big idea.”… But  I have a hard-time seeing his proposal as a viable solution, or even a big idea.  To me, it comes across as more of the same.  Better grab the shovels.
    5. Toes, Lines and Bad Religion
      ourworldThere is a little controversy brewing over a recent suggestion…  There has been an ongoing dialogue in the CRC as to the role the historic Reformed confessions should play in our life together as a denomination.They were written in the 1600’s and 1700’s – should adherence to them be mandatory?  Historically, all pastors and office bearers (and professors at Calvin College and Dordt College) have signed that they will teach and uphold these (by signing the Form of Subscription).  Yet times have changed.
    6. Linger here and reflect
      sandy-hook-elementary-school-shootingYesterday was a day for grieving.  So is today, and the day after that.But is it not appropriate to begin to wonder: what has to change?  How can we avoid situations like this?I get that people got angry at me.  I get that we’re all a bit angry.  But seriously, is it really worth getting angry at those who wonder: “What if this guy didn’t have guns?”
    7. This new convergence doesn’t resemble biblical Christianity
      Old_Bibles-1“Bryan, these observations are likely true about a new emerging spirituality. But this new convergence doesn’t resemble biblical Christianity. And that is awful sad. Feel free to get rid of the bathwater, but babies are cute and important. Here are a few questions with comments sprinkled in for good measure.”
    8. Pub Theology Book Endorsements
      PT at PT“Some of the best theological conversations happen over a beer at the pub. Bryan Berghoef captures something of the relaxed and relational dynamic that makes these discussions so pleasurable, while at the same time wrestling with serious theological questions. So pull up a chair, order your favorite drink, and settle in with this delightful and stimulating book. Invite a friend as well—the conversation’s just getting started.”
    9. Take This Job and—Paying the bills.
      The argument for bi-vocationalism, as I gather, is that having the pastor have a ‘regular job’ in addition to pastor duties makes him or her ‘more regular,’ it breaks down walls of superiority, it gives natural inroads for relationships in the community, it shows you’re as committed to the community as everyone else, it breaks down the clergy-laity walls, and so on.  Those reasons are very compelling to me as I consider this option.
    10. Good? Heavens!

      I came across a blog post yesterday with the title:
      You Cannot Be A Good Person If You Do Not Believe In Heaven
      I am in plenty of conversations with people who do not believe in heaven, or believe in something other than the Christian version of heaven, and they seem like pretty good people.

Top two guest posts of 2012:

    1. Christianity, gun violence & the nihilism of Mike Huckabee  – by Phil Snider
      Mike Huckabee, Elzabeth SaundersWhen Mike Huckabee infamously said that Friday’s murders in Newtown, Connecticut took place because we’ve “systematically removed God” from our public schools, he provided yet another stark reminder of the way that Christianity frequently functions as nothing more than a nihilistic enterprise that keeps us from addressing the most serious concerns that face us as a nation.
    2. ‘Spiritual but not religious’: A Response – by Rob Kroese
      Mind open, mind closed.Recently I ran across a blog post with the title My Take: “I’m spiritual but not religious” is a cop-out. I read the post with interest because I’ve often thought this very thing: that claiming to be “spiritual” isn’t an answer to a question about one’s religious beliefs, but rather a way to avoid the question while sounding like one has put some thought into it. Sadly, the post almost immediately devolves into unverifiable, baseless generalizations.

And the winner of our end-of-year giveaway of a signed copy of Pub Theology is [drumroll please]….:

Drew Meyer

Congrats, Drew!

Thanks for reading everyone!  Cheers to a good year ahead!


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