2014 Year in Review

SFL was visited about 2.2 million times in 2014. That’s a lot of clicks.

Here’s some of the stuff that went on:


This report on Blackface Boxing was the most viewed post

These posts also got a lot of attention:
Sermon Contests Redux
Violence Against Women
Modest is Hottest (Literally)
GRACE Releases the BJU Report

These three guys were the most chatty in the comments:

1. Big Gary – 3152 COMMENTS
2. Bald Jones grad – 1384 COMMENTS
3 Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist – 1368 COMMENTS

That’s almost 9 comments every day, Big Gary. You write on here more than I do.

In THREE HOURS this past spring we raised enough money to keep SFL online all year. Many, many thanks

Kent Hovind and Jack Schaap are still in jail. John Hamblin still isn’t. Yet.

Happy New Years to you all. I’m taking a couple days off. I’ll see you all in 2015!

154 thoughts on “2014 Year in Review”

        1. I must admit that “Lord willing” makes much more sense to me than the very different approach I’ve encountered among local Prosperity Gospel adherents — I.e. “We can’t say ‘if it’s God’s will’ because that shows lack of faith.” Instead, we are supposed to command God to do our will — which He supposedly will unfailingly do because we are “sons and daughters of the King.” This attitude is pernicious on so many levels. At least the “Lord willing” folks retain a modicum of humility.

      1. That made me laugh, Darrell.

        I know people who literally add “Lord willing” to nearly everything they say. Their desire to be biblical ends up being an obligation, a religious ritual they feel compelled to say to show people that they’re spiritual.

        The context seems not so much to be commanding that we always add “God willing” to our plans but that all the plans we make are done in the humble awareness that God is in charge not us: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes.” (James 4:13-16) The issue is one of pride; the answer is humility, not a scrupulous repetition of a phrase every time you utter a statement about something you’d like to do.

        (If you like saying, “Lord willing,” I’m not judging you; you have freedom to do that. I was just writing this for people who might worry that they SHOULD say such phrases in order to be pleasing to God.)

        1. The Muslims say “inshallah” about everything. Directly translated, it means “if Allah wills”. In actual usage, however, it means “if I ever get around to it”. For example, ” Your motorcycle will be repaired tomorrow, inshallah.”

          So when people use, “Lord willing”, I tend to scoff.

        2. Like saying “Lord willing,” saying “Inshallah,” (which is simply “Lord willing” in Arabic) is a custom, not a law.

        3. I know some very fine people who say “Lord willing” or “with the help of God.” I would never doubt their sincerity in those statements.
          I just find myself unable to use those terms. For me to use them, it seems a false piety. I believe God is ever present but I am not sure he has every moment planned for me. There is so much baggage in believing God has everything ordained–am I doing his will right now posting on this site? If I am loving God and loving others, I am doing God’s will. What that looks like every second of every day–well, that is the question…But to say “Lord willing” or “with God’s help” seems to be an unnecessary statement of false piety for me.

        4. Great points, Leanne. The “center of God’s will” was another terror-inducing false doctrine I found in fundystan. You can’t be on the edge of God’s will (rebellion!). You have to be in the “center”. You have to know what the “perfect” will of God is for you, and if you don’t know, Jim Berg or Bob Wood or another MoG will tell you.

          If you are in the Center, God will love you. If you aren’t, He will love you as He beats the crap out of you, ’cause whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and used the whip on every one He receives.

        5. Miriam–I think “God willing” does have a flavor of superstition. I am not sure if it is a superstition to please God and make sure he knows you are submitting to his will or if it is a superstition to please human beings so they know just how holy you are….because in fundamentalism falling out of grace with your faith community is worse than death.

        6. Falling out with your fundy community is, in their eyes, falling out with God because they interpret God. It is a sad state of affairs. There is also something of a knee jerk reaction to a lot of fundy God willing, DV, Lord willing, whatevers. So it seems to me any way.

        7. I tend to say “Lord willing” as an acknowledgement of the capriciousness of things, or to put it another way, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”.

        8. Panda, that’s the same way I use “inshallah”. I don’t actually acknowledge that things will happen if Allah wills. It’s only a phrase leftover from my childhood acknowledging that things don’t always work out.

        9. I tend to use “Lord willing” on occasion — sometimes, when people speak, it does sound pretty arrogant: “I’m going to do such-and-such.” I don’t use it all the time and for everything. I use it when I realize I’m sounding too confident about tomorrow and I remember the One who controls tomorrow. Just an acknowledgement of that fact, not superstitious.

          And, I’m not bothered if others do or don’t use the phrase (but I think I would be bothered with its overuse)

        10. I’m not offended if someone uses that phrase. I don’t myself.

          Last night was spent at the home of the best friend I has in the IFB church my wife attends. Lots of people from the church were there, and the Pastor handed out “promise cards” with a verse for the next year. You draw one randomly out of a box. In years past it had almost taken on a superstitious aspect, as if the card you drew had something to do with the kind of year you would have.

          This year, the Pastor tried to do away with that notion, but he still preached that God was completely in control. We should take whatever happens as God’s will and rely on God’s promises.

          I don’t believe that God is completely in control, not any more. I admit to being in doubt of the worth of “promises” when so many of them seem to be broken. The Pastor said many feel abandoned by God–and I do. But then, I still haven’t stopped “believing,” even though it might be less painful to do so.

          I don’t know what is in store for the next year. I want to do right and treat others with kindness, empowering them to return kindness to others.

          If God wants to show Himself without the IFB lies, I’ll be willing to take a look. If I can get my family away from the IFB this year, that will be a blessing.

  1. Thank you, Darrell, for giving us a place to vent, commiserate, heal, laugh, learn, and occasionally feed trolls in an environment where they don’t get hurt too badly.

    It’s been another fun (for the most part) year.

  2. This site has been a great source of comfort over the last year as we left fundystan and headed out to find something new. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings.

  3. I’m not a big commentator, but I appreciate the safety this site allows for the breadth of comments on both experience and belief. Although I may not always agree, I appreciate that we strive to get along. I also love the sense of humor displayed by so many.

  4. Praise the God for this web site! If I was David Gibbs I’d buy you a fifteen foot tall trophy, drool all over you with false praise, have Ron Hamilton author a song about SFL and ask the Capital Connection to take SFL’s needs and concerns before our President.
    The battle is the Lords!
    This post made no sense.

  5. Darrell, thank you for being such a gracious host! Putting up with some of us must be a monumental test of patience!

    I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore aspects of theology I haven’t had time to before, to look at the reasons behind fundamentalist belief and behavior, and to get to know everyone here better. Everyone has a story. Everyone has reasons for where they are.

    1. “Everyone has a story” – so true. And I like that now I can listen to everyone’s stories instead of just shouting the Roman’s Road. I still believe the Gospel Story, but I’ve changed what I believe about how to present it and how to interact with other people.

  6. This is an awesome place and even though sometimes we might not get along and upset each other, I appreciate you all! To you Darrell and to everyone and their families: Have a safe and happy new year!!

  7. Longtime lurker here, surfacing for a comment before going back to lurking.

    Thanks, Darrell, for providing this site as a place to laugh at what I used to be. For keeping things light in tone (with quite necessary exceptions for heavy matters), and for your writings which have helped me realize that I’m not alone in my spiritual wanderings.

    Thanks to the comment section regulars for writing comments both amusing and profound. Dr Fundystan, Christian Socialist, and rtgmath especially have brought me much encouragement – I frequently come to this site for a laugh, and leave with a new perspective to ponder.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next!

    1. Dear DanM:

      What comes next? That would be the rapture [Ducks in anticipation of the lightning strike] … And as I want to be in a good mood when it happens, I’m going for a beer.

      Seriously though, I’d echo Jay Croft’s invitation for you to join in the party as you feel inclined.

      Christian Socialist

        1. I haven’t had a lot of dates lately. Perhaps that’s why I’m so bitter. πŸ˜‰

          As many “friends” have pointed out for me, if only I were to get my life right with God, He (God) would drop a man in my lap. I have not yet reached that level of perfection required for marriage.

          BTW, bacon wrapped, grilled dates are delish!

  8. Agreed, Johnny, though I’m not sure why it is that you would bring up the first thing in the last place first of all. When I see it the other way it simply does not agree with the sense of the matter as put forth by your ex-brother-in-law who said the same thing. You can’t argue with that!

    B.R.O.

      1. If we are left to face 2015, which I very much doubt with all these end signs like the Great Snowy Owl Irruption we have seen this winter. The end is near, the crick is gonna rise.

        1. Eh? Could be, I suppose. But I’m not holding my breath. Oh, I don’t think the future is going to be pleasant, not with what bad choices people have made over the years. But I don’t think we’re going to be rescued from the consequences of them.

          The Apostles expected the return of the Lord in their day, after all.

          Just live like He’s watching and will have us account for what we do. Then if He does come, you’re ready. And if not, you’ve done your best.

  9. We’ve all been blessed to make it through another year together. You’ve all been a blessing to me as I try (admittedly unsuccessfully) to figure the spiritual life out. I’m a bit embarrassed to have been one of the most frequent posters in 2014. At least I’m in good company with Big Gary and Dr. Fundystan.

    I hope the new year brings blessings and peace to all of you. Every day is a gift from God.

    Church attendance makes me twitch, so I won’t attend. You all here at SFL are, in many ways, my church, where I can speak my doubts freely. That’s a blessing.
    Regards,
    BJg

  10. Happy Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (Episcopal; it used to be called the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord) and for Roman Catholics, Feast of Mary the Mother of God.

    1. I’m three days late, but happy Feast of the Holy Innocents, which also happens to be my wife’s birthday and (as I like to remind her) is observed in Mexico in a manner similar to April 1st in the Anglophone world.

  11. But we all, with faces uncovered gaze on the dim and distorted reflection of the glory of the Lord, yet are still being changed into the image of the Lord little by little.

    Grace to all of you, as much as I could ever want for myself.

  12. Well I never have a chance to say first!! Although I would have a chance if I could only get up earlier. So who elsse stays up this late New Years Eve? So I will trty this out: Happy New Years !!!

    Last ?????
    Dave

        1. No, actually it’s been warmer at my house the past few days than in Prescott, AZ.. Strange winter. I’ve seen no temp below about +15 so far. We are breaking records for a warm winter.

        2. Hmph! Send some of that south. We’ve been below 0 regularly down here.

          Just don’t send those grey skies. We love our sunshine. (PS Those jokes about it always raining in Oregon? Most of the state is dry and sunny.)

  13. I would like to wish the SFL community/family a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    I lift my coffee in a salute and toast to all of you on this fine morning. God bless you all.

  14. Why is it that kids who stay up to ring in the New Year (or at least 2 hours away from the new year) are still able to rise and shine at 6:30?
    Groggy new year, everyone!

  15. In all honesty, I have left an extreme IFB church, but am still in an IFB church that is hundreds of times better, so I am not out of IFB; I do not believe that it is a cult (as a whole; some churches are clearly more about the pastor/MOG/preacher that God Himself, and they ARE cults).

    But thank you, Darrell, for SFL. It has helped me to put into place the extreme church I was in, and have been comforted (somewhat) in the guilt the old place put in me.

    I’m still working on this whole “soul-winning” thing, by which the old place mean “cold calling – knocking on doors and bothering people”. I don’t want people pestering me in my home, and I don’t like to pester other people with an arrogant “I know what you need” salesmanship. As much as I put it down, I’ve still got some of the semblance that I cannot point to people that I have “saved” (or, as the more “spiritual” people put it, “led to Christ”). I hope that I have influenced many people for the good, but I don’t know how to tell — possibly only eternity will show the impact we may or may not have had on others.

    My family (meaning wife & kids) has helped the elderly on fixed incomes; has collected funds and purchased groceries for a needy family when the breadwinner lost his job because of an accident, and made meals for needy and worthy people.

    But most of the people I know don’t think that counts for as much as “soul-winning”.

    Anyway, SFL has been a helpful place to release my feelings about this without feeling as though I were being judged.

    May 2015 be a great year!

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