A Look Back at 2012 on Alastair’s Adversaria

At the beginning of 2013, I am going to follow the example of a number of other blogs out there and post a retrospective piece on the year that has past. Scanning back through the list of posts from the last year, I thought that I would post a selection of links to old posts that I have posted here or elsewhere, especially those which have received less attention.

2012 began with a flurry of posting. Opening the year with a piece on the new covenant and New Year’s resolutions, I posted a series of lengthy posts in my series of summaries of the theology of Louis Marie Chauvet’s work, Symbol and Sacrament, a seminal book which I found both fascinating and tremendously stimulating. Chauvet seeks to explore the subject of the sacraments in dialogue with philosophers such as Heidegger. While I disagree with Chauvet at a number of key points, his fundamental project is compelling and worthy of extensive engagement. Continuing with lengthy book summaries, I posted a six part summary of and engagement with Edwin Friedman’s, A Failure of Nerve, a book which tackles the subject of effective leadership. While the book is seriously flawed in a number of respects, it presents an approach to leadership that I have found illuminating in several areas to which I have applied its insights.

Later on in the year, I began an experiment in book reviewing and/or engagement, which is still ongoing, though progressing rather slowly. I have posted on Oh Holy Night: The Peace of 1914, and a lengthy audio engagement with Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood is continuing (and soon to be completed). Take a look at my reviewing wishlist to see whether there is any book that you would like me to review.

During the year I posted on a very varied range of topics, including the following: tattoos and body modification, eating and human nature, introversion, clothing and modesty, being unromantic on St Valentine’s Day, how to become a popular blogger, the institution of marriage, procreation, and same-sex marriage, the Church and social media and the problem of information addiction, and an argument in support of chastity. I asked whether our religion could be summed up as ‘kindness’ and argued for the need to ‘tarry with the tragic’. My post on the dynamics of offense in discourse was even mentioned in the American Conservative.

There were various biblical theological posts over the year. I posted on sex and the threshing floor, on the fighting shepherds of Scripture, on the whore and the Bible, on finding joy in the vapour of Ecclesiastes, on whether YHWH is a war criminal, and on Pentecost, prophetic investiture, and the Church’s mission. The relatively paucity of biblical theological posts is something that I would like to see rectified this year, especially as it is my primary area of interest.

There were a number of interactions with evangelicalism over the course of the year. In February I asked what is wrong with the evangelical gospel and how we might go about articulating a better alternative. Later on in the year I posted a lengthy series of posts seeking to question the identity of evangelicalism and suggesting that we might need to move away from the movement.

A few people gave me the opportunity to guest post over the course of the year. Andrew Finden at A Borrowed Flame posted my two part article on Scripture as Performance. As part of a series of guest posts, Tanya Marlow hosted a more personal piece of mine on the subject of discovering the absence of God. In June I wrote an article for The Media Res on pornography and the Song of Songs. More recently, Matthew Lee Anderson of Mere Orthodoxy invited me to post a piece on American politics through the eyes of a British observer, a piece which I introduced with another post on my own blog.

The year included visits to and lots of photos at such places as London, Bishop Auckland, York, North Wales and the Beamish Museum, the Lake District and Bamburgh, and a few memorable days here in Durham. The highlight of the year was a lengthy visit to the US, which I recounted in detail in three posts. It was a year in which I completed several craft projects, including a number of scarves, a couple of snoods, a knitted bag, some shockingly pink legwarmers, and several creations for Christmas, including a Tardis themed cake. Over the year I have also had the privilege of finally meeting several online and blogging friends, many of whom I have known for several years or more, including Joel Garver, Paul Duggan, Andrew Fulford, Daniel Stoddart, Matthew Mason, and over the last couple of days, Brad Littlejohn and Byron Smith.

What subjects do you think that I should blog on in 2013?

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Guest Post, My Doings, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Look Back at 2012 on Alastair’s Adversaria

  1. AJ says:

    The rise of anti-depressants – a biblical place for these?
    A theological view of cosmetic surgery
    Chemical addictions and the gospel
    A biblical evaluation of the Twelve Steps of Recovery

  2. AJ says:

    Distinctions between natural and supernatural and to what extent these will be merged as heaven expands on earth.

  3. Theology and genre fiction.

  4. You’ve certainly been busy! 🙂

  5. Matthew says:

    I would be interested in reading your review of Ethics After Christendom by Vigen Guroian

    • I read and enjoyed that book when I read it several years ago. My focus was primarily on its environmental ethics at the time, but I found the book helpful in several areas. Unfortunately, I suspect that my copy of the book is buried in my boxes of stored books at the moment. I would need to refresh my memory before reviewing it.

  6. philjames says:

    Oh, that you would return to your critique of Malone’s book on baptism!

  7. philjames says:

    Also, your thoughts on a proper concern/regard for physical beauty (perhaps better, prettiness) in ourselves and others.

    • Interesting. That would take a while to unpack. To be honest, I have never devoted much thought or concern to my prettiness! 😉

      • philjames says:

        🙂 I have five daughters, and I’ve always felt that my direction in this regard was inadequate. Stressing only the superficiality of outward beauty reminds me of the solely negative instruction my tradition offered regarding sexual feelings. Of course vanity (like promiscuity) is rampant, and needs to be addressed; but I’m convinced that the best way to address it is to offer a counter accounting of what we all feel to be true. Most take the time to make themselves presentable before they ‘circulate’; we lament disfigurement, etc… and yet our lord was not ‘pretty;’ nor are the majority of persons. All attempts to deal with this (that I’m familiar with) have been very disappointing. Texts saying that it doesn’t matter, full stop; but coiffured photo on the back cover saying that it does. I suspect the answer lies in the iconic nature of the trait- perhaps as a finger pointing to a more transcendent beauty? Anyway, the world has a consistent (and cruel) narrative about this universally understood concern. Its a major part of its vision of human flourishing. I haven’t a well thought out alternative- for myself or my family.

      • Definitely a worthwhile issue for study.

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