Blog Moment of The Year: Andrew Jones stops using the term “emerging church”. This one generated its fair share of buzz around the blogosphere, and no small amount of controversy over the term and the question of whether or not Emergent was all but done. I don’t think the term “post-emergent” came up in the aftermath at all, but the whole thing was a noteworthy moment to be sure.
New Blogger of the Year: Kathy Escobar on the carnival in her head. Despite her jonny-baker-esque broken shift key, Kathy’s voice is a great addition to this general conversation. Kathy is insightful, shares personally, and writes very well. Technically, I suppose she began blogging in 2007, but I don’t think many people noticed until 2008, when suddenly everyone was reading her blog. And you should be too.
Most Important Book: N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. This is a “chewy” book in which Wright tackles and attempts to set right all that’s wrong with Evangelical pop-eschatology. (I think I just coined a new phrase there.) With sentiment along the lines of “Heaven is important, but it’s not the end of the world” and his correction of common views of the afterlife, I wish this book would get a far wider audience. It’s a crucial corrective.
Enjoyable Fiction Reads: a tie between Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. No, these were not published in 2008, but that’s when I read them. both of these have a slight twist at the end but leave you with the impression that what happens at the end is just the most appropriate thing that could possibly happen. The fiction reading I did in 2008 helped remind me of the importance of this sort of reading, as it’s a particular kind of refreshing.