Happy New Year!
You may have noticed, I took a break of sorts from writing for much of the last two months of the year. I appreciate your patience, and I promise that the time was spent sitting with and wrestling with new depths of understanding of the Divine and the Kingdom. I’m really looking forward to putting words to some of these ideas in the coming months, and discussing them with you here.
2014 was a terrific year of ministry, particularly in my writing and speaking ministry. Specifically for the blog, I thought I would compile a few highlights. I have LOTS of new readers that engaged during the year (Thank you, sincerely. It means so much.), so as a bit of a catch-up, or a review, here we go!
Top 10 Most Read Posts:
- The Path of Freedom – This was the book release post. If you haven’t read the book, you can read about it here, and subscribe to get your free copy.
- I’m Not Going to Church Anymore – I actually wrote this last year, but it seems to have a lot of staying power. I continually get messages from around the world from folks with whom this resonated with.
- Fear is not real. Fear is a choice. – Another 2013 musing. I’ve actually learned a lot more about the fear paradigm since writing this, and should write a lot more about it, and its opposite, better paradigm – Love. Fear is rooted in a lie, but it’s obvious that lie has a vice grip hold on so many.
- When our “Vision” has become blurred – This was one of several posts I wrote in the aftermath of the World Vision story and LGBTQ equality.
- Ferguson: The Bigger Story – Ferguson and its after-effects really stirred me up, as it did much of the country, one way or another. This was my post reflecting on what the Ferguson events were saying to us and revealing about us on a bigger, deeper level.
- A Plea to Christians: Shut up about Gay Marriage – Still my most read post of all time. From 2013. I actually have some changed opinions from what I said in this post, but not in the direction you may think. I stated that being homosexual was a sin in the opening to that article. I don’t believe that anymore, and I think focusing on that point (which I wasn’t) dramatically misses the point. I still very much affirm my overall message in this post: Christians (by and large) are anti-loving, anti-Christ toward those who are LGBTQ. This must change, in our words, posture, and mostly, heart. We are all One – it is time to Live that Reality.
- Maybe the Gospel isn’t what I thought it was – Pay attention to this one. A launching-pad post for what is coming. This one was my toe being dipped in the water. I’m about to dive headlong in.
- To all the Ladies: Forgive Us – My apology and message of repentance on behalf of all men, toward all women who have been made to feel inferior in the Kingdom.
- What if following Jesus is about NOT tithing? – Another 2013 offering, in which I challenge the long-standing teaching of tithing. This has been picked up several times and republished elsewhere. There is a huge misunderstanding around this issue in the Church.
- What is my Theology? – A funny thing about “theology” (God-thinking, or your concept of God)… mine is always changing, growing. I suppose that is what is meant by being formed, or trans-formed. My mind is constantly changing (metanoia – repentance) as I know Father, Son and Spirit more. The Good News? – I fall deeper and deeper in Love with Them.
I want to also give a shout out to Megan Foreman, who wrote a guest post this year, which garnered “top 10” view numbers: How to find Christ by walking away from Christians.
Posts I Enjoyed Writing (That Were Not Top 10):
Sometimes some of the best things written, are barely read. It’s kind of a funny thing. I’m not necessarily saying these were the “best” posts I wrote last year, but I did enjoy writing them, and think they deserve more eyeballs.
- American Idol – Nationalism is in the way of following Jesus. America and the American dream are the gods of so many, and much of the Church.
- Is the Bible “Holy”? – Can we really say that the Bible is “Holy?” In what ways has our deification of a book clouded the Person and Purpose the Book was preserved to point us to?
- Question Everything, Especially Your Faith – It’s ok to question what you’ve been told, taught and believed. It’s ok to doubt. In fact, it’s crucial to your growth and finding Lasting Joy.
- Separation from God: Don’t believe the lie – The lie that we can be separated from God, that we were separated at the Fall, that we remain separated until we find the right prayer or faith or belief – is the mother of all un-realitites – and the biggest cage of bondage amongst humanity.
- You are God’s Presence – Christian culture loves to pray for and sing about “God’s Presence.” What this fails to see is that they already are.
- The Word of God: Incarnate Today – Jesus didn’t cease to be incarnate in the earth at His ascension. He’s here, today. You might be surprised to see how, and where.
- The Spiritual Ghetto – The way “church” is predominantly practiced in the American and Western culture is akin to the “Ghettoization” factor in socioeconomic subculture. Religious indoctrination that enslaves the masses.
Other Blog Highlights:
- I wrote 68 posts in 2014, up from 53 the year before
- Page views were up 66%
- Readerswere referred from:
- Subscribers (email)
- Guest posts on other sites
- Readers from 132 countries around the world
For some reason, I get really great engagement and interaction on Facebook, through e mail, and face to face (it’s been a thrill to meet some readers from around the world this year and share coffee), but I don’t get much regular comment engagement. Not sure why that is. If you have some feedback on this, please let me know. That being said, I do have some very faithful commenters, and I would like to acknowledge them. Many thanks to Kenneth Dawson, “Blueshawk,” “Sam,” Amanda Iosa, and Randi Rooks – who were the top 5 commenters on the year.
Other Places I Wrote:
- I continued to contribute somewhat regularly to House2House Magazine. FYI, H2H has recently begun transitioning, and for the time being, the site and its content is down. I am not sure when or if, and in what form it may re-emerge. Nevertheless, I was thankful for the opportunity to contribute.
- I am grateful to blogger friends for graciously allowing Guest Posts on their sites:
- In September, I had the honor to be a part of a speaking line-up at an organic and house church conference. I delivered a message entitled “What’s the Point.” I wish I had audio of that talk, but sadly, I didn’t think of it at the time. Now that I’ve got a podcast, I’ll record more spoken teachings and messages.
- In November, I had the honor of joining my dear friends Felicity Dale, and Kim Vastine at a Women’s Inclusion Roundtable. The post I wrote, To all the Ladies: Forgive us, was a summary of the ministry time that I was honored to witness and be a part of.
- Also in November, I was invited by a group of church and faith leaders, researchers and developers at the Center for Faith and Future Storytelling, to be a part of a 63 person contingent in Chicago. There were 21 “traditional church leaders,” 21 “organic or non-traditional church leaders,” and 21 “women leaders.” We were asked to be a part of a think-tank, exploring the changing church and faith trends in America, and dreaming and visioning about what relevant church and faith practice will look like in the 21st Century.
- I was also interviewed by social researchers at the Dechurched Project for upcoming academic research, and a forthcoming book, Church Refugees: Sociologists Reveal Why the Dechurched Left…and What They’re Hoping to Find. I can’t wait to read this when it is released in 2015. It should be a fascinating study socially, and for the Church.
In case you missed it, I recently launched my first podcast episode, which undoubtedly was one of my favorite things of any content released this year. It would absolutely be in the list of my personal favorites for the year. Real Life Radio: Episode 001 – A Discussion with Jamal Jivanjee. If you haven’t listened to this dialogue, set aside an hour, grab a cup or two of coffee, and listen intently. Without an agenda, Jamal and I waded out into some deep stuff regarding church, Oneness, Fellowship in the Divine, Inclusion, the Love of God and our True Nature in Love. This one messed a lot of people up – some didn’t like it, others will never be the same in an oh-so-Glorious way. A really good discussion on the podcast took place over on Jamal’s blog comments. Go check those out after you listen.
My podcast can be found on iTunes, and of course, subscribed to there. Check it out. Jamal and I have already scheduled a follow up discussion, and I have other interviews and podcasts on tap early in 2015.
Of course, more important than what I write or say here or there, are my family and friends and the Life we share. There were so many great moments in 2014. Most of the best were those small, quiet times of gathering in and treasuring deep the “little things.” They don’t make great blog bullet lists, and they are probably too personal and precious to share, but they always tend to be the most lasting, don’t you agree?
Beyond those kinds of moments, other 2014 memorable experiences included:
- My oldest daughter, McKinley (9), asking Marie and I to baptize her in the hot tub of a resort we were vacationing at in August. While not unexpected, per se, it was un-anticipated in that exact moment, in that exact place. It wasn’t how we had the play designed on the white board, but it was a gorgeous Peter-Eunuch kind of moment of, “Here is water. What keeps me from being baptized right now?” Nothing baby girl. Nothing at all.
- Trips to Costa Rica; Saltillo, Mexico on mission; Galveston; The British Virgin Islands; and Puerto Vallarta.
- Lastly, I’d be remiss here, if I did not acknowledge that writing a book and getting it out in front of the eyeballs and hearts of other people was a “bucket-list” kind of fulfillment. The Path of Freedom grew me in the process of it being written. I have received so much wonderful private encouragement and testimony from it. If you read it, thank you.
What’s on tap for 2015?
I am excited about the direction of my writing in this new year. It’s going to be… interesting, I think. What I have on my heart to share with you may well be very polarizing. But, nevertheless, it burns in my chest, and it must be shared. So, needless to say, more blog posts are coming, and they will challenge you. They certainly have me, even before they’ve been written.
I will be podcasting at Real Life Radio regularly as well. Look for spoken messages, teachings, interviews and discussions.
Maybe another book?…. Maybe. I’ve got some ideas, we’ll see what the Lord’s is and go from there. The most pressing idea is one that moves further, beyond from The Path of Freedom. It kind of takes what I shared in that book and moves it into a deeper, higher plane. That makes sense in my head right now, yet reads like a stupid sentence. Oh well.
I’ve routinely said that I write for Him, then for me, and then for you. But the Fruit comes back from all directions. I am eternally grateful for the feedback, engagement, encouragement and Love I get from readers of this blog. You bless me. Yeah, of course there are the trolls and the haters, too. And I Love them as well. But they don’t give me Life. Others of you do. Sincerely, thanks. I appreciate you.
If you don’t already, be sure and Subscribe to the blog, like my Zōē Perissos Page on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and check out Real Life Radio on iTunes. You can also reach out to me directly here. I love to hear from you, and if we are ever both within 25 miles or so of a coffee joint – let’s meet up!
Happy New Year to you all. From my house to yours, I bless you!