Review of the Year 2016
Best TV show (fictional): The BBC’s The Night Manager was the best of an outstanding batch of programmes they released between Christmas and Easter, which also included And Then There Were None, War and Peace, and the excellent Undercover. If you then chuck in The Crown, The Missing and Line of Duty, you’d have to say that for the first time in decades, the UK made more compelling new shows than the US.
Best TV show (factual): Planet Earth II. No contest:
Favourite hashtag: Back in January Derek Rishmawy started the ridiculously niche, but amusingly ridiculous, #HeresiesAs80sSongs, which included Like A Virgin (Ebionites), Two Hearts (Nestorianism), Take A Look At Me Now (Iconodulism) and You Can Call Me Al (Islam).
Most provocative sentence: Robert Jenson, in his commentary on Ezekiel: “The ancient church rightly assumed that the Eucharist is a sacrifice.” I’m still pondering that one.
Best fake news: I was actually quite gutted when I discovered that the best of the Clinton-Blair transcripts had been made up (although based on some which were real). But they remain some of the genuine laugh out loud items of the year, especially on Leeds Castle and punching a ham.
Best movie: no idea. I don’t think I watched a single new film in 2016, so hopefully Nathanael will tell us tomorrow.
Best word: it was a delight to discover the word Götzenopferfleisch in my research on 1 Corinthians. It means “food offered to idols.”
Tweet of the year: This:
Being 28-2016: I’m not ready for a relationship
28-1816: I have 13 kids
28-1000BC: I lived a good life, thrice I ate a berry and once a pear
Best blog post title: Racial Held Evans.
Best typo: John Piper, 1 May: “Christ is not glorified by a spiritual experience that is not based on the knowledge of Chris.” Even Trump couldn’t beat that.
Best new book: Hannah Anderson, Humble Roots.
Most important book I read: Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind.
Think Theology posts of the year: Our most read post this year was not actually written this year, but remains our most popular article ever—Phil Moore’s “What Your Biology Teacher Didn’t Tell You About Charles Darwin.” The only two others which were read over 20,000 times were “What’s Wrong With the Passion Translation?” and “On Throwing the Baby Out With the Bethelwater.”
Best talk of the year: The two best talks I heard this year were both at Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, which we hosted at King’s London: Patrick Lencioni on hiring people, and Erin Meyer on culture mapping. The level of communication skills, as well as the very insightful content, was a cut above any other leadership content I have previously heard taught.
Best meme: Robert Petersen’s “Rare image of a shark stepping on a Lego.”
Best new worship song: “Lion and the Lamb,” by Leeland Mooring, Brenton Brown and Brian Johnson. Wonderful music, wonderful lyrics, and beautifully performed.
Best review article: Fred Sanders’s review of Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance. People who think reviews should always be encouraging rather than primarily critical will struggle with it, but Fred shows his working, and yet demolishes the book for its handling of Trinitarian theology.
Post of the year: Alastair Roberts addresses the crisis of discourse in the contemporary West, and makes some fascinating connections to the way sex and gender are thought about. Although Francis Spufford’s piece on spiritual literature for atheists, which I only saw this January, is also worth an honourable mention.
Happy New Year.