Bubbling Up:The Top Five Posts of 2016

Some who blog limit themselves to a primary area of interest or skill. It could be parenting, or classic cars, or the perils of dating. Brain Bubbles is not about a single topic or subject, which makes it harder to categorize, or target a specific audience. I write about whatever is “bubbling up” in my brain at the moment. There are entries about relevant social issues and important political observations. I include personal religious perspectives as well. But I also write about movies, television, music and books. Because I love writing...especially good writing...I write about the craft of writing.

Once again, we find ourselves at the end of the year, looking back. As a blogger, that means taking stock of not only what I wrote, but what folks read.

Of the more than 30 blogs I posted last year, I’ve compiled my annual list of Top Five. The list is not determined by scientific means, but based on web hits, comments, Facebook discussion, re-shares and “Likes” for each post.

As usual, I admit to some surprise. Several of my favorites... ones I invested significant time and personal passion...went largely unnoticed. <shrug> It again goes to show that writers can’t predict what readers will read. (Well, unless you’re J.K. Rowling. Apparently all she has to do is put her name on it, and even a screenplay becomes a bestseller.)

Fortunately, there were a few that were very popular, getting plenty of views, discussion and re-shares. That also included positive and negative feedback comments. Those make up this Top Five List.

Taken as a whole, I wrote fewer blogs this year than in previous years. That was partly due to an unplanned, self-imposed hiatus after the election. I was stunned into silence, anger and fear.
I. Just. Couldn’t.

Author’s Note: However, as an activist for equality and justice, I will push past (or harness) my emotions in order to speak out against the tyranny of oppression which is taking hold in our country. I anticipate more blogs in the coming year.
I. Just. Must!  

As an overview of 2016, two of the posts dealt with beliefs: trying to impose them on others, and how tolerance can have limits. Two were very personal, related to important, life-altering decisions in my life. Two were from the same month. One was an amusing discourse on the many “religious” commenters who try to hijack my online pages. And as in years past, the Number One post was way ahead of all the others, making that choice obvious.

5. My Last Days as an “Ex-Gay” (August)
As a young man, I believed it was a sin to be gay, and was assured by those in the “ex-gay” movement that I could change. I worked diligently, but after years of exhausting efforts and constant struggle, I realized it was a fraud. I came out as a gay man. Many people still ask: what happened? So I shared some of the events that chipped away until my rigid belief-system collapsed, allowing Light to enter.

4. Encountering the “Holy Trollers” (March)
Anyone who maintains a strong online presence knows about Internet Trolls. Because of the religious topics I cover, I’ve noticed a particular kind of Troll shows up. I generally refer to them as “Holy Trollers.” Over the years, I’ve even categorized them into a few distinct “personalities.” 

3. The Limits of My Tolerance (March)
I consider myself a very tolerant person. With that said, I have my limits. There is one thing I will not tolerate! And I think that's okay. Tolerance, by the very meaning of the word, has to draw the line on how far to be tolerant!

2. Why I Got Married! (January)
On January 1, I got married. Obviously, there were many who objected to my marriage on principle; same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry. I had some ask me why, after 17 years together, we decide to do it. Though I didn’t feel a need to defend our decision, I did offer some of my reasons.

1. What About My “Deeply Held Religious Beliefs?” (April)
States were passing laws designed to force respect for “deeply held religious beliefs.” But if we look carefully, the beliefs being “protected” in the laws are very narrow. These laws don’t reflect the religious beliefs of everyone, like me. So I wondered: What about MY “deeply held religious beliefs?” Why aren’t they being respected?

Honorary Mention: There were two posts that were shared more than the top three in this list, but the comments, etc., weren’t as high, so it didn’t make the Top Five. It was a topic close to my heart, and I was proud of the posts, so I did want to include it here. It was a two-part blog called Caring for Your Pastor.
Unless you’ve held the position of a Pastor, it’s doubtful you can comprehend the difficulties, complexities and challenges that come with that title. I have a special place in my heart for those men and women who take on the daunting responsibility of “shepherding” a local community of faith. While many are under their care, who takes care of them? I offered some practical suggestions.

Thanks for reading my blog this year. Please know I don’t take it for granted.
I hope you continue to come back.
Of course, your comments, feedback and/or questions are always welcomed.

Finally, if there’s a topic you would like me to address in the future, let me know. I will gladly try.

Happy New Year!