Last year, at the inspiration of Bob Carlton, many of us submitted our "Top Five" posts of the year. I'm going to be bringing my 2005 blogging to an end very soon -- my last day of new posts for the year will be December 14, and then nothing again until January 3.
So call it excess, but I'm selecting ten posts this year with which I was particularly pleased. I'm putting up the first five (numbered 10 through 6) today and I'll put up the top five on Friday.
10. May 24's A Long Reflection on Moving Away from Home. Excerpt:
I want to help my students and my teenagers in youth group develop their individual autonomy, their individual selves, their individual identities. For all my professions of faith, I still see offering people "choices" as among the highest of moral imperatives in a good society. I want my teenagers to be able to extricate themselves from the constraints of their families and go off to find liberation in the dorms and the leafy green quads of American colleges in, if not another time zone, at least another county!
9. March 8's A short post wherein Hugo reveals his Luddite tendencies. Excerpt:
I am sick and tired of having folks with doctorates in education (Lord help us) tell me that "lecturing is an outdated teaching style." Well, it's still a damned effective teaching style if it's done well. I put a lot of time and energy into crafting articulate, interesting, lectures, largely because I believe that for most students, it remains the most effective and memorable way to learn. I do invite discussion and debate in some of my classes, and I welcome questions -- but I cling tenaciously to the old-school notion that my job is to be an interesting, compelling, and provocative deliverer of information.
8. October 27th's "No right not to be looked at": Reflections on lust and male responsibility. Excerpt:
I'm not suggesting that we can create a society where none of us ever gazes at another person with a fleeting sensation of desire. But lust is about more than passing desire, lust is a conscious choice to not only look for a moment, but to continue to look. It's the difference between an "appreciative glance" and a "penetrating gaze." I don't think it's a tortuous and artificial distinction, either. I think it's straightforward and practical, and with discipline, easily applied. And let me be clear that my goal is not to create a de-sexualized, guilt-ridden society! My goal is a world where men and boys, women and girls, interact with each other as loving members of the human community, with a sense of responsibility for each other and a commitment to love and protect each other. I want a world where young women can feel validated and seen, not because of their physical desirability but because of their essential worth as human beings.
7. August 11ths' A Long Reflection on the Good Divorce. Excerpt:
But I don't just believe that divorce is an "evil" that can be forgiven. Though many divorces are bitter and nasty, not all of them need be. I've gone the bitter and angry route (in my second), and I've gone the loving, charitable, and (dare I say it) "positive" route (in my third.) Thus in my own experience, I have witnessed the very real redemptive possibilities that can be found in the experience of marital dissolution.
In this last divorce process, which lasted months, I allowed myself to experience the unique "refining fire" that the end-of-marriage process can offer. I am absolutely convinced that few other experiences, if any, can force one to confront the realities of one's own sinfulness and one's own selfishness! In that marriage, especially in the drawn-out process which ended it, I faced some colossally uncomfortable truths about myself. In the safe atmosphere of the therapist's office, my ex-wife and I confronted each other. But rather than just "dump", we both took the time to hear what we were being told. And by doing that "hearing work", we not only validated the other's experience, we came to terms with facts about ourselves we would never otherwise have seen.
6. January 12th's Older Men, Younger Women, Integrity. Excerpt:
Young women need older men in their lives who will respect and care about them, who aren't their fathers or brothers but who aren't prospective lovers, either. They need to know that they bring more to the table than their sexuality. They need to be seen as complete human beings. Paradoxically, seeing young women as complete human beings means that in actions, words, and yes, even in thought, older men cannot see them as objects of sexual desire. That doesn't mean that we (older guys) shouldn't acknowledge that younger women are sexual creatures. But we must (and the burden is on us alone here, fellas) love them with radical unselfishness,and that requires that we ourselves always refrain from sexualizing them.
I liked these posts -- not my top five, mind you, but ones I want to remember nonetheless. I invite my fellow bloggers to do the same, make their own lists, and we'll see if Bob Carlton does his compendium again this year.