Favorite Books Read: Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller; My Southern Journey, Rick Bragg; Learning to Speak God from Scratch, Jonathan Merritt
Best Movies Seen: The Greatest Showman, Same Kind of Different as Me
Best Song: What Makes You Country, Luke Bryan; Reckless Love, Cory Asbury
Great Professionals Lost: Aretha Franklin, Anthony Bourdain, sportscaster Keith Jackson
Worst Lie: Impossible to choose.
Best Thing That Was Old That is New Again: I’m bringing the fishing hobby back into my life. Bought a nice boat a few weeks ago.
Favorite New Dream: An around the world plane ticket, and apparently there’s a new 1,700-mile hiking trail in Chile that passes through dozens of national parks.
Most Surprising New Habit: Evaluating how every word written in every social media post might actually make someone angry before the post gets made.
Most Surreal Moment I’d Always Thought About and Actually Did: Sitting at a bar sipping whiskey with locals in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Sounds crazy, but it was a real thrill.
Last Year’s Most Accurate Prediction About This Year: The danger of a national numbness.
Biggest Conversion: Yes, I will watch the occasional Hallmark movie now.
Favorite Personal Moment: Standing on the Cliffs of Moher, eyes closed, North Atlantic sea spray blowing against my face, breathing in the freshest air God ever created, and taking a mental picture of it all that I’ll carry with me always.
Best Sense of Personal Satisfaction: Not quitting after having three different book proposals rejected by some of the best agents in the country. We finally nailed one in November and I’m so fired up about it.
The Resulting Lesson from the Paragraph Above: Have a teachable spirit and never give up on a dream you know God puts in your heart.
Best Grassroots Experience: I got to travel all around the country speaking at REIs and signing books. But even better was the number of people who opened their homes and took me in as a guest. I’ll never forget spending time with such hospitable friends.
Most Disturbing Trends I See: “us vs. them” vocabulary; placing more value in symbols than the actual idea the symbols represent; an absence of shame.
Characterizing This Year in Two Words I’d Use: Sadly predictable.
Best Epiphany Experienced This Year: Faith is not some notion that we come to as a matter of last resort. We don’t default to faith, but rather we come to it through an ongoing exercise of doubt and reason. It’s all God’s design that faith is a reasoned trust. It’s His quest of choice for each of us. We come to faith just as we come to other conclusions in life.
Favorite New Gadget: A portable USB fan that travels with me everywhere.
Favorite New Obscure TV Series: Forever on Amazon.
Biggest Regret: Missing a trip to Morocco during a three-month stay in Spain.
Biggest Issue that I Was Once Set on and Now Taking Time to Carefully Reconsider: Is homosexuality consistent or inconsistent with biblical teaching, and what is the church’s role in all this?
Prediction for Next Year’s National Scene: It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it’s going to get better.