My Favorite Articles of 2016

journal-writingby John Ellis

Between this blog and PJ Media, I wrote almost 150 articles, well over a quarter of a million words, and have had millions of people read what I’ve written over the last twelve months. I have been mocked and excoriated by NPR, The Village Voice, and Richard Dawkins’ website, to list three out of many. In terms of writing, 2016 has been a banner year for me[1]. I praise God for that, and look forward to continuing my writing for as long as He allows. As I begin the new year, and taking a page from other blogs and sites, I’m going to rank my articles. Unlike most other sites, though, I’m not going to rank my articles by popularity; I’m going to rank my articles based on my affection for them. Below are the sixteen articles that I’m am most proud of having written this past year[2].

Thank you for reading, both here at A Day In His Court and at PJ Media. If there are any topics that you think that I should tackle in 2017, please let me know.

  1. Torres: Running From Faith

I reviewed far fewer albums in 2016 than I did in previous years. That was mainly because at the end of 2015, I was fired by the music site that employed me. I did manage to write a few album reviews this past year, though. My review of Sprinter by Torres in January may be my favorite album review that I’ve ever written. I believe that the review serves both the album and the reader equally. You can read it here.

  1. Hamilton Cast

Although no longer a theatre artist, I still love theatre. The brouhaha over Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s treatment by the cast of Hamilton gave me an excuse to dust off my theatre artist hat one more time. You can read it here.

  1. Christmas is Coming

After the election, the amount of hand-wringing and over-the-top angst emanating from people was troubling to me. Still is, for that matter. As a confirmed #NeverTrump writer and, more importantly, as a Christian, I felt an obligation to remind myself and my readers that our hope is found in Jesus. Sadly, this was one of my least popular articles on PJ Media. You can read it here.

  1. Reading the Challenging PG-13 Bible Passages to Children

This was one of my first articles for PJ Media. It’s also one of my favorite articles that I’ve written for PJ Media. It’s also the one and only of my articles that the noted Christian blogger Tim Challies has included in his popular A La Carte series. You can read my article here.

  1. Why I’m Thankful for My Strict Fundamentalist Parents

There is an entire cottage industry that exists for the sole purpose of allowing authors a place to unfairly throw stones at their strict, Christians parents. I have semi-joked with some friends that this article was my attempt to be the anti-Rachel Held Evans. I think that I succeeded, and look forward to one day turning this article into a book. You can read my anti-Rachel Held Evans article here.

  1. Christian Hospitality

My pastor asked me to write this for our church’s newsletter, where it was originally published. The discipline of hospitality is something that my wife and I have committed to practicing before God. You can read the article here.

  1. In Praise of 2016

As 2016 came to a close, I was dismayed by the number of memes and social media comments that cynically anthropomorphized 2016 as a villain. I was afraid that in all the odd finger-pointing at a year, Christians were missing out on the opportunity to praise God. You can read my thoughts about it here.

  1. Progressive Proof-texting: Did Jesus Come to Judge or to Save?

For many in our increasingly pluralistic world, the only acceptable form of judgment is that of judging Christians wrong for proclaiming God’s judgment on sin. I squared up against that irony by exegeting one of Progressive Christians’ favorite proof-texts – John 12:47. You can read my exegesis here.

  1. Progressive Proof-texting: Rich People and the Eye of the Needle

The Progressive Proof-texting series is one that I want to continue writing in 2017. In this article, I enjoyed delving into Matthew 19:24, especially as the #FeeltheBern movement was at its peak. You can read it here.

  1. Keep the Lord’s Day Holy, Even if it Falls on Christmas

I originally pitched this to my editor at PJ Media, but was told that it probably wouldn’t find readers at the site. It didn’t find readers at my blog, either. Regardless of the lack of views, I’m proud of this article and believe that it can be of help to those struggling with a proper view of the Lord’s Day. You can read it here.

  1. Praying the Bible Back to God

Outside of my Bible reading, Don Whitney’s little book Praying the Bible was the most impactful book that I read all year. I highly recommend the book to every Christian. For further explanation, you can read my book review here.

  1. Why I Left the Left: How Studying Theology Made Me a Conservative

My highest ranking PJ Media article on this list, “Why I Left the Left: How Studying Theology Made Me a Conservative” was my response to an article in the Huffington Post. It was also my first big “hit” on PJ Media. The article reflects on how God has sanctified me through the reading of the Bible, prayer, and the ministry of the local church. You can read about part of my life’s journey here.

  1. A Theology of Art

This was an article that I’ve been wanting to write for a couple of years. At the beginning of 2016, I finally sat down and took the time to organize and then communicate through writing some of my thoughts about art. You can read those thoughts here.

  1. What the World Needs

Unfortunately, I have many friends who have been sucked into the heresy called the Social Gospel. Developed by a man who didn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus, the Social Gospel rebelliously turns the Bible upside down and creates a salvation by works for liberals. You can read about it here.

  1. Going Back to Greenville

Moving to DC from Greenville was an adjustment; mainly because of our church family in Greenville. In His kindness and grace, God has given us a new church family who continue to love us and care for us. This past October, my family and I returned to Greenville to help Emmanuel Bible Church celebrate their tenth anniversary. Upon returning home, I wrote down my reflections that were prompted by that weekend. You can read those reflections here.

  1. A Tribute to My Mom

If you’ve been following this blog or my writing in general, my favorite article of the year probably isn’t a surprise. My mom passed away in September 2006. I thought it fitting to write a memorial to her to commemorate the tenth anniversary of mom’s death. You can read that memorial here.

[1] To be honest, God has richly blessed me in multiple ways this past year. A point that I loquaciously make in the article that sits at number ten on this list.

[2] I didn’t include my sermon manuscripts that I turned into blog posts. I don’t really have a good reason for excluding them, except, well, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.


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