Another year in the books! As we inch closer to January 1st, we’d like to take a moment and reflect on all that happened in 2017. From revelations of sexual abuse by people in powerful places, to intense debates over gun control, to a church founded solely to worship weed, there was never a shortage of controversial topics being discussed here on the ULC blog.

We’d like to thank you all for contributing to the fascinating conversations that took place over the past 12 months. Your voices, your observations, and your opinions are highly valued. These interactions help spur important (and at times, difficult) discussions on religion, faith, culture, and more. Difficult though they might be, it’s vital that these dialogues continue to take place. If 2017 showed us anything, it’s that our society remains intensely divided on many serious issues. This is a challenge we must meet head on; if we find ourselves unable to engage with opposing ideas, we can never hope to see eye-to eye with the people who hold them. For your part in furthering such discussions, we thank you.

On that note, here are the most-read stories of 2017! Which one surprised you the most?

1. Corporate Creed: The Companies You Never Knew Were Deeply Religious

Religious message on shopping bag from Forever 21

2. Citing “Religious Tradition”, New Jersey Won’t Ban Child Marriage

A child marriage ceremony

3. Anti-Muhammad Billboard Angers Muslims

An anti-Muhammad billboard has sparked anger among Muslims

4. The Pasta Created to Kill Catholic Priests

Strozzapretti, the priest strangling pasta

5. Power Corrupts: How Fame Leads To Harassment and Abuse

Some of the many famous men accused of sexual abuse in 2017

6. Cake Wars: Should Christians Have to Bake Cakes For Gay Couples?

Wedding cake for a gay wedding

7. The International Church of Cannabis Opens Its Doors

International Church of Cannabis sign

8. Christian University Forces Athletes to Stand for National Anthem

High school football players kneel during the national anthem.

9. The Great Gun Control Debate: Ministers Weigh In

A collection of guns

10. Church of England Embraces Transgender Members

A pastor wearing the rainbow flag

 

7 comments

  1. John Owens says:

    Joseph,

    is there any chance we could discuss any issues or events that are not focused on left/right argument? I don’t know, like the wantonly cruel ways ISIS was murdering people, including children, or the phenomenon of tiny homes, living off the grid, benefits of monogamy, how to spot BS when people try to talk science or statistics, what to do if you are approached by a bear, SOMETHING that doesn’t just focus on divisive stuff? I know talking about “hot-button” issues or non-issues makes for a lot of comments, but is that really the best way to measure success? It generates a lot of negative stuff and anger. We might actually be able to come together over some other things. I mean, I’m sure the smarty-pants people will still be jerks, but more of us might learn from each other or at least have civil discourse over topics that are not specifically intended to be points of contention.

    I’m not criticizing– just asking. Hope you are having a nice day.

    1. joseph says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your feedback. We do our best to post about a wide range of topics, although it does seem as if the current climate has caused certain subjects to become more divisive than they used to be. If there is a particular topic you’d like to see covered, we always welcome guest posts here on the blog. Guest posts can be emailed to sermons@themonastery.org for consideration.

      Best,
      Joseph

    2. Linda says:

      John, you and I often disagree yet I like debating with you because it challenges my beliefs, offers new insights, and you have transformed some of my ideas. Someone claimed something about Google, politically, sited his source, and I was SHOCKED he was right! Topics on religion tend to generate passionate debates too, and Biblical topics are my favorite. Sometimes assertions in debates don’t register with the other person until weeks later. I’ve had that happen many times… rejecting an idea, then much later have an epiphany it is right.

      Why people get so divisive, personally, over someone’s opinion is bewildering to me, because a single person’s opinion has little power. (Yes, every vote counts and the collective wisdom is a different topic.) When someone disagrees over religious topics, they can rest assured no one’s opinion is going to change the truth. Maybe opposing opinions “can” make us more tolerant by trying to be more understanding, even if we continue to disagree?

      John, I’ve only seen you have civil discourse, yet no one can control what the other person does. IMO, anyone getting disrespectful only takes away from their position. I’m fairly new here and what is frustrating to me is when I think a person is disingenuous and a troll stirring up trouble. I just leave it to those that like to take on that challenge, and I lose no sleep over it.

      I’m looking forward to Joseph’s new topics, and appreciate what a difficult job it must be. Happy New Year to all…

      1. Tom says:

        Linda…your approach is very comfortable, and allows for discussion without reaction…keep writing…Happy New Year…Tom

  2. Tom says:

    Joseph…i feel John has a point…when we look at the ULC bumper sticker, and think about the issues presented on the blog, i feel it would be useful to talk about members concepts of how life works; karma; reincarnation, etc, including the views on these from Wiccans and other non-mainstream “religions”…the reason I joined was because of the universality, and I feel there is too much focus on American politics/Christianity…how do you feel about this, from the ULC point of view?…thanks…Tom

  3. Craving Liberation Alliance Community Churches says:

    I’m proud to be a ULC ordained minister and loved what you had to say in 2017. Do you think the ULC could include more Australian christian news items? Marriage equality is now legal in australia was the big news here in australia. It’s the first church I’ve been a part of where it’s okay to fight the good fight of the faith (1 Tim 6:11-19 NRSV) and where it’s okay to be an intersex asexual forgotten australian born out of adultery and poverty minister and where it’s okay to call on the church to do what jesus does and stand on the side of the poor and oppressed and where the ULC is the kind of church that is not afraid to speak the truth of God’s liberating word. Just wondering though can ULC update it’s australian marriage laws section. marriage equality is legal in australia and the attorney general has introduced a new process for legal registration of ordinations and a 4th category process for legal registration of ULC ordinations and non recognised churches called commonwealth religious celebrants. details can be found here. https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/Becomingamarriagecelebrant.aspx.
    Keep up the good work ULC. I’m hoping I can get my ULC ordination legally registered in 2018.
    God bless and love in struggle rev comrade shelly Frances kershaw.

  4. Craving Liberation Alliance Community Churches says:

    Loved ULC in 2017 and looking forward to 2018. can you update your marriage laws section as australia now has marriage equality. https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/Becomingamarriagecelebrant.aspx
    Keep up the good work. God bless and love in struggle rev comrade shelly frances kershaw

Leave a Comment