RealClearReligion has compiled a list of the biggest religious newsmakers (not newsworthies) of 2013. Newsworthies would be another list altogether, and would probably be full of people we’ve never heard of, men and women laboring for Christ’s kingdom in obscure places all over the world but making a bigger spiritual and eternal impact than any or even all of those named below. But God alone could compile such a list, for He alone knows what is really worth something in His kingdom. In the meantime, we have to make do with the newsmakers.
1. Pope and Change
If nothing else, a contender for the headline of the year. It’s quite remarkable how the Catholic Church turned it around with Pope Francis after the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
2. Oxbridge’s Finest
For someone who expected to be forgotten 5 years after his death, C. S. Lewis’s influence continues to grow. The 50th anniversary of his death, new movie deals and biographies, kept him in the news. But number 2 on the list? Fanboy writing this one, I think.
3. Born Again, One Last Time
Billy Graham’s last sermon and poignant last message to America.
4. Binders Full of Women
I must have blinked because this one passed me by. 2013, The Year of the Mormon Woman? Who would have thunk it?
5. Reza Aslan’s Zealot
This story really annoyed me at the time. Apart from that infamous FOX interview, Aslan’s book would have rapidly faded together with all the other hostile re-writes of Jesus’s life.
6. God, Guns, and Ganders
Even before the Phil Robertson GQ interview, the Duck Dynasty family had five books on the New York Times bestsellers list.
7. Rebranding Southern Baptists
Southern Baptist Russell Moore makes the list for his winsome cultural engagement. Speaking the truth in love, with equal weight being given to the “love.” Difficult line to walk, but his warm smile and general happiness with life has helped smash many caricatures.
8. Cauldron of Controversy
I don’t suppose any list would be complete without Driscoll on it somewhere for some reason. But his clothes? Seriously?
9. Atheism’s Old Man
Richard Dawkins, the Driscoll of New Atheism, lost a few arguments and a few media fans this year.
10. Aqua Buddha Strikes Back
I have no idea what Aqua Buddha is all about but the piece is about Rand Paul and his question to Obama: “Did You Seriously Spy on the Pope?”
11. Bombed in Boston
The Boston marathon bombing by two USA-based Muslims.
12. Still Prosperous
Joel Osteen gets on the list for a hoax story that many Christians hoped was true.
13. Tips Against Jesus
Still not clear whether the truth or falsehood of this was ever established.
14. Love Loses
Rob Bell gets on the list for all the wrong reasons, not least causing 1000+ people to leave his church. That won’t burnish the brand.