Last Friday, July 15, marked the first birthday of the Sword and the Ploughshare in its present incarnation, a dramatic upgrade from its old home on www.johannulusdesilentio.blogspot.com, and with a much more memorable URL. Blogging here for the past year has been an immense pleasure because of the wonderful opportunities for conversation I’ve had with friends old and new. Of all the many things I’ve learned over the past year, and the many ways my convictions have evolved and matured, probably half has come from my reading, and half has come from this blog. I particularly thank Donny and Bradley for keeping me honest with their penetrating questions on what seems like every post, Byron Smith for his immense store of relevant statistics on any question economical or ecological, and Peter E. for guiding me to a much richer understanding of the Protestant political-theological tradition.
In its first year, the Sword and the Ploughshare has hosted 172 posts, 1180 comments, and perhaps a thousand visitors, and new people are coming along and joining the discussion all the time. Here’s a recap of some of the year’s highlights:
The Coercion Series (September 2010), in which I analyzed the concept of coercion as it related to the economic and political spheres, helping me to at last decisively jettison the categories of libertarian thought.
Robin Phillips’ guest post defending the use of liturgical images (October 2010), which created a small tempest of discussion, though oddly enough mostly from Eastern Orthodox folks who thought that he hadn’t gone far enough.
The (still unfinished) Private Property Series (December 2010-February 2011), in which I seek to demonstrate that the concept of private property is much more philosophically complex and theologically ambiguous than we have generally been taught.
The McCormack Croall lectures (January-February 2011), which brought in a great number of new visitors to the blog and spawned lots of interesting discussion on Christology.
The discussions on retribution following the assassination of bin Laden (May 2011), in which I sought to add one more theological voice to the myriads weighing in on the issue, and in the process began to develop some misgivings about the concept of retributive justice.
(You will note that some of these links are not perfect–they link to tags, rather than series as such. A new feature I hope to be adding to this blog soon is an index of post series and book reviews, to enable readers to easily track down issues that have received sustained attention on this blog in the past.)
Thanks for your faithful reading and interaction and I look forward to many more conversations and new acquaintances over the coming year!