Back when I was a youth director, my pastor said something that has continued to stick with me even now as an atheist: we need to practice a “long obedience in the same direction.” This idea wasn’t original to him, but I cannot for the life of me remember where he said he got it from. Regardless, its impact has been long lasting, and I try to structure my life to that end. On a practical level, this means setting goals – daily, weekly, monthly, annually – and moving toward them as consistently and persistently as life will allow.
One of the many goals I had was to grow the blog’s influence. In 2019, the blog received 18,000 views and nearly 8,000 visitors. This was astonishing growth and was encouraging. My hope was for modest growth in 2020 with a goal of reaching around 22,000 views and about 9,500 visitors. Did I hit that goal? Before I answer that question, let’s reflect on some other plans I had for 2020 before looking at my most popular posts of the year, how season 1 of the podcast did, and finally on what the actual view and visitor stats were for the year.
To all those who have read, liked, shared, and interacted with my material, please know how grateful I am for you. If no one read what I had to say, I probably wouldn’t blog. (I would continue to write but I would just leave it in a folder on my desktop.) Additionally, a few of you not only read, liked, shared, and interacted with my material, but you also donated financially to my work. In all, I raised a little over $90 which may not seem like much but every little bit helps. Fundamentally, that money goes towards just keeping the blog up and running. So, to those who dug into their wallets and gave what little they had to help this undeserving curmudgeon, I say, “Thank you!”
Here’s to a healthy and productive 2021!
2020 PLANS: AN ASSESSMENT
One of the things I had originally intended to do was continue my series “Quora Questions w/the Amateur Exegete.” Unfortunately, I found out that I’m not really good at doing video content like that; it’s simply not my wheelhouse. So, I discontinued it. I also stopped doing the Weekly Roundup since the stats reflected these posts were not reaching very many people. I had also hoped to launch season two of Amateur Exegesis in the Fall but between COVID and other issues, it wasn’t mean to be. Finally, I had planned to turn season one of Amateur Exegesis into a book but that too didn’t pan out. As it turns out, writing a book is really hard! Well, that is you want to do it well. So, 2020 was not a successful year in following through on these plans.
TOP TEN BLOG POSTS (BY VIEWS)
- Just as it was last year, counter-apologetics appears to be what my site is used for the most. Six of the top ten posts of 2020 were in some form or fashion addressing the claims of Christian apologists like SJ Thomason, Ray Comfort, Erik Manning, and Mike Winger.
- Half of those were about a single apologist: SJ Thomason, the business professor at the University of Florida who somehow cannot translate PhD-level research skills over into biblical studies. Also, she’s a plagiarizer.
- Two of the posts, Chris Hansen’s “Inanna: The Not So Parallel Goddess” and my response to pop-apologist Mike Winger on the death of Jesus in Mark and Luke, were originally written in 2019. But somehow my post on Mark vs Matthew vs John on Jesus walking on water, a post from Oct of 2018 and one that didn’t even make the top ten for 2019, made it on the top ten for 2020! My goodness, how strange 2020 has been!
- I’m very pleased that my review of Joshua Bowen’s book on biblical slavery is on here since Bowen’s work constitutes a superb introduction to the subject.
|Episode Title||# of Downloads|
|0101 – “Something’s Off”||35|
|0102 – “Origin Stories, part 1”||213|
|0103 – “Origin Stories, part 2”||96|
|0104 – “Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen, part 1”||86|
|0105 – “Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen, part 2”||72|
|0106 – “Family Issues”||86|
|0107 – “No Sign for You!”||87|
|0108 – “Walking on Water”||69|
|0109 – “Dirty Hands, Clean Food”||79|
|0110 – “Portraits of Jesus”||162|
- Despite the fact that the new season of Amateur Exegesis doesn’t begin until this year, the fact that the first season was listened to at all is surprising and encouraging.
- By far the two most popular episodes were episodes 2 and 10. I’m not exactly sure why that is.
- Views of the blog were up 62% over the previous year!
- Visitors to the site were up 75% over the previous year!
- My goals for the year were to get around 22,000 views and about 9,500 visitors. I exceeded that thanks to those of you who shared my website with the world.
- In 2021 I would like to get around 31,000 views and about 15,000 visitors, or roughly 10% growth over 2020.
PLANS FOR 2020
In just a few days, episode one of the second season of Amateur Exegesis will be posted. This next season will be ten episodes long and the episodes themselves will have more content. I’m also going to be doing the April Biblical Studies Carnival which should be fun! Finally, I’m planning to turn season one of the podcast into a blog series using the scripts from that season.