A BRIEF YEAR-IN-REVIEW COLUMN
These things aren't the "best", but they were my favourites.
ALBUM OF 2014:
"BORDERLAND" By JOHN MARK MCMILLAN
I just returned to these songs again and again. This album transcends the boundary lines between "sacred" and "secular" so well. This isn't a Christian album, per se, though faith infuses every track. It's a treatise on being grounded in two worlds, and two perspectives, at the same time–bringing peace in the midst of chaos and disorder. This album was so good, I kind of bought it twice.
TELEVISION SHOW OF THE YEAR:
RECTIFY: SEASON 2
I've reviewed the show earlier in the year but I really can't speak highly enough about it. This show covers forgiveness, accusation, and reconciliation in a painfully honest way–but the imagery is so powerful, and beautiful, that individual moments and scenes stay with you as illustrations of the themes themselves. This show, especially in Season 2, illustrates what storytelling is supposed to accomplish through the medium of television.
MOVIE OF THE YEAR:
Everyone loves this movie. It's one of the most well-reviewed films of all time. But in a year full of great movies, this story goes far beyond being another memorable film. By following the same actors on a twelve-year-journey, this simple tale of adolescence raises the bar on what we hope films will accomplish. This film is an immediate classic.
BOOK OF THE YEAR:
"A FAREWELL TO MARS" by BRIAN ZAHND
This book gave language to my gnawing suspicions and my secret hopes. For a long time I'd practiced my Christian faith without being able to reconcile the mystery of "just violence". This book gave language to the simple peace Jesus always advocated–not in an impractical, alienating way, but through sympathetic storytelling. This book serves as a marker for a huge shift in my thinking.
YOUTUBE OF THE YEAR
"HOW TO PLAY OCEANS ON THE DRUMS"
I've watched this video over and over. Having been involved in worship and music ministry in church almost my whole life, I sympathize with everyone involved in this video. I've been the worship leader struggling to communicate with my drummer. I've been the clueless co-leader trying to contribute as best I can. And most often, I'm the showboat drummer who's not blending with the tune as much as I think I am. It's just about a perfect snapshot of what church musicians have to deal with on a regular basis.
STARTUP by ALEX BLOOMBERG and GIMLET MEDIA
Serial Serial Serial. Everyone loves Serial. Of course we do: it's a breakthrough in storytelling and journalism in the podcast format... but it wasn't the only show to redefine what podcasting is capable of. "Startup" follows a gifted podcaster, Alex Bloomberg, as he tries to start a podcasting company. While he doesn't know anything about starting a company, he does keep the microphone recording at all times. If this doesn't make you want to be an entrepreneur, nothing will!
MOMENT OF THE YEAR:
Yup, I found out I am a father. I can't describe what it did to me. But it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, and it's my favourite moment of 2014.