A Top Seven list for 2015

It's the end of another year, and everywhere I look I see people making Top Ten lists, Top 100 lists, Top lists lists.  Here is my top seven list of things that just seem like they should get some attention. Sorry, only seven, couldn't come up with a tenth.

1. Most influential book.  Chris Crowley's Younger Next Year and Thinner This Year are hands down the most influential books in the past year for me.  The newest edition, Younger Next Year: The Exercise program came out on December 15.  The books changed my life, helped me get with the program of exercising 6 days a week (okay so sometimes my schedule makes it more like 5 days a week) and stop eating crap (you know fried food, red meat, refined sugar & flour)  I lost 35 pounds, an inch around my neck and two inches in the waist, and got off all my cholesterol meds.

2. Favorite Album of the Year.  This had a lot of competition.  But, if I use my iTunes catalogue as a measure of what I've listened to the most, I've gotta go with Over the Rhine's newest release Barn Raising. It's a 2 CD live concert, that's a great collection of their most recent music. Over the Rhine is one of the most profoundly spiritual groups I've come to know.  But, they are subtle about it.  Perhaps a reflection of their Quaker College roots.

3. Best Movie - So here is the deal, I don't get out much to see movies.  I don't know why.  When I go, I enjoy it, but it just doesn't happen much.  So, I'm going to go with a movie I haven't seen yet, Macbeth. Why?  Cause, you just can't go wrong with Shakespeare.  Someone once said, if you've seen Shakespeare, you've seen everything.  

4. Best TV - They say it's the golden age of TV with all these shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, etc.  I liked the first two seasons of House, and Lillyhammer, but by season three the storylines seemed to go into the realm of fanciful, and I lost interest.  Best drama in a Televised event, how's that for a category?  The answer for me would be last February's Super Bowl.  You can't beat that game for drama.

5. Most Significant Religious Event - The Huffington Post has their own list here.  I'm going with two events that happened on the same day.  One is a tragedy and the other is an opportunity.  On June 17th, nine people were killed in a mass shooting terrorist event in Charleston, SC.  This tragedy occured on the same day that Pope Francis released On Care for our Common Home.  His writings on Climate Change.   Both of these events connect to two big issues in our world, racism and global climate change. 

6. Biggest Surprise of the Year.  Well, it's hard to write this, but when I'm honest, I have to say, Donald Trump.  I continue to be surprised that he is leading all these polls, and getting all this free media - as if he is a legitimate candidate for President.  I never thought he'd last this long.  Maybe it's not Trump I should be surprised at, but the unrest that is in a portion of our country that would find such a candidate appealing.

7. Best Event of 2015 - Hands down.  Gotta be, the birth of my grandson.  In the words of the poet Carl Sandburg, "The birth of a child is God's opinion that the world should go on."