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The Wee Flea – Articles, Readers and Reach

The Wee Flea

Every year I do an end of year review of The Wee Flea.  I am fascinated by facts, figures, history, geography.    I am also thinking about how to develop this work.  Any suggestions are welcome  – even if you want to say ‘finish’!

2020 was a strange year and there was much to report on.  There have been a lot of new readers – some pop in once – a handful seem to read everything!    Most just dip in and out according to their own particular interests.  For those who are new and are a bit confused about what this blog is all about I thought I would give the following summary.  I write about Christianity, politics, social, cultural and personal issues.    I put on this blog most (not all) of my writings for other publications, interviews, podcasts and videos – as well as articles that are original to the blog (usually the ones that are too personal or too hot to handle!).  Especially in 2020 I have been doing a lot of media work.   My purpose is to think out loud about all these issues from a Christian perspective.  As I keep explaining to people I don’t believe that everything I argue is the Word of God….only the Bible is that and I also admit that my knowledge is very limited – so I can often be wrong.  (I once thought of making a t-shirt with the slogan , ‘I read The Wee Flea but I don’t agree with everything you write’ because I heard it so often!)..   Writing (and the responses) helps me think though things.  I hope that it is helpful at times to those who read. What encourages me most is not the numbers but rather the individuals who get in touch to say how they have been helped, challenged or encouraged.

For those who are new here are some sample posts that give you a flavour.   If there is any particular subject you are interested in then just type it into the search facility!   There are regular columns for Christian Today, Letter from Australia, the Quantum PodcastAustralian Presbyterian, The Kitchen Table vlog;  Evangelicals Now

Most of my articles are probably not worth reading once – never mind twice – but occasionally there are those that really seem to hit the mark and which seem to have had an impact….here are a few in the different genres I try.

1. Prophetic – The church too often is playing catch up when it comes to the direction society is going.  I think that we should have a more prophetic role by looking ahead, not just behind.  This article from Christian Today is an example of what we try to do.  Welcome to the Sexual Counter Reformation. 

2. Pastoral – I think it is important to listen to people’s stories and to engage with them.  One young woman contacted me and asked me to let her tell her story of the dark side of transgenderism…  Another time I had the privilege of making a programme for TV with another transgender activist.  I found ‘Shake On It’ to be a very moving experience.

3. Personal – I don’t like to share a lot of personal stuff – because it is personal – and this is not a therapy session!  However there are occasional times when the deeply personal can also be helpful.  Two incidents in particular seem to have been helpful to people – one involving my two oldest children – Miracle at Twin Lakes;  and the other my own ‘near death’ experience – 

4. Polemic –  I believe we are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints – not just in that passive/aggressive way so beloved of some Christians who use ‘bless you’ as a cross between virtue signalling and a curse!  So sometimes I get involved in the battle – I don’t always enjoy it and find it often spiritually exhausting.  The two debates I did on Unbelievable with Matt Dillahunty fall into that category.  But the fruit from them has been evident.  

5. Political – Some of the religious people don’t understand why I do politics – and some of the political people don’t understand why I do religion!  The answer is that they are both part of life – politics is not the answer – neither is religion, as commonly understood.  But Christ is. And his Word and Spirit and The Father. And his Church.    Over the years I have watched my beloved country of Scotland slide ever further into the authoritarian abyss – and have written about it.  I doubt much of what I write has had any influence – although several politicians have got in touch (privately) to say that they read it and to keep going!  There is one article that I know had an impact and helped clarify or change people’s minds – and that is the article on why I changed my mind about the European Union.   It seems apposite that four years on – what I thought would never happen – has.

6. People – People fascinate me.  People in the public eye deserve to be scrutinised and interacted with.  This article I wrote about a speech that Meryl Streep made remains my most popular article.

7. Preaching – and teaching the bible.  Occasionally I put up sermons but mostly I write biblical exegesis applied to contemporary culture – like the series of articles I did on the book of Revelation for Christian Today. 

8. Perusal and Previews – I do a lot of reading, listening and watching and sometimes I write about what I have perused!  Sometimes that is done to give you a pre-view and in other cases if I think a work has a particular significance I might do a wee series interacting with it.  Although I haven’t done it for a while (I promise to restart this year!) I used to do a Saturday review which looked at books, music, food, etc…Like this one….Saturday Review 14 – The Lost Message of Paul; Owen Vol 10: Letters that Changed the World; Silly Wizard; Line of Duty; Castlehill Restaurant

9. Priesthood of all Believers  It is important for us to be honest about the church – to see it as the bride of Christ – but also as deeply flawed and constantly under attack.  The Lord’s people need to be warned about the wolves.  As in this example of the Church of Scotland turning away from the faith once delivered to the saints. 

10. Press and Publicity  I used to get a reasonable amount of publicity in the secular media and post some of it on here.  Over the years I have found that a number of journalists read this blog and occasionally use the material on it.

This is one of my favourite interviews – a BBC one I did just before leaving Scotland. : The Long Farewell with Bill Whiteford

And occasionally I put articles by others.

This was an incredible article by Kevin McKenna in The Daily Mail  which resulted in lots of conversations and even in people coming to church.   He followed that up a couple of years later with this one – Onward Christian Soldier. 

This blog has grown from 55,000 views in the first year (2013) to 1,185,000 last year.  The best year in terms of numbers was 2018 with 1,271,000 views.  But this is not really a numbers game – although they are interesting.   I am more interested in the individual impact and stories – and ultimately only the Lord knows that.

 

The top ten articles of all time –

  • A Cry in the Dark 0 Meryl Streep -111,241
  • European Referendum – the Tipping Point. – 94,365
  • About the Wee Flea – 58,930
  • America’s Disgrace – 47,088
  • Why Creflo Dollar is not Welcome in Scotland – 37,728
  • Elevation Church – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – 31,974
  • The Cancellation of Franklin Graham – 28,623
  • The Hate Police are now Here – 27,781
  • Undivided – an Open Letter to Vicky Beeching – 23,731
  • Tragedy in Lewis – A Pastoral Response – 23,177

Countries Reached

There are only two countries where The Wee Flea has never been read –  Turkmenistan and the Central African Republic!

Top twenty countries – the vast majority of course come from English speaking countries but it has been interesting to see a rise in numbers especially in the Asian countries and the Australian number grows every year.

  1. UK
  2. USA
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Ireland
  6. New Zealand
  7. South Africa
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Malaysia
  11. Spain
  12. Netherlands
  13. Switzerland
  14. India
  15. Belgium
  16. Singapore
  17. Ghana
  18. Rumania
  19. Italy
  20. Finland

I always (well almost always) appreciate feedback – even (or especially) when critical.  Iron sharpens iron.  So feel free to let me know what you think and how it can improve.  If you are a Christian I ask you to pray that the Lord would use this blog – and let me know if it is a waste of that most precious commodity – time!   If you are not a Christian – I have one simple question (and I am genuinely interested in the answer) – why not?  Maybe 2021 will be your year to step into the glorious light of Christ!

David

 

 

15 comments

  1. Hi David
    I thoroughly enjoy your posts , I don’t always agree , I do most of the time though , it would probably be unhealthy if I did agree all the time.
    I know myself and a lot of Christians find your posts very refreshing so keep doing what you’re doing .
    Happy New Year.

  2. Thank you David From the rural Lake District I appreciate your blog so much You have kept me informed on things I might not hear about which have been helpful, saddening and challenging You have also expanded my ‘musical’ repertoire! I enjoy reading it and it sends me all over the place looking things up We too love Scotland and my husband loves the mountains He has missed climbing them this year May God bless your outreach and all the activities you take part in this year Thankful each day for a Great God and patient Heavenly Father Memories of Ruth’s Graham’s epitaph ( altered) Still under construction Thank you for your patience’

    1. Thank you David for your blogs. I don’t read them all, but I do read those in relation to our problems in the Church and in Scotland. I wrote some months ago the following, but privately on my own computer, but I posted my thoughts this morning on FB. Can you help? These are genuine questions I am thinking through, I am an Elder in the Free Church, I love the Free Church, and I love the Congregation and Minister in which I serve. …. Here are my thoughts ……

      “…seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6: 33

      Is this command by Christ Jesus merely ‘pie in the sky’? Or an ‘opium’ delusion for Christians? Or perhaps some ‘future’ hope, rather than a ‘present’ economic, political, cultural, philosophical ‘wholistic’ experience of our practical relationships with Christ Jesus our King, those around us, inside and outside the Kingdom of God, now, today, immediately?

      If it is the latter of these options, (a present wholistic reality), then the Church has strayed far away from the ‘Kingdom of God and His righteousness’. Whereas some have heretically rejected the Kingdom of God in the present (Dispensationalists), and some have a ‘notion’ of the Kingdom of God in the present, but fall short of the relationships to be understood, imitated and practiced by its citizens.

      For example; the relationship between citizens and those on the outside as a kind of economic/cultural/social enterprise of good works towards the community and individuals. Tentatively doing outreach in this way in which the Gospel of the Kingdom is almost playing second-fiddle, or is drowned out in the orchestra of communal outreach. Or, perhaps; a top-down strategy from Denominational Headquarters, Assemblies and Presbyteries? Note: these are extreme examples, which exemplify to some extent our misunderstanding of how to do (or not to do) what the King commands here.

      How do we apply this teaching in terms of economics individually, locally and nationally? How do we apply this teaching in terms of the political practice of the individual? And how do we apply this teaching in terms of our own local cultures? Do we look for a ‘top-down’ response from Denominational Headquarters? Do we respond rather as a ‘body’ whose Head, Christ the King we all are volitionally moved by? What might this look like? How do I as an individual Christian implement this command in my own life and practice? How do we together as the ‘church’ of Christ implement this command in the life and practice of the ‘gathered-local-church’; in the ‘gathered-wider-church’ in our local communities, counties, nation and world?

      Then also, what might be some of the practices, beliefs, traditions or cultures within the Church which may act as barriers to this command to seek the Kingdom of God, first, and His righteousness? Is the ‘laity’ (for want of a suitable term) ‘paralysed’ into inactivity and personal initiative by the structures and constraints upon them from ‘above’? Are the leaders, teachers and pastors within the Church, also paralysed by tradition and culture within the Denominational structure? (“This is not the way we do things in this Denomination, or in this local Church setting”). No matter how much we may protest in believing and stating ‘we are Kingdom people, with Kingdom beliefs, practices and values’ – yet, is this protest the reality, or do we in truth mitigate against ‘Kingdom practices’ by our perceived need to protect and advance the ‘denomination’ or even our own local congregation? Is there a conflict of interests within each of us, whether at denominational levels, local, and in my own personal priorities in economics, politics, and culture?

      I think it is not unreasonable or bad exegesis to suggest the church is able to implement this command: “…seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

      Now, all I have is questions, I have no solutions, no answers. However, I am acutely aware these questions may betray in me a flaw of dissimulation. I hope that is far from my motivation in asking these questions, which I think are genuine. Help, please. God we need thee.

  3. “Any suggestions are welcome – even if you want to say ‘finish’!”

    Haha – my twopennyworth? Keep doing what you are doing David with stirring the pot. It’s always entertaining (not always for the right reasons) and engaging.

    I know you will take this as intended and not have a hissy fit ;).

  4. As one of those who read 99% of your posts, I thank you for taking the time to write them. As a Christian who often gets abuse for my anti snp posts elsewhere, I understand that you do get hurtful reactions, but thank God we still live in democratic times when we should be free to air our personal views. Wishing you and your family blessings for 2021. From a lovely morning in the Scottish highlands.

  5. Hi David. I have said this to you before ibelieve the Lord has given you an unusual capacity to absorb and comment on stuff so encourage you to go on with the wee flea.

    I wish you and yours every blessing for the new year

    Best. Kerr

  6. As one of your “French” readers (well, a little more accurately, Scots reader living in France), I would echo Michael Watson: “I thoroughly enjoy your posts, I don’t always agree,”

    However, there is no-one with whom I agree 100% of the time. I was told, when a relatively Bible College student, that agreeing with anyone to that extent merely showed up the paucity of my own thought processes – so am not concerned when I disagree!

    I hope that our own annual Newsletter arrived safely in your Inbox.

    Blessings, and shalom for 2021.

  7. Keep up the good work bro.
    Soli Deo Gloria.
    Your blogs/podcasts/articles are superb 👍

  8. Dear David, a heartfelt thank you for the Wee Flea. Please keep going. I am so sorry you could not be ‘home’ for your daughters wedding. May the Lord bless you and your family-Numbers 6:24-26.
    All the way from Bonnie Scotland, Effie Alexander

  9. David

    It is always easy when someone is in the public eye to find faults and areas of disagreement. It is not always as easy to properly appreciate the effort and agony that living such a life may involve. Your engagement with views hostile to the gospel must be draining. I pray that God will continue to strengthen you in the spiritual battle. May you know the wisdom, courage and grace of Christ. May we all know this in the year ahead. May we know in every sense of the expression ‘the Lord is at hand’.

    1. During my Scots Presbyterian upbringing , none of which is regretted , but rather remembered with nostalgic affection , it was formerly ‘ the day of the Lord is at hand’ .

      However , I suppose that may be regarded as a distinction without a difference . Anyway, I never did finish reading Stephen Hawking’s, ‘ A Brief History of Time.’

  10. Hi Alistair

    Yes. It may refer to the nearness of his presence day by day or the nearness of his return. Both are an encouragement to faith.

  11. Suggestions?

    As a long standing reader and quite probably the prime reason for Number 7 ( Ironically we have a black and white cat named Number 7!) I’m at least in the running to be allowed to make a suggestion.
    So here it it …

    Put up a list of ”House Rules” (For want of a better phrase) and remove moderation to allow free, open and real time dialogue. This still leaves the blog host the opportunity to remove (or even ban if necessary) any and all comments felt to have ”crossed the line” or breached the host’s rules of blog etiquette.

  12. Ditto and thanks! I’m still a fanboy through and through. I am informed, sharpened and encouraged to consider issues I would not usually and especially with a Christ centric lens. Much appreciated.

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