2011 has come to a close. It has been a great year and there are a lot of fun things to look forward to in 2012 (who isn’t excited for The Dark Knight Rises or The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?). Here at The Two Cities we are very excited for the introduction of this blog in August 2011 and look forward to the upcoming year. We hope to continue to provide daily posts and greatly want to continue dialoguing with our readers. As a fun way to bring in the new year I thought I’d make a short list of some of my favorite things from 2011. Blessings on the new year!
Although I didn’t see many movies released in 2011, my favorite movie of the year is definitely Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. Of course, nothing beats the books, but the movie series has come a long way. Every aspect of the series has matured; the acting, the themes, the cinematography, etc. Although it may not win Best Picture at the Oscars, it will definitely get a few nominations (especially for cinematography). It is a worthy conclusion to an incredible story and is my favorite movie of 2011.
As for music, my favorite album of the year is one that I’ll bet most of the readers of this blog have never heard of before. For that reason I feel the need to vindicate it and hopefully compel people to add it to their iPod collection. The album that I enjoyed the most in 2011 was Iconoclast by progressive metal band Symphony X. Using religious motifs, Iconoclast explores the negative effects of technology (I’m reminded of the very first post on our blog on similar issues). With songs such as ‘Electric Messiah,’ ‘Heretic,’ ‘Children of a Faceless God,’ and ‘Dehumanized,’ Symphony X is able to provide a provocative and intriguing album about the inordinate role that technology plays in the lives of many people. In addition to having a compelling theme for this brilliant concept album, Symphony X is also one of the most talented bands around. Each musician is one of the very best at their respective instrument and Iconoclast is full of mind-blowing technicality. In my opinion it is hands down the best album of 2011.
Of all the books that I read which were published in 2011 I enjoyed Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright the most. Although it is largely a summary of Wright’s other contributions on the Historical Jesus written for a broader audience, Simply Jesus also reflects the progress of Wright’s thought. It is additionally an incredibly practical book; integrating holistic concerns throughout. Essentially Wright seeks to explicate what the line ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ means in the Lord’s prayer. In Simply Jesus Wright offers a much needed vision of the Kingdom of God and one that has legs.
Favorite Sports Moment
My favorite sports moment for the year has undoubtedly been watching the San Francisco 49ers return to the winning tradition that life-longs fans such as myself had grown accustomed to in the 80s and 90s. This year the 49ers won the NFC West division title and are about take the 2nd spot in the NFC playoffs, which they have not played in since 2002. They’ve come a long way. Although I highly doubt they’ll make it to the Super Bowl this year (all roads lead through Lambeau), as a long time fan it is fantastic to see that the woes have ended.