01 June 2006

Happy Birthday to Us

by Phil Johnson

During a lull in the space walk (which is spectacular and fascinating—but every now and then the Space Station travels through a region where we lose the TV signal), I was reminiscing through the past year's blogposts.

I decided to list my top ten most memorable events. Here they are, in descending order (because I don't know how to make .html's numbered-lists count down in reverse:

Top Ten Unforgettable Episodes in Year One of Pyromania:

  1. The Great Comic-book Apocalypse of 2005. This occurred, oddly enough, on the very same day I met Frank Turk for the first time. I made the post early in the morning, before meeting Frank for lunch, so he is in no way to blame. But it's a remarkable and ominous coincidence, I think, that two such fateful and far-reaching events occurred within 4 hours of each other.
  2. The Hamburger Helper Debate. A few people were piqued by a series of posts I did suggesting that total pacifism is inconsistent with Scripture. The more I tried to lighten the mood, the more "militant" some of my pacifist critics became. In one post, I pondered some rather far-fetched scenarios designed to show that lethal force against a terrorist like Osama bin Laden needn't automatically result in harm to innocent bystanders. If someone cornered the bad guy at Costco, for example, the judicious use of a frozen ground-beef chub could save untold numbers of innocent lives.
         Sadly, however, the very suggestion of a show of force in the aisles at Costco made some of our "peaceable" friends more angry than the notion of Osama running free and unmolested. The most notable response came from Joe Thorn, who seized the opportunity to question my manhood while appealing for a more "humble [and] thoughtful" attitude toward lost souls like Osama.
         My response, a desperate plea for a time out, made the fatal mistake of injecting another note of humor into a debate about one of the few dogmas certain forward-thinking evangelicals insist must be treated with a show of solemn reverence.
         Several commenters have said that was the funniest PyroPost ever. Others haven't stopped lambasting me for my unbridled cruelty.
         Two days later, I took a long break from blogging.
  3. Speaking of poking fun at stuff we're supposed to be serious about, this was my personal favorite of all last year's comic-book covers. The various Biblezine® parodies also rank up there.
  4. My week in London during the terrorist strike there was one of the most unforgettable weeks of my entire life. The posts from that week will make a great chapter in my biography someday. I'm willing to open negotiations for the movie rights here and now.
  5. The series on "The Fad-Driven Church" still frequently provokes comments. See this post and its immediate predecessors. These posts summed up as well as anything the central message of Blogyear One.
  6. My first-ever post and the comment-thread it generated turned out to be a harbinger and a microcosm of virtually everything that has been posted since. Notice that all the current members of TeamPyro except DJP made comments on day one of the blog, and a minor skirmish with the iMonk broke out.
  7. Speaking of TeamPyro, the shift to a team blog was sudden and not something I had contemplated long or planned out carefully, but I have never regretted it or second-guessed my choices about who should be on the team. I think the blog is better than ever, and every one of these guys has submitted several posts dealing with tough subjects in a much better way than I ever could.
  8. I tried hard to stay on the periphery of the Great Thanksgiving Blogwar, but once again, a comic-book cover did me in.
  9. This post summed up a year's worth of disagreements with the infamous iMonk.
  10. I really miss the Monday Menagerie series, and I'm going to do more of this kind of stuff when time permits, but one a week was too much.
        I did some research, for example, and found that the young woman in the picture at the right is Mary Ann Bevan, who suffered from a disease known as acromegaly, and gained a modicum of fame as an Edwardian side-show exhibit, billing herself as "The World's Ugliest Woman." Her story, oddly enough, isn't as sad as you might think. She seems to have had a happy life, a lovely and loving family, and a career that in Edwardian times wasn't deemed as demeaning as it would be today. I think she really was a home-school mom. The story of her life would've made a good "Monday Menagerie" post.
There's other good stuff I've forgotten, I'm sure. Sometimes I'll come across an old post while searching for something else and get caught up reading an old comment-thread. It's a great way to waste an hour.

Thanks to TeamPyro members; the homeschool moms; my mindless, high-fiving comment-cult; the nattering nabobs of negativism who post semi-regularly; the Blue Raja; and Adrian Warnock for helping make the blog what it is today. I'm interested in readers' thoughts about the blog so far. What do you remember, appreciate, or hate the most about the first year of PyroMania?

Talk amongst yourselves. Leave comments.

Phil's signature


SKH said...

The Pyro blogs (original and extra crispy) have rekindled many forgotten relationships by providing a common meeting place, not to mention the fact that you basically coined "blogspotting" for the entire blogosphere. Thanks for all the thought provoking fires you've started.

Matthew said...

I think the recent exchanges concerning a certain interview with a certain Anglican bishop did much to delineate many of the "dogs in the hunt" about some of the issues that surround him... always good blog fodder.

Kay said...

I did enjoy the sheer grotesque of Monday Menagerie. And regular blogspotting was like a mini-version of Phil's bookmarks, so obviously enjoyable.

It's nearly my blog-birthday too, and I was actually pushed over the edge by Pyromaniac. I wanted to leave a comment, and decided on the spot to get my own blog as well, rather than just register to comment.

I'm always amused that a post here that is well-balanced but forcefully argued will always elicit at least one comment that scolds the ignorance and judgementalism of it.

Most of all, I've really loved the feeling of being back at university, debating with those who differ with me, revelling in in-jokes with people whose sense of humour is similar to mine, and being introduced to ways of thinking I'd never even considered before.

Has it really only been a year?

Frank Martens said...

As far as I know, backwards ordered lists (the ol and li tags used for ordered lists) are not supported yet :(

Richard D said...

I loved the original Pryo blog and, once I got my bookmarks fixed, have thoroughly enjoyed the team blog. My only complaint is that there are not new posts every morning. I kind of liked it in the early days when Phil was obsessed. Although, it may have cut into his pastoral time just a bit. Thanks Phil & Co.

And happy birthday!

Kim said...

The thing I have enjoyed most about Pyromaniacs, is "meeting" others through the comments. I have added several of the commenters here to my blogroll.

I liked the Quick and Dirty Calvinism post a lot, too. That got me thinking.

But most of all, I have liked the fact that as a home school mother I have been welcomed here. We get teased a lot, but we know we're valuable here.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I sort of miss having a place to go where I know you will be posting provocative profundities every day.
I like everyone here at TeamPyro, and enjoy reading their personal blogs, but it's sort of like when Captain America joined the Avengers, I liked the Avengers comics, but loved Captain America comics.

Your blog inspired me to spew forth my unmatched ignorance in the blogosphere as well.

Greg Linscott said...

I've got to say that the post by Dwayne Phillips clarifying what his name was is my favorite Pyro post ever.

Carla Rolfe said...

It would take too much time this morning to list all the good things about this blog (and the original Pyro blog), so I'll just focus on one aspect that has had a pretty significant impact on me, personally.

As a result of this blog, I have "met" quite a few other like-minded bloggers and that's a real blessing.

Further, as a direct result of this blog I've met two people who have become dear friends. The one friend and I exchange emails quite often (okay every day, pretty much) and have had the opportunity to speak on the phone several times. In fact, just last night while we talked I boiled the pasta pot dry and burnt the pasta. It was awful! I have never in my life burnt pasta!! I digress...

We have a lot in common and we're also very different in many ways, but it's been like meeting a long lost sister that I didn't know I had. The other friend happens to be her husband, but we don't talk on the phone. :o)

So this blog has been responsible for the formation of friendships in my life that have been a great blessing to me over the last many months, and that I hope will be lifelong.

So for whatever the critics have to say, there has been and continues to be some true Christian fellowship taking place here, which has turned into some real cherished friendships.

It's a happy place, everyone smile now. :o) (Hold your head sideways and do that, while you proudly wear your TeamPyro gear - people will ask questions (or just assume you're insane) and it'll be a great opportunity to share your faith with them.

So thank you Phil, and thank you James, Frank, Brother Booyah (who gave you that silly name anyway??), and congrats to Pecadillo on his recent accomplishment which does not include contributing to this blog, but that's okay. Knowing a TeamPyro member is a well trained & dedicated bad-guy-catcher is rather comforting.


4given said...

I have nothing significant to add here. It has all been said way better than others, so I will just steal from them and say AMEN!!!

Libbie wrote: Most of all, I've really loved the feeling of being back at university, debating with those who differ with me, revelling in in-jokes with people whose sense of humour is similar to mine, and being introduced to ways of thinking I'd never even considered before.

Carla wrote: As a result of this blog, I have "met" quite a few other like-minded bloggers and that's a real blessing.

Kim wrote: The thing I have enjoyed most about Pyromaniacs, is "meeting" others through the comments. I have added several of the commenters here to my blogroll.

The above women are women I have come to respect for their unwaivering heart for Christ. It is here that I met these women and for that I thank you. THey have blessed my life. I also appreciate what I have learned here... I know I have often made a fool of myself. I like what Jeremy wrote: "Your blog inspired me to spew forth my unmatched ignorance in the blogosphere as well."
To that I say, I have by far surpassed you all in the spewing forth of unmatched ignorance.

Cindy Swanson said...

Wow...can't believe it's been a year, Phil! Congrats on your first anniversary. I'm sure TeamPyro will only continue to gain in excellence and influence.

Kay said...


(((group hug)))


Annette Harrison said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Pecadillo's "talent" contest and all the ensuing comments.

I've been blessed week after week by Spurgeon's (handpicked by Phil) inspiring thoughts.

But what has been for me the most consistently enjoyable part of TeamPyro has been the laugh-til-I-fall-off-my-chair, make-my-day, thought-provoking, and often convicting writings of Dan Phillips. There's just nobody who does it better than he does! When you added him to your team, Phil, you picked a jewel! I eagerly look forward to another year of whatever he sends our way!

marc said...


One thing that sticks out in my mind is that post when you kept slightly altering the pic and people kept commenting about inane things like Schmerdactyls. Over 100 comments about nothing. Good times, good times.

Even So... said...

I have appreciated...

The Absurdity and Audacity of Frank...

The Articulacy and Ability of Dan...

The Astuteness and Adroitness of James...

The Authority and Alacrity of Phil...

Through which I have made an...

Advancement in my faith, both by Articulation and Application...

Admiration and Approbation to you all...

Momo said...


(I just wanted to sneak that one in as a good ending to the comment above mine)

Kim said...


You crack me up!

LeeC said...

This blog has been a wonderful opportunity to get to Brothers and Sisters that I would have otherwise never met.

It has been a great testimony on how the Lord grows each of us at HIS own pace and enlightens us as He wills in a way that no amount of arguing by mere men can.

It has been wonderful seeing so many of the Brethren sharpening one another. It has been equally heartbreaking to see how quick we are to misconstrue one anothers words, and point fingers, but at the same thim that gives the one pointed to and the viewers a great opportunity to be gracious and humble while still not compromising our beliefs.

I thank the Lord for you guys, and how He is using you. Not to sound like a mindless hi-fiver.

Sharad Yadav said...

Happy Birthday fellas. If you decide to celebrate by whacking one another with meat chubs, put in a good smack from me.

LeeC said...

Oh yeah,
And its neat to know that I am not the only one still using the "Nattering nabobs of negativity" quote.

Bewildered Berean said...

I have enjoyed the insight of both the Spiritual Giants and the Mean Ogres. I am but a Dwarf, just trying to keep up with this fantasyland of fun. All kidding aside, I look forward to reading the insights and comments each and every day. Team Pyro Fan I am.

Neil said...

I like that happy smiley clown guy that posts sometimes.

JackW said...

I have enjoyed this blog very much and appreciate the effort behind it.

I have to say though, that you started with something that really got my intrest and had me coming back ... but you never finished. I like reading Henry Blackaby and you had a problem with his teaching but never seem to get to it ... unless I missed it.

Solameanie said...

I appreciate the blog because you indeed deal with serious subjects thoughtfully, but also mix in a little fun along with it.

It is amazing that we conservative evangelicals get made out to be such dour, forbidding people. I love a good laugh as much as I love a good biblical exposition.

Steve said...

From Day One I've always felt like PyroManiac(s) is my "home blog" and all the other blogs I visit are just "blogs out there." Maybe it has something to do with the fact I formerly attended Grace Community Church for 12 years and worked at GTY for nine. But I think there's more to it than that. I have yet to find another theologically oriented blog that 1) is as consistently thought-provoking and creative as this one, and 2) has anywhere near the sense of "community" this one does in terms of drawing together individuals who share a likeminded zeal toward a high view of God and His truth.

I've benefited greatly from the cumulative wisdom (and wit!) of TeamPyro, CH Spurgeon, and the regular commenters here. When it comes to opportunities to sharpen my theological thinking via dialogue, for me, nothing else comes even close to what I've gained from here. The posts on the Fad-Driven Church, the Emerging Church, NPP, cessationism, soteriology, etc. have all been valuable and practical. Quite a few times I've been able to use a morning's post later on that same day to encourage or instruct a fellow believer.

Phil, I'm glad you're rethinking Monday Menagerie even though I know they require a lot of your valuable time. Even a Monthly Menagerie is better than No Menagerie. My favorite MM, incidentally, was the one about the bonecrafting monks.

I also hope you do more blogspotting again.

To all the members of TeamPyro--"PapaPyro" Phil, Dwayne/David/Don/Darren, The Other Spurgeon, Brother Booyah the Shameless Retailer, and Officer Pecadillo--thanks for being as iron that sharpens iron. Keep fighting the good fight--frozen meat chubs and all.

FX Turk said...

I'm st-ll -ndign-nt over your c-ncerns about my t-ne in that p-st.

donsands said...

I have really appreciated all the fine studies in the Word. The humor and wit is always an uplifter. And so much more.

You're all doing a godly and fruitful labor for the Lord. And you all truly long to honor and glorify our God and our Savior Jesus Christ. It's a privlege to come here and be fed, and to comment. Thanks to you all from an edified brother in Christ.
Also so many of those who come here to comment are a genuine blessing to me as well.
Blessings and grace to you all.

Frank Martens said...

My Fav's...

1) Hamburger Helper
2) The Various Christ-zine mocu-postery pic's
3) Jeff Williams Updates

SoccerReformer said...

Phil - this blog really is a genuine ministry to people of Biblical faith. The medium facilitates it on a much greater scale, but it is simply a wider expression of the love you have for Biblical truth, and the considerable ability God has given you to proclaim it. It reminds me how much I miss your lessons in GraceLife.

In addition to that, I have really appreciated how you can interact with such weighty issues in an upbeat manner. It reflects a simple premise that life in Christ truly is to be enjoyed. I think when we depart from a motif of loving that life, there's usually something wrong. The positive, even fun, atmosphere in here is one of the great reasons for reading.

runninbill said...

Phil et al:

Your blog is great, a highlight of each day to read. Also, the TeamPyro gear I got for my birthday was cool!!


Bill Isley

David Cho said...

I am relatively new here, so the most memorable is my strange exchange with Centurion, which was doomed from the get-go.

Your artwork is the best I have seen in the entire blogging world.

Adrian Warnock said...

Hey congrats on the aniversary - doesnt time fly when you are having fun. Not quite sure what I have done to help make your blog what it is - you guys do a great job. Im just glad I get fewer commentators than you as I dont think I could keep up!

Bill Seubert said...

I'm with David on the artwork. You guys have a second career ahead of you as Photoshop instructors...


Matt Gumm said...

I still get about two hits a week from the blogwar.

Interestingly, though this is a dry blog, that doesn't prevent it from having the feel of some sort of meeting establishment (coffeehouse?). I never cease to be amazed at the folks I meet here--many of whom have become friends (if such a term can be applied to people you share your life with even though you've never met in person).

Phil, I appreciate both your your humor and your seriousness--and you're still a raging volcano in my book. The team you've assembled definitely fits Pyro 2.0.

(I was actually hoping for a chance to meet you this weekend, but I've been informed that your visit has been cancelled. Another time, perhaps.)

Kumar said...

You write, I'm willing to open negotiations for the movie rights here and now.

Consider the bidding started! I'll open the bidding with a wooden nickel.

marc said...

Do you suppose Adrian is truly glad he gets less comments than Pyro?

Darlene said...

Most days I am glad Phil started a blog.We now have very few boring days...well that has always been true!
I am thankful for the new friends we've made--and special thanks to you Pyro guys and your wives.

Steve said...

Darlene, your comment reminded me of two great PyroMoments from the past:

1) That night after the Cubs game when you and Phil were on your way to Missouri. Phil ended that
blogpoast with one of my all-time favorite closing lines from him:
And then she whacked me on the knee, right where my sunburn was the worst.

2) Your photo of the jets streaking across the sky on July 4 in London

TulipGirl said...

Happy Blogiversary!

*mush, mush*

Darlene said...

Steve, they were both lucky shots!

Hi to Becky and skh is right -- it's fun to meet here. Hi to Morgan also.And Mrs. Bone!

herewegoagain said...

I'm surprised The Late Great Cessation Debate didn't make the top ten! I enjoy reading the blog and, while I enjoy the posts of all the Pyro group members, I think you should talk John MacArthur into joining the blog team also!

candy said...

Even So: Alliteration Alert!!!

Interesting, entertaining, frustrating, thought-provoking, edifying, hilarious.

I liked the comic book covers, biblezine covers, and the slightly altering pics posted around Peccadillo's birthday that Marc mentioned. I totally like the Spurgeon posts.

I was frustrated with the cessationist/continuationist posts.

I enjoy the different personalities represented. I was a bit worried when it was announced that more guys would post, but it has been a blessing to read the various articles.

Sometimes the sarcasm has been funny and sometimes it has seemed a bit condescending.

Char said...

Though I don't have enough to say to post much, I have enjoyed the ride of discussion and controversy. Oh and the post with the comments about pterodactyl/schmerodactyls.


Brandon said...

I appreciated the Biblezine covers, and of course, the Spurgeon. I'm sure someone else has pointed this out, but it looks like the biker grandma Biblezine that Phil posted has actually made its way to press.

Phil Johnson said...

Brandon: Yeah, I can't keep up with them. They keep ripping off my parodies and publishing them for real.

We ought to sponsor a Biblezine® parody contest for the next free t-shirt.