My Top 7 Favorite People of 2016

The end of a year brings a certain sense of reflection.  I thought a fun way to end this year would be a list of my favorite people – those folks who’ve inspired, informed, and challenged me in 2016.  I’ll start with my list (today) and then in coming weeks give a short post for each person as to why he/she made my list. 

Before we get to this, let’s cover a few notes.

First, I think it’s important to note that I have personally met only one of these people.  So when I say “favorite” I don’t really mean that.  What I really mean is this is a list of people whose ideas and actions have impressed me.

Second, I don’t mean “impress” in the totally positive way some readers might assume.  I am not suggesting that I totally agree with any of these people or that you should totally agree with them.  Each one is on the list because they got me thinking, growing and maturing this year. 

Third, my list has mostly men.  I wasn’t trying to come up with a mostly-men list, but that’s the way it happened.  I’m sure there are plenty women whose ideas and actions are impressive, but I didn’t pay that much attention and I’m not one to add women to the list just to be politically correct or inclusive. 

Without further adieu, here’s my list of favorite people for 2016 (in no particular order):

Russell Moore – One of the few evangelical leaders who consistently lets his theology shape his politics and not vice versa. His stance on important cultural issues is impressive and so has been his strident and consistent opposition to Donald Trump.  He actually gives me hope for Southern Baptists. 

Leon Bridges – This singer/songwriter has a throwback soulful style reminiscent of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, but with a more authentic Christian voice.  Artists are at their best when they do more than entertain (but not less), and Bridges fits the bill. 

Tim Keller – Sometimes pastors and theologians engage in circular reasoning that leaves out the non-believer, but Keller’s description and even defense of the faith draws in fellow conversation partners.  Rarely will I describe a popular preacher as “intelligent,” but there’s no better word for Keller.

Donald Miller – I love most of Don Miller’s writing, but it’s been his training that’s made a big difference for me this year.  I took his online Storybrand workshop this year and it’s radically changed the way I approach marketing.

Tom Woods – I admit it: I lean strongly toward a libertarian approach to governmental, economic and civil matters.  I’ve just always felt the libertarian approach best matches a gospel-centered way of making your way in today’s diverse world, and Woods has helped me better connect my Christian faith and libertarian ideas. 

Barbara Fredrickson – I’ve been researching the field of positive psychology for over three years and Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory of how positive emotions serve us is really fascinating.  I took an online course with her earlier this year and just loved it. 

Jonathan Haidt – This guy is a moral psychologist who teaches at NYU (formerly University of Virginia) and he is asking all the right questions and coming up with really important answers to those questions.  That’s all I’ll say for now.

My plan is to offer a lengthier post on each of these people in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for that.  Also, I’d love to hear about your favorite people of 2016.  Who’s impressed you or at least got you thinking?