We’ve had a couple of difficult weeks here in the United States. Two weekends ago, white supremacy and domestic terrorism publicly reared their sinful heads in Virginia. (Too bad it took the specter of Tiki torch-bearing men shouting racist slogans and the murder of civil rights advocate Heather Heyer to shake so many people out of privileged complacency and denial.) Less than a week later and halfway around the world, terrorists once again used a vehicle as a weapon, as they launched an attack that killed 15 people in Barcelona, Spain. Meanwhile, tensions with North Korea are at a boiling point as the United States and South Korea begin joint military exercises. Regular as the annual training activities may be, they certainly come at a difficult time.
It’s not always easy to hold onto hope these days. But sprinkled amidst depressing, anger-inducing news stories are counter-narratives of inspiration and resilience. There’s the German city that subverts an annual neo-Nazi parade through town by donating 10 euros per meter marched to EXIT Deuthschland, an organization that helps people leave right-wing extremist groups. There are the stories of human courage that inevitably emerge in the aftermath of each and every terrorist attack. And there is Neil deGrasse Tyson’s important reminder that nature’s cosmic events can unify a divided nation. Time will tell how long the unity can last.
Looking back on the third year of Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry, I see that the publication has reflected the ups-and-downs of our topsy-turvy world. What follows are the 16 most popular pieces published in Bearings between September 2016 and June 2017. The compilation is comprised of the blog posts that garnered the most website views, were seen the most often on social media, and/or provoked the greatest amount of reader engagement.
In reviewing the pieces, you’ll probably notice that they address many of the most pressing political, social, and spiritual questions of our day. And you’ll understand why Elizabeth Drescher and I feel so privileged to work with each and every Bearings contributor. Fourteen new writers lent their voices to the publication this past year. They helped Bearings once again win two DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards of Excellence from the Religion Communicators Council—one for blog as a whole, and the other for the series “Faith, Love, and Resistance: Progressive Christian Political Engagement Before and After the 2016 Election.”
On a weekly basis, Bearings contributors produce insightful pieces that are gratifying, thought-provoking, and sometimes even challenging. If you need proof, check out the entire catalog of posts. For the upcoming publication year, we’re going to change things up a bit in terms of the publication’s format—Elizabeth and I will reveal more in September—but one thing will stay the same: Our writers will continue to provide the excellent content that you’ve come to expect.
We look forward to introducing the fourth season of Bearings in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this literary retrospective, which is rich and deep, full of shadows and light. And fear not: no special eye wear is needed. See you soon.
(For more information about each piece, mouse over its image to access summary comments.)