Here are this year's most popular bloggers and posts from our site. Thanks for reading.
The Century invites readers to submit first-person narratives on the topics wilderness and storm.
My friend in Germany called the night after the election. He was upset.
In the latest issue of the Century, I profiled a family awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and its extension to DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). On Thursday, the Supreme Court voted in a 4-4 tie, which means that the case reverts to the lower court ruling, against the program.
The first gathering of the Associated Church Press was held in St. Louis in 1916. Last week the ACP returned there to celebrate its 100th anniversary, gather a fine bunch of religion journalists, and hand out awards for work published in 2015. I accepted two first-place awards of behalf of the Century staff: best in class for national and international magazines and best in class for blogs.
The first time it struck me, I was reading Henri Nouwen’s Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. “It seems fair to say that between the ages of one and thirty, people are considered young; between thirty and sixty, they are considered middle aged,” Nouwen writes. I was 29 and a little terrified.
In the latest issue of the Century, Philip Jenkins writes about how the veneration of Mary cuts across religious difference in Egypt. Egypt was the place where Mary first lit up the imaginations of Christians, but apparently her appeal is not limited by culture or religious heritage. Lately I’ve come across a couple of enchanting books that illuminate this for me.
I was raised in an ecumenical church community affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. When I later joined a Mennonite church, where many members were not raised with the church calendar, I became a bit of an Advent purist. Maybe a lot of one.
Like many others, I have lived the last few weeks from one devastating news event to the next, aching for the people lost and left hurting from mass shootings, trying to imagine myself into the shoes of refugees and those caught in the Syrian War, letting the pain of Paris, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, and the U.S. presidential campaign compound my sense of the world’s terrors, wondering if I can do something to stop the madness. But while these thoughts have been in my head, I encountered, or re-encountered, a powerful song.
A few years ago, I spent some time in Williston, North Dakota, to witness the social effects of the oil boom on this small town. While I was there, I went to Concordia Lutheran Church and talked with then-pastor Jay Reinke about his Overnighters program. This was an attempt by Reinke—we can’t quite say it was an attempt by the church—to provide a space where people could sleep. In Williston, I learned that Jesse Moss was working on a documentary about the program. Recently I finally watched that award-winning film, The Overnighters. I have been haunted by it ever since.
The BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement against Israel, which has gained some traction in mainline denominations, raises hotly contested questions. (See, for example, my article “Boycotting the boycott” and the responses to it.) A particularly salient one: Do ordinary Palestinians support BDS? Do Palestinians in the occupied territory want more separation from Israel or more integration with it?
For no reason I can remember, I put the ’90s classic Four Weddings and a Funeral on my Netflix queue and re-watched it recently. The scene etched in my mind all these years was that of the funeral. John Hannah, with his beautiful Scottish accent, reads “Funeral Blues” by W. H. Auden. What the clip leaves off is the funeral officiant, presumably an Anglican priest, introducing the beloved partner of the man in the coffin as “his closest friend.”
Ranting about the assumptions people make about only children has been a part of my life since before I knew what the word assumption meant. After reading yet another comment that was likely intended to be lighthearted—but that implied that we only children are spoiled and always get our way—I thought it was time to turn this rant into a reflection.