The readers had their say in choosing our most popular posts this year, but here are the favorite stories of the Facts & Trends team in 2018.
10. Stop Tweeting Only Bible Verses
If you only share Bible verses or inspirational sayings, you could be giving someone a false impression of what it means to be a Christian. The highly selective image you present on social media can cause others to think that to follow Christ means you have to drop your personality at the door.
Not only that, they may assume that being a Christian is only for those who have it all together. They see the shiny, Instagram ready life with a carefully placed open Bible beside the perfect cup of coffee.
9. Jesus and Joysticks: Why the Church Should Stop Making Fun of Video Gamers
Are video games an aspect of culture from which Christians should refrain? Are they irredeemable like pornography, or are they more like movies and other forms of entertainment that can become objectionable in certain circumstances?
If they are the former, they deserve a more serious response than snarky dismissals and jokes. If they are the latter—and that seems to be the case—they deserve a better response than clichés and stereotypes.
8. How the Forgotten History of Sunday School Can Point the Way Forward
Robert Raikes was like a lot of cause-oriented millennial evangelicals. As a writer, he stuck to impartial reporting instead of sensational “fake news.” He fought against inhumane prison conditions and founded a program to educate underprivileged children.
But Raikes wasn’t a millennial. He was born in 1736, not 1986.
He was, however, part of a generation of Christians who sought to live out their faith in the public square for the good of others. And part of those efforts included the founding of Sunday school.
7. Opioid Crisis Hits Home
Johnny Morelock isn’t sure when he first started drinking. He might have been 12 or 13.
He spent 30 years lost in a haze of booze, heroin, and prescription painkillers. Along the way he left a couple of ruined marriages and a string of broken family relationships.
By 43, Morelock was ready to die. His wife had left with the kids, and life was falling apart again.
“Give me three days and we won’t none of us have to worry any more,” he told his mom when she checked in on him.
6. Rooted: How a New York City Church Loves Its Community With the Whole Gospel
As a kid, Rich Perez shuffled down the sidewalks in Washington Heights past the bodegas and the cars blaring merengue music. Now, he and his wife watch their son do the same.
Much like the church he pastors, he is firmly planted in this New York City neighborhood.
For Perez and Christ Crucified Fellowship, that’s the only way they can reach the community and show their neighbors the love of Christ.
“You have to have a level of rootedness if you are going to have any impact on your community,” he says.
5. The Incarnation Began Before Christmas
When Christians talk about the incarnation, they’re referring to the act when God the Son took on a human nature. This didn’t first happen on the day we celebrate Christ’s birth.
God didn’t enter into humanity on Christmas morning as a newborn baby. He entered it nine months earlier inside of Mary’s womb.
4. Don’t Ask Moms to Stand in Church This Sunday
“If you’re struggling to get pregnant, wave your hand in the air so everyone can see,” the pastor announced to the crowd.
This wasn’t what the pastor actually said, but it might as well have been, Ashley thought when her pastor asked all mothers in the congregation to stand and be recognized in honor of Mother’s Day.
As a wife dealing with infertility, Ashley felt ostracized. Forced to sit while others stood, she felt singled out and humiliated.
Mother’s Day at church was a difficult time for Ashley—and she wasn’t alone.
3. 9 Ways to Make Social Media More Christian
I’m no expert on social media (or etiquette), but as a heavy user for years, I’ve observed countless examples of good manners and bad—from both others and myself. Over time, I have begun to develop some of my own rules of conduct and principles of politeness.
2. How to Lose a Pastor in 10 Years
I don’t want us to lose any more pastors. I don’t suggest we can prevent every pastor from his own demise. But I do believe we can help them in ways we might not even know we’re currently hindering.
1. When the Downcast Can’t Reach Our Hymns
Life is not always about rejoicing … it is often about lamenting as well.
And yet, when we come together to sing songs about the greatness of our God and His role in our everyday lives, we rarely sing songs of lament. We lift up lyrics and melodies that soar to the steepest heights of joy and heavenly elation … and unfortunately, our lyrics often soar so high that someone who is drowning on the ocean floor of their personal despair can’t reach them.
What was your favorite story at Facts & Trends this year?