It is always surprising to find out what people are reading, and our blog is no different. So in keeping with the season, here is our list of Top Ten Posts from our Faith Media + Culture blog. As we look at them, they seem to reflect a time of change, uncertainty and global concerns that have been top of mind for many.
10. Malaria is No More. Say What? This post was my response to an article in the NY Times in which a representative of Malaria No More said the organization was about to close up shop because malaria was coming to an end. Hard to imagine such a proclamation when malaria takes the life of a child in Africa every 45 seconds. Subsequently, the staff of Malaria No More issued a statement saying the organization has never claimed “mission accomplished,” is not closing its doors and will only close after the goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa has been accomplished.
9. 10 Tips for Christians in Social Media. A few do’s and don’ts for Christian conduct online. My favorite is to remember the Golden Rule and avoid snarkiness! Lewis Carroll’s Snark caused people to disappear, much like mean spirited jabs can diminish a person.
8. Phantom Dreaming: The Schwinn Phantom. A short reminiscence of a love affair, with the bike of my life, and how we were reunited. Guess that was the start of my love for all things with wheels.
7. Poll on Global Citizenship Released. What an incredible year this has been and it is no surprise that one in five US adults has followed international news closely. Our poll uncovered some surprising facts. When asked where Americans turn when disasters happen, 52 percent tend to turn to U.S. and International Red Cross organizations first. Church and religious organizations were second (29 percent), indicating the important role faith-based institutions play in serving both local and global needs.
6. Why Somalia Matters. Drought, famine, dying children and conflict make for a volatile situation. For years after the end of the Cold War, Somalia was overlooked by world leaders and its corrupt regime ignored. Then it fell apart, and now it’s a global problem, a place where uneducated, heavily armed young men commit piracy on the high seas and terrorists train recruits to kill and terrorize. I believe that benevolence can lead to peace and stability. And faith can lead to hope and worth.
5. Open leaders have open meetings. Well, this was a doozy of a post, raising comments from all corners of the United Methodist world. I appreciate all of you who have written, called and commented – even those of you who took issue with my opinion. To those who disagreed with my comments, I am sorry for any offense. However, it’s the beauty of transparency and freedom of speech that allows for this vast array of agreement and dissension. May God continue to bless this cherished First Amendment value.
4. Country Song Packs A Hell Of A Punch. Country music has always told a kind of raw truth about our country, and Brad Paisley’s song “A Man Don’t Have to Die” is no exception. The song tells of the type of hell many are going through as the numbers of those living below the poverty line has reached all time highs.
3. Photos from the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Talk about the Great Recession and it conjures up images of the Great Depression. I have always been interested in the collection of images from the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information documentary photo project in the 1930s and into the early 40′s, and have gathered some of my favorites here.
2. Celebrating the Death of Osama bin Laden? Is it a Christian act to celebrate a death, even one so notorious? Here I discuss the ambivalence that many of us felt at bin Laden’s death. Since then we have had more to ponder with the death of Muammar Gaddafi.
1. Rob Bell and Hell. What’s all the fuss about? Yes, Rob Bell asked us to consider that there might be other pathways to comprehend God and that hell might be a state of being. But many of us have secretly asked the same questions and have endured our own personal hells. Theologians have been arguing these questions since the late 19th century, making Rob Bell just one more brave soul willing to ask questions. Since the publishing of his book, Rob Bell has left the famous Mars Hill Church he founded to pursue other interests, one of which is a television drama. Seems Bell never scored high grades in seminary preaching classes because he was always pursuing new ways of presenting ideas.
Well there you have it: a year of economic woes, international upheavals, provocative propositions about hell, social media manners, and a little love letter to Schwinn.
Join us in the coming months as we offer up our view of the world in 2012. But take heed, as Edward R. Murrow so eloquently commented,
“Perhaps we should warn you that there is one thing you won’t read, and that is a pat answer for the problems of life. We don’t pretend to make this a spiritual or psychological patent-medicine chest where one can come and get a pill of wisdom, to be swallowed like an aspirin, to banish the headaches of our times.”
But just maybe, we are comforted in our ability to ask questions together.