One thing I have discovered this past year as a blogger: If you want to write, you have to read what other people are writing. No writing happens in a vacuum. We as writers need inspiration, and much of that comes from the inspired voices around us. So, to put a button on the year, I want to take a moment and recognize some of those voices. Here’s hoping they will inspire you too!
The “Embrace the Grace” award
As Christians, we must remember the need to constantly replenish our souls. The world God has given us is wastefully overflowing in beauty, but our part is to stop and drink it in. Scripture exhorts us to spend our mental energy reflecting on all of it (contrary to the prevailing trend in our society of meditating on things wrong with the world that make us angry). So the “Embrace the Grace” award goes to Esther Owen for a beautiful example of doing just that.
Drenched in the Chase — by Esther Owen
“Eternity is soaked in moments like these. Saturated with wonder. Lost in a moment so humble in its simple hopefulness. Sometimes whimsy takes practice, but don’t hesitate. Always embrace the chase.”
The “Eye Opener” award (two-way tie)
As a Presbyterian growing up in California, you hear these vague, distant rumors— places where Christian faith is being carried to absurd legalistic extremes— but they’re easy to dismiss. So much of the extreme stuff we hear about is really just media hype (witness the breathless reporting of “outrage” over the Starbucks cups or the lipstick names).
Unfortunately, some of the rumors are true. So my “Eye Opener” awards go to two posts from Amy Buckley and April Kelsey— actual human beings I respect that made me stop in my tracks and say, “Wait a minute… this is seriously a thing?!”
Never Worth Less — by Amy R. Buckley
“All I knew was women could lead women and children, but never men. But I couldn’t understand why it was honorable for a man who lacked musical abilities to lead worship. And I wondered why on earth God would be offended by the worship of a woman with musical gifting, simply because she used that gift in front of men.”
Silver Dress: My Experience With Evangelical Purity Culture — by April Kelsey
“Would my parents approve of this dress? Was the neckline too low? Were my shoulders too bare? My body was constantly sexualized and strictly policed. All I really wanted was some safe affection. But in purity culture, there was either no touch or sexual touch. And I couldn’t live without touch.”
The “Faith in Motion” award (two-way tie)
If it’s to be of any value, faith needs to be practical. We use it to make the world a better place. We apply it to our own lives to live more abundantly. Writing can help us do that: the type of article you want to post on someone else’s Facebook wall. Here were two articles this year, by Mo Morrison and Julia Powers, where I did just that.
Feed my Sheep — by Mo Morrison
“Something powerful occurs when you’re talking to someone who’s standing on the other side of what you’re pressing through. God wastes nothing. As we overcome, we can BE a blessing.”
By Prayer and Petition — by Julia Powers
“So, strange as it sounds, a petition emerged saying something like this: ‘I’m stressed. I propose a change in my commitment to self-care and pursuit of social support.’ It was a slightly awkward seeking signatures— anyone from my therapist to my pastor to the college classmate who lent a listening ear.”
(P.S. Julia gets extra credit, because I stole the “Best of 2015 Blog Post” idea from her.)
The “Couldn’t Do It Withoutcha” award
How my brain works: I can remember the words of scripture. I can’t for the life of me remember the chapter and verse. When I write, scriptural accuracy is vital to me: there are so many supposedly Biblical claims that are not actually in the Bible. In this blog, every quote from scripture is verified on, and linked to, the source at Bible Gateway. That way:
- I know I’m quoting scripture correctly
- Readers with questions can verify the verse themselves, read the full context, and see if they agree with my take
Finally, thanks to those of you who took time out from your busy lives to read One For Jesus. Just since I started keeping track in August, over 2700 unique visitors have been here. I hope some of your lives have been touched by what you read.
So, to all those recognized and many others, thanks for all the ways that you contributed to my life. You are truly the ones who make this blog possible. Wishing you all the best, and many blessings to each of you in 2016!