What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Being an unabashed nerd for all things C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, I was ecstatic to hear Harper Collins is publishing a previously unreleased and unfinished manuscript from Tolkien.
The Lord of the Rings author began The Story of Kullervo as a student at Oxford. It became, according to him, “the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own.” These legends would eventually give way to the entire history of Middle Earth, which includes The Hobbit and Ring trilogy.
As a writer, however, the recent high profile, sometimes controversial, release of early drafts from famous authors worries me. Not that I assume I will one day write something as seminal as Tolkien or Harper Lee, but there is something to letting early drafts stay just that—drafts.
As Christians, we should know the feeling of being a work in progress and longing for the day when we will be finished and perfected. If, however, we can read these early works knowing their author was not truly finished with them yet—much like our Creator and us—we should be able to enjoy them as part of the journey.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: I’m a big proponent for continual learning. Since my visit to Italy and likely return next year, I’ve been trying to become more proficient in my use of Italian. My favorite this week is Duolingo, an app for learning languages.
I downloaded the app last fall and began learning basic words and phrases. The free app provides lessons to build a user’s vocabulary and to help understand grammar. It even tests you on your pronunciation. Users earn points for correct answers and move up levels as you master different sections. It’s quite fun.
I also like that there are no ads. So, if you’re looking to learn a new language or brush up on those high school French classes (users can choose from 13 languages), I highly recommend Duolingo.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: On August 1, 2014, I ordered the Bibliotheca biblical library through a Kickstarter campaign. I was not alone. The campaign has 14,884 backers, pledging a total of $1,440,345.
Here’s a description of the books from their website: “Bibliotheca is the entire biblical library separated into volumes and designed purely for reading. The text is reverently treated in classic typographic style, free of all added conventions such as chapter numbers, verse numbers, section headers, cross references and notes.”
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: My dad lives in rural western Kentucky, where city lights don’t obscure the grandeur of the night sky. With his backyard telescope and star charts, we can get naked-eye views of celestial wonders from the pockmarked moon to the distant Pleiades.
But his amateur tools can’t capture anything as majestic as the images we see on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. This month we’ve seen the Perseid meteor shower, a glimpse of galaxies beyond our own, and a view of the dark side of the moon, photographed by the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft. Another recent favorite showed rainbows and rays over Bryce Canyon, a national park I visited this spring.
Observing God’s handiwork, I share the humility of the psalmist: “When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: I like stats and charts since I create a lot of them at work. I came across this one the other day, and maybe it stood out because I’m going camping this weekend—what you really are most likely to die from at National Parks.
It is a fact, drownings happen all the time and are not unusual. It’s funny as humans we are scared of sharks, bears, etc., but they are not likely to hurt us. We are fearful of the wrong things.
Satan will attack you every day, not a bear. We should fear our sinful nature and falling into Satan’s schemes. We should fear a life without a relationship with Christ. We should love God and place our hope in Him.
My favorite this week is Romans 8:31-39, because we have a Savior who loves us and died for our sins. Nothing can separate us from His love. We don’t have to be afraid of death.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?