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: Understanding how our Christian faith impacts politics can be a difficult task, but it is an extremely important one in our current climate. That’s why I’m grateful for resources like Bruce Ashford’s and Chris Pappalardo’s One Nation Under God.
The two authors open their book by examining a Christian perspective on political engagement. It’s vital to establish a foundation before moving into all the specific questions everyone has. In order to truly know how to answer the questions and address particular topics, you have to understand what the Bible says about government and our responsibilities as citizens. Building off that foundation, One Nation Under God does move to tackle issues like marriage, abortion, immigration, and race relations.
Every Christian citizen would benefit from the perspective offered by Ashford and Pappalardo in this work, releasing December 1.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: My favorite thing this week is the new album from Andrew Peterson: The Burning Edge of Dawn. I’ve been listening to it for a couple of weeks now, and I absolutely love it.
This album gives listeners a beautiful picture of hope, something we definitely need to be reminded of in today’s climate. I especially love this verse from the first track on the album:
I’ve been waiting for some peace
To come raining out of the heavens on these war-torn fields
All creation is aching for the sons of God to be revealed
Oh, I believe, I believe that the victory is sealed
The serpent struck but it was crushed beneath His heel
Peterson is know for weaving a tapestry of words and pointing to the glory of God. He definitely accomplishes that in this album. I’m so thankful for artists and songwriters with Peterson’s talent and thoughtfulness.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: “‘Absolute futility,’ says the Teacher. ‘Absolute futility. Everything is futile.’” So opens the book of Ecclesiastes. Sounds rather depressing. And yet, I happen to really enjoy reading the book. I find it realistic, insightful, and unintentionally humorous rather than depressing.
Solomon voices what a lot of us sense sometimes—everything is futile! I find his honesty refreshing. What he says has added credibility in light of the fact he experienced/owned pretty much everything this world has to offer. And if the world couldn’t satisfy him, it won’t satisfy us either. Ecclesiastes drives home that message.
I say it’s not a depressing book because we know that while life “under the sun” can feel meaningless, life lived above the sun—life lived with a heavenly perspective—is full of meaning and purpose and hope.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: High school physics left me puzzled by pith balls, confused by terminal velocity, and baffled by the trajectory of ducks flying north against an easterly wind.
That must be why I’m so impressed with the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. These high school students are light years ahead of me, explaining tough scientific concepts in a way even I can understand.
The winner, Ryan Chester, makes sense of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Other finalists explain quantum tunneling, the nature of light, the science of fireworks, and other topics that would have made my head explode in high school. Some of the finalists leap into biology and math. Some tackle topics I didn’t even know existed. Oncolytic virotherapy, anyone?
Their videos give a fascinating look at the complexity of the universe — and an introduction to some incredibly talented teens.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: I’ve always had a soft spot for Picasso. I remember when I was in middle school coming to Nashville for a masters exhibit with a real “Picasso on tour.”
It was behind a security fence and a buzzer would go off every time someone got too close. As an artist, it’s hard to imagine your artwork ever being so treasured. I’ve seen several Picasso’s since and it still makes your heart skip a beat.
Now the flip side of that is, I have rarely been to an art exhibit where somebody doesn’t say, “I could have done that.” I like to remind them, “but you didn’t, they did.” It is harder than it looks to create.
My favorite this week is a list of quotes from Picasso that remind us to not replicate the world, but reimagine it. Whether you like his style or not, few could argue he was a pioneer who ushered in a new way of looking at the world.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?