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: Contrary to previous predictions, paper books are making a comeback. After an initial surge in e-books, growth in the market has stalled, while paperbacks (and audiobooks) have increased. There are still people like myself who prefer actual books as opposed to versions on a screen.
Having the option of an e-book is great. I have missionary friends who are able to take their entire library of books overseas without shipping or storage costs. That is certainly a benefit.
But in my situation, I would much rather pick up a printed book, flip through the pages, underline some thoughts, scribble notes in the margin, and remember “that one line on the bottom corner of the page.” Thankfully that is not going away anytime soon.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: I love the smell of fresh cut grass; it just screams summer. Well, apparently, it really is a scream—or at least the olfactory equivalent of a scream, according to Science. My friend Haley Dimarco wrote a wonderful piece — “This is What is Smells Like When Grass Cries“— about this scientific fact an deftly wove it into a lesson about what rejoicing in suffering looks and smells like.
“I wish I could be more like my lawn and give off my own spiritual version of cut grass every time I suffer,” writes DiMarco, pointing to Romans 5:3-5.
Thanks to Haley and Science for the reminder to give God glory in all things—even in our suffering.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), managing editor: When I heard The Insanity of God will be released Aug. 30 as a movie, I immediately decided to read the book. Although I can identify with author Nik Ripken’s childhood in rural Kentucky, his work as a missionary in Africa reaches far beyond anything I have ever known.
After several devastating years in Somaliland, Ripken and his wife set out to find believers throughout the world who have persevered through persecution, looking for practical wisdom for ministering in difficult situations.
In Russia and Eastern Europe, China and Southeast Asia and the Middle East, they find what they’re looking for and more. Ripken tells story after story of God working as He did in biblical times, transforming lives and growing His church under conditions most Americans cannot fathom.
“These believers have also taught me a whole new perspective on persecution,” Ripken writes. “For decades now, many concerned western believers have sought to rescue their spiritual brothers and sisters around the world who suffer because they choose to follow Jesus. Yet our pilgrimage among house churches in persecution convinced us that God may actually want to use them to save us from the often debilitating, and sometimes spiritually fatal, effects of our watered-down, powerless western faith.”
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: My favorite: Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, the latest book from Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm. Junger, who has spent the past decade or so reporting from war zones, tackles the issue of PTSD. His take: America’s contentious and fractured culture is harmful to returning veterans.
The home front, Junger writes. is very different from life in a platoon, where people from different backgrounds, beliefs, and convictions have to rely on each other in life and death situations.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: I’m not extremely active on social media, so the idea of taking a break from it all is not that hard for me. My kids on the other hand border on “over social media saturation.”
On vacation last week, my oldest daughter was snapchatting with her friend at 7 a.m. as to not break her “streak.” I explained to them that when I was a younger we didn’t even call our friends on vacation, because it would have been long distance and nobody had cell phones—the horror.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. I am pondering helping my kids take a digital detox. I found a good article, “Know When to Walk Away” by Tony Reinke. It encourages you to stop the cycle of “I am liked, therefore I am.”
Another resource I want to read is The Happiness Effect: How Social Media Is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost it comes out next year. Obviously social media is not going anywhere, so it really is just learning to find balance.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?