This blog is maintained on behalf of the Amy Foundation for the purpose of tracking the best Christian journalism we find on the Web. Our posts regularly identify those news articles or opinions in the mainstream media that represent good faith-based writing and example them for other Christian journalists.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Qualifying article in Kansas City Star

Judging from the national response, Mother Teresa’s published letters have touched a sensitive spot in America’s personal faith. Here is another article on the topic of losing faith in difficult times, published in The Kansas City Star.

In an opinion titled, “What does it mean when believers doubt God in their lives,” Rev. Duke Tufty and Rev. Pat Rush deal with this difficult question. Tufty writes:

It means we are normal. At this stage of our spiritual evolvement, our faith in God often flees in the midst of troubled times.

We are students of life, not graduates of life. We are engaged in the process of becoming; we have not yet become. When Jesus cried out, “My Father, why hast thou abandoned me?” he doubted God in his life because he was in the process of becoming “The Christ” he had not yet become.
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It is a qualifying article and I am writing both men to encourage them to submit their opinion to the Amy Writing Awards.

Friday, November 23, 2007

No question on "A Crisis of Faith"

Here is another great story about “A Crisis of Faith” that qualifies for the Amy Writing Awards. The article was written by Meredith Heagney and published in The Columbus Dispatch, dealing with the silence of God in troubling times.

Heagney writes:

Laura Bradford lost her job and her identity along with it, and she turned to God for answers.

She asked God for his will and how she could carry it out.

She got nothing.

"It's like a big, black hole," she said. "What does God want from me?"

It wasn't that the Lancaster Catholic doubted God's existence, but the silence left her confused and lonely -- not feelings she associated with people who had faith.

"I have become more accustomed to not having the answers and just being with God where I'm at," she said.
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The personal introduction really grabbed the reader and pulled him/her into and through the story. Heagney dealt also fairly, broadly, and professionally with the difficult issue of loosing faith when God is silent, while using the life of Mother Teresa and others to reinforce her point: we should not give up when our feelings don’t match our faith.

This well written piece left me thankful that God hasn't been silent, only quiet, during my own difficulties.

Heagney deftly used scripture to tie her argument back to Jesus (i.e., "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). This is the type of article that keeps me blogging.

Meredith, great job. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Qualifying article on Drop-out Crisis in Michigan

I am from Michigan and partial to education topics since I work in K-12 education (educational technology). I found this opinion by Kimberly Sams-Smith in The Detroit News about how “Michigan must tackle dropout crisis.”

Sams-Smith writes:
As Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. continue to cut white-collar and factory jobs and start two-tier wage structures, one thing is crystal clear: High-paying factory jobs requiring only a high school diploma are ancient history. That is why concentrating on ways to increase Michigan's high school and, ultimately, college graduation rates is critical.

The results of a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University is the latest cause for alarm. The study, which analyzed U.S. Department of Education enrollment data from 2003-2006, identified 78 Michigan high schools as "dropout factories," where no more than 60 percent of students who enter as ninth-graders make it to 12th grade.

Johns Hopkins researcher Robert Balfanz says the harsh term dropout factory describes "a harsh and unfair situation, under-resourced and over-challenged high schools which educate primarily low income and minority students and year after year are unable to graduate the majority or near majority of students who enter the school."
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Later in the article she uses clearly identifiable scripture to reinforce her point that something must be done to curb the drop-out epidemic in Michigan high schools— “No wonder the Bible at Hosea 4:6 says: ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’”

Sams-Smith’s call to social action is strong and draws attention to a growing crisis, and her inclusion of scripture qualifies her article for the Amy Writing Awards.

Good job, Kimberly.

Monday, November 05, 2007

After a month-long hiatus of blogging on good Christian journalism, I came across Stanley Fish’s opinion in the New York Times blog, dated November 4, 2007 and titled, “Suffering, Evil and the Existence of God.”

Fish does an excellent job setting up a summarization, comparison, and contrasting articles of two, soon to be published books on the existence of God, a subject which has had great play recently. He frames his examination of the two opposing views—“one from theism to agnosticism, the other from atheism to theism”—with the following thoughts:

In Book 10 of Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” Adam asks the question so many of his descendants have asked: why should the lives of billions be blighted because of a sin he, not they, committed? (“Ah, why should all mankind / For one man’s fault… be condemned?”) He answers himself immediately: “But from me what can proceed, / But all corrupt, both Mind and Will depraved?” Adam’s Original Sin is like an inherited virus. Although those who are born with it are technically innocent of the crime – they did not eat of the forbidden tree – its effects rage in their blood and disorder their actions.

God, of course, could have restored them to spiritual health, but instead, Paul tells us in Romans, he “gave them over” to their “reprobate minds” and to the urging of their depraved wills. Because they are naturally “filled with all unrighteousness,” unrighteous deeds are what they will perform: “fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness . . . envy, murder . . . deceit, malignity.” “There is none righteous,” Paul declares, “no, not one.”

It follows, then (at least from these assumptions), that the presence of evil in the world cannot be traced back to God, who opened up the possibility of its emergence by granting his creatures free will but is not responsible for what they, in the person of their progenitor Adam, freely chose to do.
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Fish's lengthy analysis has all the great qualities of good journalism written from a Christian perspective and would qualify for the Amy Writing Awards except for one thing— it was published online and not in print.

I am going to email Stanley Fish and see if his thoughts were published in print and encourage him to consider doing so. I am also going to share his piece with the Amy Foundation Advisory Board as an example of why we need to determine a way to include digital media, like blogs, in the contest at some point in the near future.