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, July 27, 2008

Qualifying Article in the Cincinnati Inquirer

Here is a tribute in the Cincinnati Inquirer written for Katie Reider, an up-and-coming Christian musician who recently passed away. “Katie Reider still connects,” was written by Lauren Bishop and appeared today, July 27, 2008.

Bishop writes:
Through it all - her career as a singer and songwriter; her life as a mother, partner, sister and daughter; and her two-year battle with a rare tumor that took away her vision in her left eye, her voice and ultimately her life - Katie Reider wanted to be three things: Real. Transparent. Vulnerable.

That was the message that Reider's longtime friend, Dan Stroeh, delivered Saturday to the 900 people who filled the lower level of Crossroads church in Oakley to remember her. The Montgomery native died July 14 in New Jersey at age 30.

By all accounts, Reider succeeded. Her realness, transparency and vulnerability shone through in the lyrics of her songs on four albums, but even more so when she performed those songs live. She had an extraordinary ability to connect with her audience, friends and family members say.
Read more>>
Bishop’s story is well written and connects with an audience beyond those who new Reider (I didn’t, but I was touched by the article).

The article is an excellent example of the type of stories we promote with the Amy Writing Awards, for which the article qualifies. Bishop smartly includes Reider’s favorite scripture verse by quoting Reider’s longtime friend, Dan Stroeh, who spoke at her memorial service:
Reider was tired, frustrated and sad in her last days, but she took solace in her favorite Bible verse, Joshua 1:9, Stroeh said. The verse, projected large on Crossroads' video screens, reads in part: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
I am going to write Bishop and congratulate on the article and remind her that entry in the Amy Writing Awards is free and writers are allowed to submit 10 articles/opinions per year with a deadline of 12/31/2008 for publication and 1/31/2009 for entry submission.

Keep up the good writing, Lauren!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Excellent Web Article on

A Google News search turned up the following article on USA Today's Blog (7/21/08), wrestling with the age old question of why God allows suffering. Michael Novak writes a personally persuasive opinion, entitled, “Reconciling evil with faith,” where he argues that shedding one’s belief in a loving God when faced with pervasive evil doesn’t make evil any less prevalent or faith any less relevant.

Novak writes:
The New Yorker (of all magazines) gave a good number of pages early last month to a quite brilliant book reviewer, James Wood, for a long essay on why he could no longer be a Christian. Stories like his are widespread. They usually cite the natural evils that too often crash upon humans — in China a stupefying earthquake, in Burma a cyclone, elsewhere tsunami, or tornado, disease, flood, or cruel slow-working famine. They then add the evils that humans inflict upon other humans.

Virtually every family in America has suffered from painful evils, often bitterly and almost overpoweringly so: A promising young nephew in a major university killed in an auto crash; a wife, husband, or sister wasted slowly and painfully by cancer or some other affliction — drug or alcohol addiction; the Alzheimer's disease of an unrecognizing spouse; nightmares from brutalities suffered under distant dictatorial regimes.
Novak’s piece is commanding because he takes time to set up his central argument by embracing the deep disappointment experienced by Jewish and Christian believers when confronted with tragedy. The mix of historic crimes and news making tragedies interlaced with personal decisions to leave one’s faith makes for a compelling storyline and thrusts the reader into the central argument of Novak’s opinion:
Would a conviction that our sufferings are meaningless, and due to blind chance, ease the pain of the poor and the unjustly tortured? Raging against the night seems to be an evasion of reality.
What’s more, Novak’s powerful opinion is clearly supported by scripture (“When Jesus said: ‘Ask and you shall receive,’ he did not mean you will get what you pray for, …”), which qualifies it for the Amy Writing Awards (thanks to the Foundation's new guidelines for accepting online publications).

I am going to recommend to Novak that he submit the article and I hope to see it in the later rounds of this year’s contest. His article renews my faith in Christianity’s light shining in the media’s often secular darkness. By far, his opinion is one the best I’ve found on the web this year.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Qualifying Article in the NY Times

Here is a qualifying article in the New York Times from July 6, 2008, entitled “Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection,” written by Ethan Bronner. The story explains how the discovery of a 36 inch tablet is challenging traditional views that the messianic story came from outside Judaism.

Bronner writes:
JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.
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I have to admit, I started reading the story to see if it would qualify for the Amy Writing Awards, but the quality of writing and the subject compelled me to read it twice before remembering why I was reading the story.

Then I found it, at the tail end of the piece, I found a paragraph referencing the Book of Daniel and quoting chapter 8, verse 25 (NIV):
To whom is the archangel speaking? The next line says “Sar hasarin,” or prince of princes. Since the Book of Daniel, one of the primary sources for the Gabriel text, speaks of Gabriel and of “a prince of princes,” Mr. Knohl contends that the stone’s writings are about the death of a leader of the Jews who will be resurrected in three days.
I was so encouraged to find the article qualified because it appealed to me as a reader and a believer. How important the discovery of the tablet is to uniting the Jewish and Christian faiths, time will tell, but without this article, readers wouldn't have the opportunity to contemplate the promising answer.