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.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interesting Anomoly …

Here a fiery anti-Christian faith rebuttal (agnostic leaning, I must say) that qualifies for the Amy Writing Awards because the author cites Biblical scripture while refuting a recent submission of a local Christian pastor.

Perry Mann of Hinton, WV, wrote the “MANN TALK: Evangelical Faith Is Full of Implausible Assumptions” on the website:
Pastor: “By the way, Jesus wasn’t railing against public prayer, because He prayed in public.”

Response: What would a preacher do if he had to pray in a closet and not in the church or on the corners of streets or everywhere else where the people could see and hear? It’s no wonder that the pastor has contrived a Jesuitical interpretation of Christ’s admonition in Matthew 6:6. How could Jesus have been more emphatic: “But thou when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
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What’s more, Mann quotes the King James Version. You don’t see that every day, even from pro-Christian faith authors. For Christian writers everywhere, you have to take this as encouragement that you too can include scripture passages in your mainstream media writing and still get published!

While I disagree with Mann's assertions, I should thank, Perry Mann, for keeping God’s word in print.

Heartbreaking story … literally and figuratively

These types of stories break my heart, not only because of the tale of apparent misguided justice, but because articles like “My Visit With Troy Davis, a Man Facing Death on October 27th,” which I found in on the website, would be an exceptional Amy Writing Award entry if it only cited identifiable scripture.

American Observer Writer Federica Valabrega’s clearly shares the faith of one Troy Davis, who recently received a stay of execution in Georgia. Valabrega writes:

I met Davis inside the walls of the prison for the first time, when, after a two-month correspondence, I decided to fly to Jackson to talk to him in person. I wanted to know for myself how someone could sleep at night, knowing that death might soon be whispering in his ears for a crime he says he did not commit.

The answer was more powerful than I had expected.

"My faith has taught me that if you give all your worries to God he will carry your burdens," Davis wrote in a letter to me sent the day after my visit. "It's God that carried me through death's valley and took my worries away."For Davis, faith is the door to freedom. Having faith makes you stronger than your family and able to support them more than they are supporting you, he said, because they are the ones who will be left behind once you are gone and you have to show them you are not afraid to die.
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The personal nature of the piece is profound and clearly moves the reader. The rare, but real tragedies of our justice system raises my awareness of Paul’s admonitions: “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives” (I Timothy 2:1-2) and “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).

Sadly, I could not find where Valabrega cited identifiable scripture as she so deftly pleads Troy Davis’ case. Still, her writing had its impact, at least on me. I prayed for Davis and his case today and commit to doing so through his next scheduled date with execution, Oct. 27, 2008. It is reassuring that Davis is relying on the comfort of Christ Jesus as he faces his own death for a third time, knowing his eternal judgement is forever stayed and unconditional acceptance awaits him in the arms of his Savior.

Thank you, Federica, for reminding us to be vigilant for misguided justice and to pray for those behind prison walls, whether wrongly convicted or not.

"Pro anti-Atheism," if there is such a thing ...

Once again, I’m trolling the internet, looking for signs of intelligent Christian commentary that is not related to the election, and I came across this online publication of a local pastor’s take on “Is Atheism a religion of faith?

Pastor Mondo Gonzales writes about this provocative topic in the New Lenox Patriot:

"The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God.'" Psalm 14:1

I think it is very important when having a dialogue not to resort to name calling or ad
hominem attacks. These are neither helpful nor kind in presenting an argument, but I want to share in this column why I think God has said this in His Word about those who reject His existence. First, I think it's important to define a couple of words. What is the definition of "religion" and "faith?"
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Starting out by labeling atheists “the fool” probably isn’t the most sensitive, reader-friendly approach to engaging in meaningful dialog, but the provocative nature of the article will draw attention. After reading several pro-atheist / agnostic articles, it’s on par with the "give what you get" genre.

I found the personal nature of Gonzales’ opinion more effective. The mid-section breaks off from the affront on atheism to explain how 1) Gonzales himself moved from atheism to his Christian faith and 2) how he reconciles evidence of natural selection with his views of "Young Earth" creationism.

That’s why I am recognizing Gonzales’ article as a qualifying entry in this year’s Amy Writing Awards. With two identifiable quotations of scripture, this opinion qualifies, and it may place strongly with the judges— I cannot say. But I like Gonzales use of personal experience to substantiate his position. Critics may argue with his take on science and atheism (they do, just read the reader comments), but they cannot argue with Gonzales’ personal experience as a basis for his choice to choose the God of the Bible over no god at all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 delivers ...

With the online news outlets are clogged with political stories about faith and politics, it was refreshing to find a qualifying Amy Writing Awards article on, my haven from the election year storm.

Here is a very engaging article, titled "Bama's Smith humble, hungry and a maestro," about starting University of Alabama junior offensive tackle Andre Smith, written by Chris Low. Low starts his article strong:

They are the four words Alabama junior offensive tackle Andre Smith lives his life by: Pride comes before destruction.

Smith knows exactly where to find them in his Bible -- Proverbs 16:18. But he's been hearing them since he was a little boy from his mother, Nesa.

Andre Smith is a force to be reckoned with along the Alabama offensive line. "My mom always said, 'Don't let your mouth praise you. Let somebody else praise you,'" Smith said. "Being boastful and saying you're going to do this and do that in an arrogant way always ends up blowing up in your face.
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As you read the article, football and Smith’s NFL prospects take precedent, but this sure-to-be draft pick’s faith shines through. I’m going email Low and tell him I appreciated the faith perspective of the story, and let him know that his article qualifies for the Amy Writing Award.