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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A funny Op Ed in the NY Times

I didn’t go looking for this article, it found me— “On a Ring and a Prayer,” New York Times, 11/25/08, written by Seth Freeman.

Freeman writes:

PLEASE listen carefully as this menu has changed.

For English press or say “One.” Para español oprima o diga “Dos.” For all other languages press or say “Three.”


Thank you for your interest in our service. If this is a true spiritual emergency, please hang up and dial the number on the upper left-hand corner of the mailing label of your last solicitation. Otherwise, please stay on the line and your prayers will be
answered in the order in which they were received.

All right, let’s get started. For prayers of repentance press or say “Two.” For prayers of supplication press or say “Three.” For prayers of forgiveness press or say “Four.” For prayers of serenity press or say “Five.” For all other prayers press or say “Six.”
Read more>>
This funny piece doesn’t qualify for the Amy Writing Awards because “... Vengeance is mine.” isn’t properly attributed to scripture (Romans 12:19 KJV), but it is a humorous piece. Given all the negativity that Op Ed pages printed over the past several months, pro- and anti-faith, this opinion is a pleasant surprise-- a spiritually-inspired note that makes readers laugh.

I'm just glad God doesn't use an answering service.

Thank you, Seth Freeman, for writing this.

Monday, November 24, 2008

God and Sex in the same article in the New York Times

Okay, I admit it: I wasn’t drawn to this article because I was looking for qualifying Amy Writing Award entries. With a title of “Pastor’s Advice for Better Marriage: More Sex,” it is not surprising that Gretel Kovach’s article topped today's “Most Popular” list on the New York Times website.

Kovach writes:
And on the seventh day, there was no rest for married couples. A week after the Rev. Ed Young challenged husbands and wives among his flock of 20,000 to strengthen their unions through Seven Days of Sex, his advice was — keep it going.

Mr. Young, an author, a television host and the pastor of the evangelical Fellowship Church, issued his call for a week of “congregational copulation” among married couples on Nov. 16, while pacing in front of a large bed. Sometimes he reclined on the paisley coverlet while flipping through a Bible, emphasizing his point that it is time for the church to put God back in the bed.

“Today we’re beginning this sexperiment, seven days of sex,” he said, with his characteristic mix of humor, showmanship and Scripture. “How to move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”
Kovach’s article is more than provocative; it deals with the real life struggle many marriages face— the lack of intimacy. The mainstream media typically portrays great sex as extra-material and separated from the friendship and shared faith a marriage can and should become. God intended when he designed marriage for our enjoyment (and his glory) and that is the message this article shares with the world.

The feature article in the “U.S.” section does include scripture (2/3rds of the way down and provided as a reference in support of the story’s protagonists, Rev. Ed Young and his wife), so it does qualify for the Amy Writing Awards.

I have to say its nice to read a pro-Christian news article about sex that is favorable to a pastor. That isn’t always the case.

Thank you, Gretel Kovach, for a sensational article. I hope to see it in the early rounds of the 2008 Amy Writing Awards. Please send in all your qualifying entries, and don’t delay. The postmark deadline is January 31, 2008— just 67 days away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Excellent Veteran's Day feature (that doesn't qualify)

Here is a very well-written article on two military chaplains that is a “must read,” and I don’t say that very often. The timely feature, published today, on Veteran’s Day, is written by Troy Moon in the Pensacola News Journal, entitled, “Faith in the face of war.”

Moon writes:
Two 50-something Episcopal priests at different St. John's churches in Rhode Island are sent to the Middle East to serve as military chaplains.

One serves as a Navy chaplain at a combat-support hospital in Kuwait. The other serves as an Army chaplain at military prisons in Iraq.

Less than three years after they're finished with their active-duty service, they end up at Episcopal churches in Pensacola, some six miles apart.

The Rev. C. Neal Goldsborough and the Rev. Jeffrey A. Jencks emerged from combat with similar perspectives: They firmly believe they have seen God — and his dark counterpart — on the blood-soaked battlefields and field hospitals of the Middle East.

It's Veterans Day, and the two priests say it's important that Americans remember that the sacrifice we ask of our young men and women overseas isn't just a physical sacrifice.
The piece is full of God’s grace and truth, but unfortunately, I don’t see where Moon included identifiable scripture. Had it, I am sure we would see this article in the later rounds of the Amy Writing Awards. I am going to write Moon and tell him “job well done” and see if he has other articles that do qualify for this year’s awards program.

Keep up the good work, Troy!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Qualifying Article from Red Bluff Daily News (CA)

Here is an well-written online article, entitled “God Talk: The cares of life,” written by Larry Jensen, published on The Red Bluff Daily News.

Jensen writes:
In this day and age you don't have to look long, or go very far to find the cares of life. The cares of this life can rise up and consume you very quickly. You can be going through life and everything is just going great and the next thing you know, you find yourself overwhelmed by all kinds of life's issues. The cares of this world can take on a lot of different forms. The economy, gas prices, the increase of day-to-day living, relationships, marriage, family, friends, health problems, cancer, flu, diabetes, migraines. The list can go on and on.

Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this world we will have tribulation [trials, distress, frustration], but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!" We will all face the issues of life. The question is what are you going to do when you're faced with a trial? If you're walking with God you can be of good cheer ­ Why? Because Jesus said that he has overcome the world! Jesus overcame the world when he hung on the cross and paid the price for our redemption.

As a Christian, it is very liberating to know that whatever is going on around you, no matter how intense or huge the issue is, we serve the God who created the heavens and earth and He is well able to take good care of us.
While this article is a little heavy on scripture (qualifying the article for the Amy Writing Awards), Jensen’s personal approach to drawing the reader in works for me. With all the crises in the world today, Jesus’ message is even more relevant, and Jensen does a good job sharing God’s truth and the importance of personal faith in troubling times.

Keep up the good work, Larry Jensen!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Article deals with current events and avoids getting political ...

Pastor Steve DeYoung, in a Contra Costa Times article entitled “A good time to put faith in God,” writes:

The election season is upon us, with much at stake concerning the direction of our country. The moral fiber of our country seems to be crumbling, the economy is worse than it's been in many years, and few seem to be confident about the future. Democrats and Republicans alike feel the only hope is if their party wins.

But is there more at stake than just the election of a president or the passing of a few propositions? I believe there is more going on than meets the eye!

The Bible says in Hebrews 12:26-27: "At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, `Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."' The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken - that is; created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

It’ is a short article, by Amy Writing Award definition, but I appreciate how DeYoung draws in the reader using current events and deftly applies scripture to the worry and concern caused by the recent financial turmoil. It includes identifiable scripture, so it qualifies.

I’ll write DeYoung and let him know.

Keep writing, Steve!