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.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Everything, but …

Here is an article on that has everything an award-winning Amy Writing Award entry needs, except one thing. Written by Kyle Whelliston, the well written column is titled, “Coaches lose shoes for a good cause,” and tells the story about what happened when Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) coach Ron Hunter coached a basketball game last year in his bare feet last year to raise awareness for the charity Samaritan's Feet.

Whelliston writes:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ron Hunter sat in his office Wednesday afternoon, staring into his inbox on a blinking computer screen. As has been the case for the past year, most of the messages were about shoes.

"I can't keep up with all of these," said the IUPUI head coach enthusiastically. "We've had 80,000 pairs donated just today. And here's one from a guy in South Carolina who coaches seventh graders … all the coaches in his league are going shoeless this weekend. Isn't that great?"

One Thursday evening in January 2008, at the request of Samaritan's Feet, Hunter spent a game walking the sidelines without shoes or socks to raise awareness for a charity which collects shoes for impoverished children around the world. It was a simple act, intended to generate 40,000 pairs of sneakers for African children to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's death.
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That’s is what I love about God. He rewards humility and sacrifice, now, when Jesus walked in bare feet, and every time in between. Remember the story about the fishermen who fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus suggested they cast their nets one more time. The Bible says, “… they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” (Luke 5:6 NIV).

There is so much imagery in Whelliston’s story with tie-ins to the story in Luke, but no direct link. Enough good gym shoes to fill a fleet of fishing boats, but no direct Jesus. I wish it did. If it did, I know we’d be reading this story in the later rounds of the 2010 Amy Writing Awards, but without identifiable scripture, it doesn’t qualify and I am left a little short.

But don’t let my disappointment that detract from reading this excellent story. God and good deeds jump off the webpage, just from between the lines. Perhaps it's another causality of the web editor's pen. (I know, sometimes I need one.)

Whatever, read this article. Good job, Kyle!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

First article of the New Year …

Comes with a bang and I found it in the “Most Popular” section of the website. The article, entitled, “Who Would Jesus Smack Down?,” written by Molly Worthen is about Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington.

(I must point out that this is not “the” Mars Hill Church, which I attend virtually through Pastor Rob Bell’s podcasts and audio books. The Mars Hill Church is in Grandville, Michigan, although you can download Mark Driscoll’s podcasts from iTunes U too.)

Worthen writes:
Mark Driscoll’s sermons are mostly too racy to post on GodTube, the evangelical Christian “family friendly” video-posting Web site. With titles like “Biblical Oral Sex” and “Pleasuring Your Spouse,” his clips do not stand a chance against the site’s content filters. No matter: YouTube is where Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, would rather be. Unsuspecting sinners who type in popular keywords may suddenly find themselves face to face with a husky-voiced preacher in a black skateboarder’s jacket and skull T-shirt. An “Under 17 Requires Adult Permission” warning flashes before the video cuts to evening services at Mars Hill, where an anonymous audience member has just text-messaged a question to the screen onstage: “Pastor Mark, is masturbation a valid form of birth control?”

Driscoll doesn’t miss a beat: “I had one guy quote Ecclesiastes 9:10, which says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ ” The audience bursts out laughing. Next Pastor Mark is warning them about lust and exalting the confines of marriage, one hand jammed in his jeans pocket while the other waves his Bible. Even the skeptical viewer must admit that whatever Driscoll’s opinion of certain recreational activities, he has the coolest style and foulest mouth of any preacher you’ve ever seen.
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Discroll’s rough side comes through in the article and Worthen does a masterful job explaining his Neo-Calvinistic message and how appeals to Seattle's downtrodden, people not welcome in most churches. There is controversy, but there is also Gospel in this well written feature. And scripture cited to, so it qualifies for the Amy Writing Awards.

I don’t know; I’m torn on this article because I am decidedly not Calvinist, but I cannot say enough good things about Worthen’s writing.

How about this: Driscoll can keep preaching predestination (hey, it’s working), I’ll keep listening to Rob Bell’s messages about “grace and peace,” and Molly, you keep up the good journalism!