Reader’s Choice: Your Favorite Articles of 2021

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A few weeks ago, we asked you to nominate your favorite articles here on the Christ and Culture blog. You flooded our inboxes with your picks, nominating more than 20 different articles.

We tallied the votes. And, without further ado, here are your favorite articles of 2021.

1. Truth and Love: Why the Church (and our Nation) Need Both

By Jonathan Darville | This article is deeply personal, as Jonathan shares his story of health woes and suffering. But the lessons he learned apply to all of us: “If you love people, care about the truth. If you care about the truth, love people.” You voted the article as your favorite of 2021.

Here are some of your comments:

  • “Should we lead with the truth or love? Jono shows that this is a false dichotomy. Yet, our society forces people to fall into these two molds. The truth accurately diagnoses the problem, and love is how we deliver the truth. Our love must be guided correctly.  Jono illustrates this when his own doctor lovingly told him that his diagnosis was wrong while being patience with Jono’s objections. Once he accepted the diagnosis, he was healed. Likewise, the word of God has rightly diagnosed the human condition, and the church must lovingly share this solution to the world–even when they object to it. These virtues must be embodied if we are going to make a meaningful difference in this world for our Savior.” — Cortez J.
  • “A great reminder that we must speak truth in a time when true is being challenged. But we must speak that truth from a heart of compassion and love for the one we are speaking with.” — Roger B.
Deconstruction and exvangelicals (credit: lightstock.com)

2 (Tie). My Antidote to Deconstruction: Confessions of a Near Exvangelical

By Jordan Steffaniak Exvangelical and deconstruction have become buzz words in 2021, and Jordan used the opportunity to tell his own story. What kept him from becoming another exvangelical? What prevented his deconstruction? He explains in the article, which was one of your favorites of the year.

Here are some of your comments:

  • “This article was timely and encouraging to me. I appreciated how the author didn’t vilify critical thinking or questions about faith, but instead recognized their place within our faith and culture. It encouraged me to read through the Christian intellectual giants.” — Jessica H.
  • “Although I have never come close to deconstruction, many dear friends of mine now consider themselves “exvangelical.” It absolutely breaks my heart, and I found this article incredibly encouraging in the fact that loving the Lord with our minds will help us draw closer to Him.” — Olivia P.

2 (Tie). Is ‘The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill’ Failure Porn?

By Brad Hambrick | Fewer podcasts were more influential in 2021 than The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. But in light of the podcast’s success, some voices raised questions: Ought we to revel in media that recounts the downfall of a person or organization? Counseling professor Brad Hambrick tackled this question in this widely read article.

Here are some of your comments:

  • “I was intrigued and somewhat convicted as I have now soaked up every episode of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. I had to stop and ask myself why am I listening to this. Was it rooted in pride, jealousy, anger, or was it in an effort to grow and make sure that I never fell victim to the same issues that plagued the leadership of Mars Hill Church?” — Stephen J.
  • “Almost everyone I know is listening to and talking about this series. Dr. Hambrick always seems to see the ‘question behind the question.’ He frames the issue well, makes clear, insightful observations, and offers takeaways for healthy evaluations and wise choices, wise thinking, and wise living.” — Sam K.

4. Gender and Christian Love

By Jordan Steffaniak | We shouldn’t be afraid of talking about gender, argues Jordan Steffaniak in this recent article. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Jordan is one of the only Christ and Culture blog authors “batting 1000” in reader’s choice awards, as his only two articles made this list. (Does this make Jordan an “influential evangelical“? We’ll let you be the judge.)

Here are some of your comments:

  • “Great insight into how to frame the conversation about gender, to ground it in love.” — Brian L.
  • “Jordan does a wonderful job demonstrating the fundamental link between love and gender, which is incredibly helpful and resourceful given their current cultural tone on this subject.” — Christopher T.
Simple advice that transformed how I share the gospel

5 (tie). Simple Advice That Transformed How I Share the Gospel & Have We Lost our Sense of Spiritual Smell?

By Jackie Moore | These two articles by Jackie received the same number of votes. In the first, she tells us about her struggles with evangelism — and the simple suggestion that made the difference. In the second, she discusses biblical discernment with an illustration from our years navigating COVID. You appreciated her articles, making them some of your favorites of the year.

Here are some of your comments:

  • “Easy to understand and suggestions for improving in the gospel presentation process was helpful.” — Marilyn B.
  • “Well, I have never thought of this before!… I really love articles that make me think of things I’ve never thought of.” — Jason K.

Beyond the Top 5

More than 20 articles received votes. While we can’t share the full list, we wanted to highlight some of your thoughtful feedback on a handful of articles outside the top 5.

Sherelle Duckworth’s Juneteenth explainer received multiple votes. Here’s why Katherine D. found it so important:

  • “I’m 41, and while it was tacked on quickly and obliquely with teaching the emancipation proclamation in school, I was a grown woman before I’d actually heard of Juneteenth. Beyond the history aspect, Juneteenth is a celebration of Imago day – and isn’t that for everyone to celebrate? I really appreciate it the knowledge and connection that Sherelle brought to me through her article.”

Jeremy Bell’s recent article on the “Ethical Implications” of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court case also caught your attention. Andrew W. wrote us this:

  • “The current Supreme Court case has gotten me more engaged on the topic on abortion than anything else has in recent memory, likely because of the very real hope and possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. Resources like this are so encouraging.”

Finally, Josh P. had feedback for another Jeremy Bell article on Patriotic music in worship services, and it highlights the very tone we want to model here at the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture:

  • “The author was very fair and balanced in discussing the issue. He is a veteran, and he has served as a pastor. His perspective in interesting, and he faithfully demonstrated the tension between the desire to be patriotic and the desire to worship God in songs during the gathering of believers in the local assembly. His three questions were thought provoking, and his conclusions were very helpful. His tone wasn’t derogatory toward those who are overly patriotic in July 4 worship services, but he effectively got his point across.”

Thank you for voting for your favorite articles. In our next post, we’ll share the most listened to (and most read) content of 2021.

 

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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