Last week, we asked you what your favorite Intersect articles were. And boy did you respond. Hundreds of you flooded our inboxes with 35 of your favorite picks. Most of you stuck with more recent articles. Others went back and found one that resonated with you from earlier in the year.
So, without further ado, here are your top 5 Intersect articles of 2016.
1. 3 Ways Pro-Life Christians Can Fight the Culture of Death
Dayton Hartman offers clear, practical ways to pursue grassroots pro-life change. Here’s why many of you liked it:
We live in an age so concentrated upon conversation that we often fail to be moved towards action. I think this article does a tremendous job of recognizing the value of both conversation and immediate action in the midst of genocide. – Glory B.
It is important to think about pro-life holistically and not only from a limited view. I felt like the author accomplished this goal in a winsome way — which was refreshing. – Joshua G.
2. Jesus, Paul and Beyond: Work Is Everywhere in the Bible
Work: Most of us don’t think highly of it. But David W. Jones takes you on a tour of the New Testament teachings about work, and he shows you that work is actually a good thing. Here’s why you liked it:
I have begun teaching a discipleship class on ‘How to Live in Today’s World with God in the Workplace’; it has been exciting studying the Scriptures and God giving insight, and this article was great in going right along with the direction God is leading with this class. There needs to be more articles on being a Christian in the workplace when so many places don’t even allow their employees to talk about God. – Candice W.
I work as a bivocational church planter in rural Appalachia. In this economic region, it is very common for pastors to work bivocationally in order to relieve their churches of some financial burden. Working in the community very often becomes one of the pastor’s great connecting points to his unchurched neighbors. Working heartily in the community is a great evangelistic and pastoral tool. – Luke S.
This article was an encouragement to me in the midst of a busy and hard season of life. May I continually be reminded to work heartily for the Lord — whether cleaning windows or writing seminary papers — that he might be pleased with my stewardship of time and resources. – Alex H.
3. “Fixer Upper” and Cultural Totalitarianism: 3 Ways Christians Can Respond
Have you heard about the controversy surrounding Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan’s articles about Chip and Joanna Gaines? Many of you have, and you resonated with Dayton Hartman’s response. You said,
This article took a situation at which I was quite upset about and gave me some grounding. It took me down off my high horse and placed me next to people who I disagree with but are called to truly love as myself. – Josh W.
As a newly-relocated graduate student at Baylor University in Waco, TX, this article has given me an important perspective on the cultural totalitarianism being exercised by organizations like Buzzfeed and Cosmo. The implications of this totalitarianism certainly reach far beyond the experiences of Waco’s own Chip and Joanna Gaines and the Antioch Community Church circle. In fact, it probably tells us a lot about our contentious election season, ongoing disagreements on issues of sexuality and gender expression, and the difficulty for many to work toward racial reconciliation in our contemporary context, just to name a few examples from 2016. Alas, as the article outlines, there are things Christians can do. Indeed, there are things Christians have a responsibility to do! – Zack J.
4. Gregory Thornbury: It’s Too Late to Engage Culture. Culture Has Already Engaged You.
Gregory Thornbury recently spoke at Southeastern Seminary about cultural engagement, and many of you loved his conversation. Here’s what you shared:
I appreciated how Dr. Thornbury helps to re-frame how we think about… the world around us. He’s winsome, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Very important video. – Jeffrey B.
Gregory Thornbury is simply fascinating. It seems every lecture, interview, or article of his engages me in a way that makes me think critically about faith and culture. Being a student minister I need that constantly to see how best to reach students…. Of course we are all [participants in] culture, but how do we think about how we participate in it and, more importantly, how do we teach that to others? These questions make me seek insights from Thornbury, Anthony Bradley, and anything from the Intersect website and the Acton Institute. In answering some of these questions I believe we get at the heart of being faithful believers in the ‘Already-not-yet’ period of redemption history. – Andrew H.
5. Five Constructive Takeaways for Evangelicals from the 2016 Election
After the election, you probably saw hundreds of angry hot takes from the left and right. This piece wasn’t one of them. Instead, Josh Wester offers five constructive takeaways, and you appreciated his suggestions and tone. You wrote,
I found Section 2 of the article, ‘A lot of factors shape a person’s approach to politics,’ to be a particularly helpful reminder that not all Christians are required to vote the same. We can believe the same exact things about the Bible and see that as reason to vote for two different candidates. As believers, we should be a light to the nation and the world on what unity in diversity looks like. This article is helpful for how Christians can engage each other as well as those outside the body of Christ in meaningful and Gospel-breathing conversation in the political sphere. – Dan D.
After the 2016 election, I resolved not to talk politics with family members, Christian or not, over the holidays. But this article was encouraging in that politics are not always a distraction from the gospel. I can use politics for positive gospel conversations with my non-Christian family members, and Christian family members. I must listen respectfully, avoiding the echo chamber. – Heath M.
Beyond the Top 5.
Not every article that you nominated made the top 5. But many of you uniquely resonated with other articles, and we wanted to share some of those comments.
Josh B. connected with Krystal Wilson’s nuanced take on Black Lives Matter (“Black Lives vs. Blue Lives: You Don’t Have to Choose“). He commented,
I like this article because it reshapes the conversation regarding race in our country in light of the gospel. The lives of police officers AND African-American men and women must matter to us because both are created in the image of God. It also challenges white Christians to stop ignoring the systemic racism within our legal system, but rather address it head on as an advocate for our African-American brothers and sisters. We are all one in Christ, so we must never abandon members of his Body to fight injustice alone.
Others of you nominated Jean-Yael Wallis’ powerful “Confessions of a Christian Who Struggled with Gender Identity.” Emily F. wrote,
I like this article because this is a topic that has been so quiet for so long in the church. I have friends who are not believers who have chosen a gender identity that is not one the Lord designed for them. I am thankful this article is encouraging to get the conversation started. Our culture tries so hard to define genders or roles as women and men, but I am thankful this article reminds us that our loving Father is the one whom decides these roles for us. He designed them. And many of the characteristics of the roles overlap: gifts of ‘leadership, evangelism, hospitality, faith, creativity and technological intuition.’ May we keep our ideas and perceptions of men and women fixed on who the Father is and what He has designed.
Walter Strickland’s “Finding Rest in a World of Workaholics and Slackers” arrived just in time for a self-described workaholic. Deani G. writes,
This year one of my professors asked me about my work-life balance. Another professor encouraged me to rest. I have been criticized for years, but no one ever ask me about what I was doing with my time. We live in a world based in works-founded religion. I did not realize the necessity [of rest] until this year. This article made it clear that the reason we overwork is because of our own misdirected view of salvation. God is who we find out worth in not the work we do!
Dawnae R.’s favorite article (“After the Election, Identifying American Idols” by K. Lauriston Smith) hit close to home. She writes,
I enjoyed the thought-provoking, albeit, challenging article. I am married to an urban church planter/pastor. Our church voted about 1/3 democrat, 1/3 republican, 1/3 third party/no vote. It can be difficult to find common ground aside from Jesus. We are diverse in color, education, income and age. The beauty of this is while we might seem disconnected from each other, this enables us to be free to challenge each other’s views and perspectives in light of the Gospel. The author rightly points out that reflection can be painful. Yet, we have found God to be faithful by leading us through these difficult/awkward conversations and grown deeper in our relationships with each other.
After the floods in Louisiana, we published a call to help from Ben Alain (“How to Pray for (and Serve) Flood-Ravaged Louisiana“). Stephen B. says this article remains timely:
This article addresses a very urgent need. Several towns in south Louisiana suffered extreme flooding this summer. This article was published in August when the need was great. The fact is, the needs are still very great. Much of the help that was expected from government or the church has not arrived as it should have. Please re-publish this article so that people will continue to be aware of the needs in south Louisiana.
Which article was your favorite, and why? Tell us about it in the comments.