1. Why We Love This Is Us
Writing for The Washington Post, Russell Moore attempts to explain the popularity of NBC’s This Is Us, the highest-performing new show of 2016. Moore writes that we are drawn to the show for far more than its excellent writing and acting. We’re able to connect to it personally, especially as it jumps back and forth in time, showing the main characters as both children and adults, because our pasts are part of who we are.
We wouldn’t be who we are if not for the stories that have made us—stories we love, stories we hate, and sometimes stories we long to peer into but leave us in mystery.
2. The Problem With Our Holly Jolly Christmas Songs
Last week on his own blog, Russell Moore wrote about the lack of narrative tension in much Christmas music. He calls the Church to speak to the full range of human emotion, just as the Bible does.
I suspect many people in our pews look around them and think the others have the kind of happiness we keep promising—especially around Christmas—and wonder why it’s passed them by.
3. Two Views on Social Media
Cal Newport wrote an article last month for The New York Times called “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It,” wherein he suggests that social media is not as powerful and important as many others are saying. In fact, he believes it is detrimental, diminishing our ability to concentrate on our real work. The argument is especially interesting contrasted with this Medium article from last year, which calls for high schools to teach their students how to effectively use social media.
The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used—persistently throughout your waking hours—the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.
4. A Love Letter to a Love Story
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony award-winning musical, Hamilton, has been in the news consistently since it opened. Last week, The Hamilton Mixtape was released, an album of songs from the musical and inspired by the musical, by many of the artists Miranda was inspired by—Busta Rhymes, Queen Latifah and more. In his review on The Atlantic, Spencer Kornhaber writes that the mixtape gives Hamilton a whole new feel.
While few tracks match the cast album in emotional impact, many do shift emphases in refreshing ways, confirming these songs’ potential to live outside of a narrative.
5. Mothers in the Church
Writing for Ligonier Ministries, Jen Wilkin calls women in the Church to spiritual motherhood. She also encourages young men and women to seek the wisdom of a spiritual mother, while recognizing that this process isn’t always easy.
Every believing woman who grows to maturity becomes, in her time, a spiritual mother to those following behind, whether she ever becomes a mom in physical terms. She fulfills that most basic calling of motherhood: nurturing the helpless and weak to maturity and strength.
6. 100 Outstanding Audio Stories of 2016
It’s that time of year when “Best of” lists begin to be published. Here’s Bello Collective’s top 100 podcast episodes of the year (in no particular order).
From unique partnerships and collaborations, to interviews and political coverage, this was the year that podcasts found their footing as a form of journalism.