What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So each week the Facts & Trends staff would like to share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: A books and blog post have really captured my attention this week.
Mike Cosper’s The Stories We Tell is the type of book I love to read and would have loved even more to write. It deals with the narratives in pop culture TV shows, books, and movies and how our connection with these stories and the reason we are so drawn to them is tied to the grand narrative underneath all of history – the gospel.
In line with that idea, “Doctor Who and Faith: Bigger on the Inside” is a fascinating blog post about the faith streams that run through a show many have described as atheistic. As someone who loves the show and has noticed some of those religious influenced aspects, it was interesting to read this larger exploration of faith on the show. Of particular interest to me was learning the Doctor was initially modeled after the Apostle Paul.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: My favorite this week is Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by Frank J. Barrett. I discovered this book while listening to the HBR IdeaCast (another favorite) and was intrigued by Barrett’s thesis of applying the tools of a jazz musician to leadership.
Barrett is a business professor and accomplished jazz pianist. He’s consulted numerous organizations including Boeing, GE, and the U.S. Navy; he knows his stuff. In today’s changing and highly unpredictable world, Barrett says organizations need to build “a capacity to experiment, learn, and innovate by engaging in strategic engaged improvisation”—just like a jazz musician.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: I’ll quickly mention two books and one album I’ve been enjoying.
First, I’ve just dived into Eric Metaxas’s new book Miracles. Reading about miracles (from a trusted source) is an inspiring, faith-building experience. And Eric is a witty, entertaining writer.
Second, I’m almost finished with The Relational Soul by Richard Plass and James Cofield. It falls more into the spiritual formation/counseling category. It has given me a better understanding of the importance of relationships and what makes them thrive, as well as greater insight into my own story and ways of relating.
In the music department, I’ve appreciated the thoughtful lyrics and bright and cheery sound of Melanie Penn’s album Hope Tonight. It’s the opposite of heavy.
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: My first favorite is the debut album from The Carmonas, a Nashville-based acoustic music trio. It’s like the Carter Family meets the Old Crow Medicine show: toe-tapping guitar driven grooves and sweet harmonies.
“With fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and double bass, I expected a bluegrass sound—but what I hear is something much more complex,” said a reviewer at SoundstageHifi.com. The CD features siblings Chad, Alison, and Aaron Carmona with a host of friends, having fun making music on songs like “Oh Alice” and “It’s What You Do.”
Then there’s Lock In, a sci-fi “who-done-it” from best-selling author and blogger John Scalzi. It’s set a few years in the future, where an ALS-like disease called “Haden’s Syndrome” has left millions of Americans trapped in paralyzed bodies. In response, tech companies develop neural networks and robot bodies-known as “threeps,” for short (after C-3P0 of Star Wars fame) to let them still live normal lives.
Throw in a murder mystery, some political machinations and a dash of humor, and it’s fun read that raises some interesting questions about how technology shapes modern life.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: One of my favorites this week is having a great time at our church’s “Strong Women” small group. We meet once a week for a light workout with a devotional and prayer time. It’s fun getting to meet new ladies of all ages and stages in life. It’s amazing how exercise actually breaks down barriers and gets people talking.
Also, my oldest was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. We were proud to see so many great kids being honored. It is a good reminder that despite all the negative news in the world, the future is actually bright, and God is working in lives all around us.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?