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 the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly 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: Rarely do you enjoy a book you are forced to read in school, but frequently you think back on it and appreciate the way it challenged the way you think. That is certainly the case for me with Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper.
The brief, but dense philosophical work is not something I would ever pick up on my own. If I were to have attempted to read it apart from an assignment in seminary, I would have never gotten past the first couple of pages. However, as I look at our modern world, I’m constantly remind of the truth contained in Leisure.
Pieper, a German philosopher, critiqued the world of “total work” and advocated for a return to prominence of leisure—not idleness, but times of rest, silence, contemplation, and insight. He asserted that culture and individuals would suffer significant damage if we continued to live in a state of frenetic amusements and relentless work.
That was true in the 1940s when he wrote the book and it is even more true today. In the midst of all the busyness, particularly as the holiday season is soon upon us, take moments away from it all. Be still and know God.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: There’s been a lot of buzz about the new Peanuts movie, which hits theaters next Friday, and I can’t wait. Earlier this week, I came across a fun article by Mashable that shares “The Story of the Wah Wah and Other Peanuts Specials Secrets.”
Peanuts animator Bill Melendez shares how music director Vince Guaraldi came up with the voice for Miss Othmar the school teacher. Some folks may not realize her voice is the sound of a muted trombone. Cool, right? The new movie will feature that same “wah wah” sound recreated by musician Trombone Shorty. You can even create your own wah wahs using the online “Wah Wah Machine.”
There’s also a site where you can create your own Peanuts character. Fun! You can be sure I’ll be one of the first in line to see the new movie. But in the meantime, I’ll settle for one of my favorite Peanuts specials: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: A couple years ago I read an excellent book by pastor Steve DeWitt called Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything. Lately, I’ve been picking it up again and reading small sections at whim. The book helps us understand and appreciate beauty and wonder as pointers to God.
For me, this most often occurs while hiking at a local park. The colors are on full display right now. The trail runs alongside a pretty lake. And every time I go there I see deer, wild turkeys, birds, and other wildlife. It’s an easy place to make the connection between creation and Creator.
The ultimate source of beauty, of course, is Jesus. Speaking of our future glorification, DeWitt writes: “We will see the Son in His resplendent glory. That blessed and beatific vision is what our souls crave.” That’s true. That’s what’s coming. For now, though, we enjoy tastes of heaven in the things God has made, and these tastes draw us into worship.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: I’ve never suffered the death of a child, but I know many who have. Three decades after my 16-year-old friend Tammy died in a car accident, I still can’t drive past the site without gut-wrenching memories. If the recollections remain so poignant to me, I can’t imagine how they must feel to her mother.
This week I came across an article by a bereaved parent, 7 Things I’ve Learned Since the Loss of My Child, and I thought again of Tammy’s mom. For those who suffer this loss, the pain does not end. I pray we can understand and walk alongside them in their grief.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: I was happy to hear that China has lifted its policy on having only one child. I have several friends who have adopted from China, and this policy has contributed to so many issues with child abandonment and neglect. Although the change seems primarily financially based, I hope this action will gradually transform the Chinese to value human life more. I pray it protects the unborn and helps their mothers.