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: Recently, I visited my parents in my childhood home in rural South Carolina. While the lack of cell signal or reliable Wi-Fi was a challenge, I loved staring up into the sky and seeing stars that are completely invisible from my suburban yard.
Because there is essentially no light pollution there, the stars and moon are brilliant and striking across a sky that has much more depth of color than is visible in many other places.
I definitely missed that night sky this week as the Perseid Meteor Shower reached its peak. If you weren’t able to stay up late to watch the show, here are some amazing photos. Tonight may be one of the last nights to see a significant number of shooting stars as the shower will rapidly disappear from our view.
But even more than missing my childhood home, seeing such wonders in space makes me long for my heavenly home. In this life, I’ll likely never get the chance to explore the galaxy. One day, however, I’ll be able to see all of the new creation and experience all of the beauty God has spread across the far reaches of the universe.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: Since last Friday night, I have been consumed with the Olympics. From the opening ceremonies to last night’s women’s gymnastics all-around, there have been many great moments.
I love watching the parade of nations and cheering for the countries I’ve visited on mission trips. I might have shed a few tears when the Olympic refugee team entered the Olympic stadium and were given a standing ovation. What a neat moment for those athletes who have overcome so much to compete at the Olympic Games.
I also loved watching the women’s gymnastics team win the gold in the team competition, and I have whooped and hollered at the TV while watching our swimmers dominate the pool.
But my favorite moments have been listening to Rowdy Gaines, of NBC sports, call the swimming events. It’s great to see (or hear) someone who is so passionate about his work and this particular sport. His enthusiasm has added to the excitement of every race.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), managing editor: I could never master the front handspring. Hour after hour, I tried. Time after time, I landed flat on my back in the grass. As a child I watched in frustration as friends tumbled energetically across the gym floor. Unable to conquer this fundamental skill, I could not join them.
I remembered those days as I watched Olympic gymnasts tumble and flip this week. For me, one simple handspring was too difficult. For these athletes, nothing seemed impossible.
I’m looking forward to a glorified body in heaven that may be able to soar like Simone Biles and swim like Katie Ledecky. Meanwhile, it’s awe-inspiring to watch the world’s best athletes show what can be achieved with the physical strength God has given us.
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: My favorite this week: the story of Desmond Doss, a World War II Army medic who was awarded a Medal of Honor for saving 75 fellow soldiers during a battle on Okinawa. Hacksaw Ridge, the unexpected new film from Mel Gibson, will tell his story this fall.
Doss, a conscientious objector, served in combat but refused to carry a gun.
As a young boy, his dad bought him a poster that included the 10 Commandments and a depiction of Cain slaying Abel. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” became part of his core beliefs.
“I wondered, how in the world could a brother do such a thing?” he once told a biographer, according to his obituary in The New York Times. “It put a horror in my heart of just killing, and as a result I took it personally: ‘Desmond, if you love me, you won’t kill.’”
When a group of wounded soldiers were stranded on the Maeda Escarpment, a ridge on Okinawa, he scaled the ridge and lowered them down a rope stretcher he’d created. Later, he was severely wounded by both grenade shrapnel and a gunshot. He initially refused treatment, telling medics to care for other wounded soldiers instead.
His injuries, which included losing a lung, left him disabled. So Doss, who was the subject on an award-winning documentary, became a volunteer church worker after leaving the military, devoting himself to his family and to young people in the church.
I’d never heard of Doss before seeing the trailer for Hacksaw Ridge. Now, I can’t wait to learn more.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: Walking around downtown Nashville, you see a lot of homeless people. Most people want to help but don’t know how.
I came across an inspiring story about Albuquerque’s homeless population and how their city is helping them find work and receive aid. It is a great reminder to us all to reach out to those less fortunate and pray for them, remembering they are people seeking a lot of the same things we are.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?