As 2019 comes to an end, we’ve compiled a list of what caught your attention on broadview.org. Here are the Top 10 most-viewed articles this year:
Brianna Bell’s personal account of being forced from her Guelph, Ont. home resonated with readers.
From the column: “I suspect that our townhome will be available for rent a year from now, for a significantly higher monthly rate — and as long as my landlord lives in the house for a year, he’s perfectly within his rights to do so. That is not okay.”
This commissioning question had writer Alison Brooks-Starks reconsidering becoming a minister.
From the article: “I did research assignments about it, I reflected, I scribbled in my journal. Teary-eyed, I quizzed ministers about it. I feel called to ministry, so why does it scare me?”
An active member of her Waterloo, Ont., church, Donna Strickland has spent a lifetime bucking convention.
From the profile: “For her, going to church is about finding inner peace. And church has always been the United Church, right from her childhood in Guelph, Ont. She loves to sit in the sanctuary, quietly singing the hymns — she is an alto — and savouring the reminder that the world is a complex place and that she is just a tiny part of it. ‘Almost every religion is about love,’ she says.”
If decline continues at the current rate, the denomination could be extinct by 2040.
From the article: “The Gospel may not always permit optimism, but neither does it permit despair. I believe we have reason to be hopeful. But it may require a sober self-examination, and that requires honesty and courage.”
Judith Rees-Thomas chose to go to jail for her activism, but had no idea what to expect.
From the essay: “What if I am cold all the time? What if I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep on the thin mattress? As my stomach churned and my mind spun, I remembered my spiritual director suggesting I invite God to be with me in jail. ‘Holy One,’ I prayed, ‘remind me that you are there with me.'”
This initiative, which targets hungry youth and teens who may not show up to church halls for a meal, was a hit with readers.
From the article: “We have a sponsorship from Tim Hortons,” [Rainie] Murphy adds. “The local franchise is sponsoring 100 cups of hot chocolate each night. The owner told us this is something Lower Sackville has needed for a long time.”
Josiah Neufeld’s convictions about eternal damnation were a crucial part of his Christian worldview. What happened when he no longer believed?
From the feature: “I knew with absolute certainty that Yaku was not in hell. In fact, I realized I hadn’t believed in hell for a long time. I’d just been afraid to admit it. Unbelief is a terrifying thing to accept, especially when it’s the one thing that can endanger your immortal soul.”
When religious institutions reject their kids, these women fight back. They call themselves Mama Bears.
From the article: “Maybe that’s what I will learn on this journey, the understanding of where all that hatred comes from…. I’d really love to find out what happened to make people feel that hateful in the name of God.”
Anne Thériault travelled to a Belgian city that opens its homes to people with mental illness — and delved into the life of the teenaged saint who started it all.
From the feature: “The family-care program isn’t miraculous; it is as profoundly human as Dymphna’s life story. It’s proof of how well we can love each other when we practise radical acceptance.”
This was our most-read story of the year, by a landslide. In the horse, the people have found a spiritual connection to their past and a way forward in healing trauma.
From the article: “The thing that was so priceless to me…was to show kids, even a few kids in a limited way: you can effect change in the world. You can do something, even if it’s a small something.”
What was your favourite story this year? Let us know in the comments.
Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.