Every year, we take the time at Missio Alliance to look back at the ten most highly-read articles that we published through the course of the year. Through this exercise, we see what issues bubbled up to the surface for our audience and captured readers’ collective interest, and we also get a snapshot of our particular cultural moment at this moment in time.
This year, the topic of race and racial justice weighed heavy on the minds of our writers and readers, based on the number of thoughtful, truth-telling articles on the list that touched on these issues. We appreciated hearing from a range of Writing Team members and guest contributors in this area, from Nijay Gupta, David Swanson, Montague Williams, Donnell Wyche, and Leeann Younger.This year, the topic of race and racial justice weighed heavily on the minds of our writers and readers as reflected in our top ten most-read articles of 2020. Click To Tweet
Of course, no list looking back at 2020 would be complete without references to both the pandemic and politics, which David Fitch and AJ Sherrill provided. In addition, our list reflects our readers’ resonance with matters of spiritual formation, which MaryKate Morse offers on a regular basis, and this year was no exception through her beautiful, vulnerable piece on the art of grieving.
Our commitment to comprehensive mutuality is always on display in our online publishing; this year, our partner Southern Wesleyan University submitted an article that made it to our top ten list on “The Gender Chasm,” written by professor Andrea Summers.
And our most-read article of the year, written by Andrew Arndt, reflects an ongoing tension that church leaders and pastors continue to struggle with in our broken and divided age, which is the question of what the gospel truly is and is not.
Ministering to our congregations in the midst of racial tensions and challenges continues to be an area of need for our readers, and looking ahead to 2021, is an area that we will do our best to resource in an effort to serve the church into the future. (Check out our forthcoming online event, “Resilience, Race, and Resistance,” on January 28th, as one such example.)
Without further ado, here is the list of the top ten articles of 2020. If you missed any of these, it’s never too late to go back and read them; much of the content is just as relevant today as it was when initially published:
“Pastor, Can’t We Just Preach the Gospel?” by Andrew Arndt
The Art of Grieving: A Spiritual Practice for Our Time, by MaryKate Morse
Faithful Presence During a Pandemic by David Fitch
A Word for the Exhausted by Montague Williams
In Search of White Partners: What BIPOC Need by Donnell Wyche
Terrible Truths for the Church to Face by David Swanson
The Gender Chasm by Andrea Summers
This Political Moment: A Way Forward in a Divided Age by AJ Sherrill
Forgiveness Is Free, but Repentance Comes with a Cost by Leeann Younger
Neither White nor Black: Paul’s Case Against Being Colorblind by Nijay Gupta
Thank you for spending time with our Writing Collectives this year and helping to share and engage with our articles. As always, please feel free to submit ideas or pitches to us and to thank the writers directly for their excellent work. We look forward to continuing to publish words that strengthen, embolden, and encourage the church in 2021.
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
2. Seek to make your own voice heard.
We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
3. Share your story.
One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.