As we wrap up 2021, here is what readers liked most during our first year at The Better Samaritan.
10. The COVID Debate Amongst Churches
Kent Annan got frustrated when it came to sign up for his COVID booster shot. Here’s the major mistake he sees the church making.
9. Thinking Biblically about Refugees and Immigrants
Matthew Soerens, widely respected expert with World Relief, unpacks the situation in the United States. As over 50,000 evacuated Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in the coming months, what are the legalities and processes involved in helping people settle in America? More importantly, how can the church respond and support resettlement efforts?
8. To Befriend a Refugee
Chong Bee Vang, who arrived in the U.S. as a small child, experienced a spectrum of ‘help’ from church volunteers—most well intentioned, but not all of which was actually helpful. A must read for anyone with a heart for this year’s influx of Afghan refugees.
7. Viral News Is Not Always Valid
Early 2021 saw tremendous amounts of misinformation circulating in the news, including about human trafficking. Expert Shayne Moore explains how to discern what’s worth sharing and acting on.
6. The Ripple Effects of COVID-19 on Pastors
Church leadership consultant Christa Cordova puts her finger on a growing trend: pastoral burnout.
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5. A Better Solution to the Haitian Orphan Crisis
Eight in ten orphaned children in Haiti have a living parent, but are often orphaned due to finances. Tara and Troy Livesay, executive directors of Heartline Ministries in Haiti, question whether nonprofits have responded well to the poverty in the country.
4. A Letter to an Anti-vaxxer
An ongoing harmful trend by the evangelical church in response to Covid is called upon by misinformed leaders. Kent Annan and Jamie Aten respond to one of these claims and calling the Church to do better.
3. Calling Out the “American Bible”
Kent Annan and Jamie Aten agree that it is essential to know the content of our nation’s founding documents and the Word of God, but to compile them together is promoting a Christian nationalism and promoting division in the Church.
2. Following Jesus over Our “Rights”
Taylor Schuman survived a school shooting, wrote a book about it, and now stands as an example and inspiration for those receiving online hate. In this reflection, she challenges readers to think through who we are serving when holding to our rights and if we leave space to care for our neighbors.
1. Will the Church Lament?
Our most popular post of the year. One in ten visitors to the Better Samaritan came for this post, underscoring the desire to listen. In the wake of the March 16 shooting that took six lives in Atlanta spas, we asked 8 leaders to share what churches should know and do in response to ongoing Asian American violence.
This season, support the work of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, which provides resources like the Spiritual First Aid course for pastors and church leaders.