Top 5 CHARIS Posts in 2017

As managing editor of our Church channel, I get to work with a team of insightful, gifted writers who think deeply about God, the world, spiritual health, ministry, current events, Scripture, and so much more. As we lean into 2018, I’m pleased to look back on 2017 and share with you these most-read posts last year. What were some of your favorites? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

5. Clinging to the Cross, Kelly Edmiston

While reeling from the physical and emotional pain caused by the traumatic birth of her daughter, Kelly found refuge in an old hymn that reminded her of the trauma God endured on an old rugged cross.

“I will cling to the cross because it is the only place to find reconciliation between this world’s suffering and shame and a God who claims to be good. I will cling to the cross because it is here that solidarity is found between God and humanity. I will cling to the cross because the cross insists – demands even – that God was present in my trauma. I will cling to the cross because it is the only solace for sufferers. And as I look for God in the midst of my traumatic suffering, I will find God naked, bleeding, and dying on the cross to which I cling.”


4. When Ministers Behave Badly: Why Facebook Forums Will Not Determine the Future of the Movement, Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby

We’re all too familiar with how quickly online conversations can devolve into hateful ugliness. In this post, Amy calls her readers to stop shouting at each other and instead engage in meaningful, difficult conversation.

“In short, we objectify truth, rather than participate in it. We grab onto what we believe is true, and with a white-knuckled grip we wield it as a powerful weapon, dividing our movement’s identity and throwing down boundary markers in an attempt to establish a fortress around those things that most affirm our perspective.”


3. The Samaritan Woman and the Church’s Response to #MeToo, Lauren Rutland Hightower

In this thoughtful post, Lauren reflects on how Jesus’s interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well can influence churches’ responses to people impacted by sexual harassment or assault.

“My interpretation of the woman at the well is open to speculation since she is not here to tell her story, but the ongoing disregard to thousands of women who are currently living and telling their stories, or afraid to tell their stories, is not. Christians: we have a responsibility to these people. Our responsibility is to invite them to drink the living water, just as Jesus invited the Samaritan woman amid her pain.”


2. Twelve Top Blogs among Churches of Christ, Bobby Ross Jr.

As one of the first posts published when CHARIS launched in June 2015, Bobby’s post remains one of our most popular articles, as he highlights some of the best blogs he follows.

“For this post, I was asked to highlight top blogs across the vast spectrum of Churches of Christ. In compiling this list, I considered factors such as quality of writing, relevancy of topics, overall appeal to readers and frequency of posts (it’s so easy to start a blog, then go months without posting!). No doubt, my list leaves out many wonderful blogs. By all means, please share links to your own favorites.”


1. Seasons: A Time for All Things, Glenn Pemberton

This year we launched several blogs within CHARIS and, aside from the CHARIS home page, Glenn Pemberton’s new blog is our most-visited page. As a self-described “minister turned professor turned writer,” Glenn now spends his time writing for the church–now including his blog in addition to several books and essays. Here are some of Glenn’s opening remarks on his most-read post, Abortion in 2017, Numbers 5 (and 1 Prize):

“I’ve never heard anyone mention much less identify Numbers 5 as critical text for the theological/ethical reflection on abortion. So with a warning that this is not an easy text to read or a subject to be taken lightly (and especially not for granted), but a topic that demands the utmost sensitivity and pastoral care for those we know and those we do not who have struggled through agonizing personal and family decisions – with all this said, here we go.”


Karissa Herchenroeder serves as assistant director for Church Relations and the Doctor of Ministry program at Abilene Christian University. As part of her Church Relations role, she is the managing editor of the CHARIS site’s Church channel. At work, she enjoys partnering with church leaders across the country and helping to provide resources that benefit their ministry. Outside of work, she enjoys experiencing new foods, camping, dabbling in photography, and spending time with her house church. Karissa holds a bachelor’s in ministry and a master’s in organizational development.

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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