Our 2019 Children’s Books of the Year stand out from an increasingly troubling crowd
Late in 1899 a magazine known as The Christian Oracle changed its name to The Christian Century. In January 1900, its editors predicted that “glory’s mantle shall enwrap the world, and golden years enfold in an unbroken round of sweet and happy peace.” World War I began 14 years later.
For decades The Christian Century (CC) was the most influential U.S. magazine with the word “Christian” in its title. Recently I bought a 1935 issue at a flea market. One CC story had the headline “Japan Denounces the Treaty—So What?” The article denounced those who with “great apprehension” were warning that “a cloud of bombing planes will take the air near Tokyo, intent on leveling the defenses of Hawaii. … This is nonsense, of course.”
Of course. Since Tokyo is almost 4,000 miles from Honolulu, Japanese planes six years later attacked from much closer aircraft carriers.
CC’s theological analysis in 1935 was as inaccurate as its military predictions. It opined that a wise guy should accept this life as “the only homeland of his soul” and abandon the “childish rebellion” of looking toward a “supernatural realm. … Man’s original sin is to refuse the God of this existing world. … Riotous dreams of another realm is man’s perversity.”
What we can do in 2019 depends on you and other readers and listeners.
Over the following decade we saw man’s perversity fully revealed not in thoughts of heaven but in atheistic leaders who created earthly hells: gas chambers, death camps, and warfare that killed millions.
The biweekly CC, despite being wrong for a century, still limps on as “the flagship magazine of U.S. mainline Protestantism” with a circulation of 36,000, according to Wikipedia. Asaph in Psalm 73 says to God, “You guide me with your counsel,” but CC ignores it. For example, instead of condemning abortion in an October 2018 issue of CC, Associate Editor Amy Frykholm asked, “Is abortion only the lesser of two evils, or can it be a moral good?”
Note how short her allowable spectrum is: from reluctantly accepting abortion to enthusiastically backing it whenever a mom does not “consent to the giving of life.” That’s because a preborn baby, according to CC, is only a “potential child.” But God inspired David to write 3,000 years ago in Psalm 139, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
The continuing influence of CC and others on the left is one strong reason among others to support the opposing work of WORLD. This year, instead of going with the flow of our troubled culture, we have joyfully pointed out pro-life growth in China, good children’s and adult books, Andrew Brunson’s Daniel-like courage in Turkey, Christians surviving in Nineveh, and much else. We’ve told the stories of 2018 Hope Award winners from Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vietnam.
We’ve also reported bad news such as opioid deaths, transgender propaganda in elementary schools, and attacks on churches in Nigeria and Nicaragua. But while we’ve had to investigate some troubled Christian groups, it’s been great to have stories honoring Billy Graham and Rachael Denhollander, Christian chess grandmaster Wesley So and Christian surfer Bethany Hamilton, and Christians broadcasting into Iran.
We’ve run series on marijuana legalization and homelessness, sent reporters to the Euphrates and the Rio Grande, and examined questions about donor-conceived children and matchmaker-conceived marriages. We’ve sifted the news on our website, produced surprising stories on the World and Everything in It podcast, and doubled the number of our listeners.
What we can do in 2019 depends on you and other readers and listeners. At one time I wondered if enough Christian journalistic talent existed to staff our potential positions. Through the work of the World Journalism Institute we’re now three-deep at every writing spot, and we’ll work hard to develop more World Radio talent. We have many ideas for in-depth features and podcast reports.
If you have investigative story ideas or radio/podcast talent, please write to me. If reading or listening to any WORLD products this year has been helpful to you, or if you’d like to help us meet more of our reporting and educational goals in 2019, please donate by using the envelope in our printed magazine or by giving online at wng.org/worldmovers.