Over the last year, we’ve tried to turn each issue of Fathom into a sounding line—measuring the depth of an idea, a feeling, or an experience we all share in common. Some of our pieces, however, found the bottom of the waters and grew roots. Over the last several months, their words became pillars of our publication.
If you want to skim the surface, here are the must-reads of last year.
Within Christianity, we face a constant pressure to dismiss doubt. But in her piece, Sandra Glahn peeled back the veneer of got-it-together-ness we often smear across our faith. Her words embody in many ways the pulse of Fathom: to think deeply about our faith, no matter how dark the water gets.
Millennial Christians have become the torch bearers of social justice. We’ve joined together to stand up for those in the margins of society, but Jed Ostoich wondered if we’ve forgotten why we’re out to make a difference in the world. Yes, we should set out to show people what the Kingdom of God looks like, but we can’t leave out the invitation into it.
Writers should love words—how they sound, how they taste coming out of the mouth, how they make you feel. “The Cellist” is not only a great poem describing a cello player, but it also is a feast of language. It will have you leaning back in your chair smiling at the wonder of words, the wonder of language.
Fathom was born during the final notes of the 2016 US presidential election. The candidates and all of the commentary flying around like shrapnel left many of us begging for a swift end to it all. In the middle of the chaos, Collin Huber called God’s people to stand on a hill and shine the light of holiness.
Cynicism sinks in slowly. It’s the kind of thing you laugh off until its grip is so tight you can’t shake it. Using his own experience, Brandon Giella validated what many students of the Bible know: as much as we’d like our spiritual life and study of the very word of God to be beyond its grasp, it just isn’t.
Race and reconciliation have dominated headlines since the election cycle finally ground to a stop. With so much out there to read and discuss, Jemar Tisby offered his insight into the common line of protest: “I didn’t mean to!” He expertly navigated the tension between intent and impact, offering both a challenge and a hope in the tumultuous waters of racial reconciliation.
Women matter. But the way evangelicalism tends to do ministry argues that women should really leave the evangelism and discipleship to the men. In her article, Hannah Anderson presented a theologically robust and compelling challenge to consider all people in our pursuit of the church’s commission. If we’re going to accomplish the mission to make disciples, we need both men and women.
In one of our most-widely read pieces of the year, Jessica Hooten Wilson took aim at the books we read. Within Christianity, there’s a tendency to read only a sanitized story of good triumphs. What we need instead, Wilson pointed out, is literature that subverts our view of the world—that literally scandalizes us into a new perspective of life and our place in it.
What happens when our leaders trip and fall right before the finish line? Tyler Huckabee took a stab at answering the question following evangelical leaders’ unflinching embrace of President Donald Trump. Each new generation will try to live out the teaching of its predecessor, even if that means leaving them at the border of the Promise Land.
The fallout from the 2016 US presidential election continued to pile up around us in the news and social media. In of it all, Katelyn Beaty’s voice rang out like a bell. In a gentle-but-pointed critique of the Religious Right, she challenged evangelicalism’s pendulum swing toward secular conservatism, and offered a third way.
This story is like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty goes to church. It was our short story contest winner and boasts a riveting story with themes that beckon similarly riveting questions. Fathom loves to publish fiction, and if you’re not much of a fiction reader, but would like to start reading more fiction, this is a great place to start.
Every parent is a storyteller—shaping a child’s view of the world through the never-ending voice of a narrator. In this endearing piece, Abby Perry offered a window into not only her story, but also the story that all parents must tell their children.
When they grow up in a culture that sexualizes and abuses women, how do we raise boys to be God’s champions of protection and gentleness? Rachael Starke narrowed the focus onto a relatively unremarkable Bible character who broke free from his culture and championed the cause of the weak and vulnerable.
Cover image by Ruben Gutierrez.
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