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    2019’s Top Ten

    By Veery Huleatt

    December 27, 2019

    To farewell the old year, and ring in the new, here are the ten most popular Plough articles published in 2019. Here’s to another year of great writing in Plough! (If the winter 2020 issue is any indication, we’re off to an excellent start.)

    1. What Lies Beyond Capitalism by David Bentley Hart

    In which Hart doesn’t pull his punches: “Of its nature, capitalism is a monstrously metastasized psychosis, one that will ultimately, if left to itself, reduce the whole of the natural order to a desert: despoiled, ravaged, poisoned, profaned.”

    2. Poetry and Prophecy, Dust and Ashes by Phil Christman 

    A review of the Bible? You had better believe it. “It is depressing, after so many years, to be asking the Bible the same questions I started asking it at eight years old. They are naive ones, but I come by them honestly, having been raised to believe that the Bible could have no mistakes.”

    3. The McDonald’s Test by Chris Arnade 

    “Eventually I came up with what I call the McDonald’s test. The broad thesis of my book is that our society sorts people into what I call the front row and the back row – the privileged class to which I used to belong, who are financially secure and live in safe neighborhoods with good schools and public services – and everybody else. The test is to ask a person: how do you view McDonald’s?”

    4. So You Want to Be a Writer? by Phil Christman 

    A review of John Warner’s Why They Can’t Write: “When people complain about how ‘young people today’ can’t write, they are comparing an idealized version of themselves to a caricatured vision of someone else. And they are working from a set of unstated expectations that they themselves could not meet – an idiosyncratic mix of formal correctness, originality, and adherence to weird personal or generational strictures that no longer make sense in a particular situation.”

    5. Is Christian Business an Oxymoron? by John Rhodes

    Well, is it? An interview John Rhodes, who has led the Bruderhof’s businesses for twenty years: “But what’s really unusual about these businesses is that while they sell into the marketplace, internally they’re run communally. There are no bosses or employees, and everyone gets the same pay: nothing. We see our work as our contribution to a life in which we share everything as the first Christians did.”

    6. The Noonday Demon by Jonathan Malesic

    Another essay on the spiritual dimension of our economic situation: “The exhaustion and despair of burnout are job-specific, emerging in the space between your vocation and what you actually do at work. Many escape burnout by quitting their jobs, as I eventually did. You can’t shake acedia that way. Acedia attaches itself not to what you do but to who you are.”

    7. Robin Hood Economics by Edmund Waldstein 

    “The implicit foundation of Robin Hood’s stealing from the rich to give to the poor is the perennial Christian teaching that the goods of the earth are given by God for the sustenance of all human beings. This is the principle that modern Catholic social teaching calls the ‘universal destination of goods,’ and it issues an urgent challenge to us in our own time.”

    8. The Unchosen Calling by Will Willimon

    “Modernity compels us to write the story that defines who we are, heroically to choose from a variety of possible plots. Christians, on the other hand, believe that most of the important things that define us are accidental, externally imposed. The question is not ‘What do I want to do with me?’ but rather ‘Which God am I worshiping and how is that God having his way with me?’”

    9. The Ground of Hospitality by Norman Wirzba

    “Soil, we could say, is the first earthly site of hospitality, because it makes room for death, welcomes and receives it, so that new life will germinate and grow. The more primordial power of hospitality, however, is God’s. For good reason, the Garden of Eden story presents God as the one who creates by kissing soil, breathing into it the life that is you and me and all the plants and animals.”

    10. Comrade Ruskin by Eugene McCarraher

    McCarraher argues that Ruskin’s romantic communism “represents a road not taken in the history of movements for a just social order. Today, amid renewed outrage over the depredations of globalized capitalism, it’s high time to rediscover Ruskin’s vision for how people should live and work together.”

    Apples and Biscuits by Paul Cezanne

    Detail of Apples and Biscuits by Paul Cézanne

    Contributed By VeeryHuleatt Veery Huleatt

    Veery Huleatt studied classics at Siena College. She is a former editor at Plough.

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