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    Editors’ Favorites 2021

    Our editors choose their favorite articles Plough published in 2021.

    December 30, 2021

    Peter Mommsen: My favorite is Simeon Wiehler’s piece “Three Kants and a Thousand Skulls.” This strangely powerful essay is one that has stuck in my memory as an example of how through masterful storytelling a piece of writing can become much more than the sum of its parts.

    Susannah Black: I have two favorite pieces, which are complements of each other. Leah Libresco Sargeant's “Let the Body Testify” and Pater Edmund Waldstein’s “The Lords of Nature” each in their own way examine the mystery of embodiment, with philosophical rigor and sensitive attention to the very personal nature of the issues they address.

    Maureen Swinger: The Year of Madeleine” by Haley Stewart is for mothers who write, and writers who mother, and anyone feeling intellectual stagnation setting in.

    Sam Hine: I like “Signs and Wonders” by Howard Saylor because it is a change of pace from the usual Plough fare, a simple story about an unlikely answer to prayer that will stay with you whether you believe it or not.

    abstract colorful art of open hands

    Public domain

    Caitrin Keiper: Love, Loss, and Eucatastrophe” by Elizabeth Hansen: This piece on Mio, My Son, an intrinsically Christian story by the agnostic Astrid Lindgren, caused the classic book to sell out, but it’s well worth trying to find a copy where you can. The twist on the last page made my heart stop. Hansen doesn’t give it away, but does say “that it belongs in the great family of literature that hopes – and offers that hope to children – that somehow the world we’ve lost will be made new.”

    Maria Hine: I nominate Jeff Peabody’s “Praying for my Basal Ganglia.” It’s courageous and personal. A sage acquaintance once told me: “The only truly sane person was Jesus. The rest of us are on a spectrum.” Jeff’s piece reminded me that we all need this compassion.

    Ian Barth:The Minimalist” by Springs Toledo was my surprise favorite for 2021. Like the protagonist boxer in the piece it hits hard where you don’t expect it.

    Dori Moody: If “the devil lives in our phones,” what’s to be done? The piece “Hard Liberty” by Cassandra Nelson was one hell of a frightening piece; it was also strangely hopeful.

    etching of Satan falling from heaven

    Gustave Doré, Paradise Lost, colorized

    Joy Marie Clarkson: The End of Rage” by Ashley Lucas. This masterfully told story weaves together the threads of redemption without tying knots that shouldn’t be tied yet; it makes me feel both hopeful and repentant and prayerful.

    A. M. Juster: My choice is the sonnet “The Widow Offers Herself to Life” along with the Spanish version “Hazme, vida, quizás tu pregonera.” A year ago I knew that Rhina was struggling with the death of her husband both in her life and in her poetry, so it lifted my heart to see this brave and beautiful poem adorned with her wry humor.

    Leah Libresco Sargeant: I pick “How to Run a Cemetery” by Ann Thomas. It’s a story of stewardship in small things, and the way that preparation for death makes us ready to live our lives.

    Jake Meador: My pick is Ashley Lucas’s piece on Russell Maroon Shoatz. “The End of Rage,” summarizes what long-form Christian journalism can and should be – complex, careful, and morally serious.

    Marianne Wright: The piece I’ve brought up most often in conversation is the interview with Amish farmer John Kempf on regenerative agriculture; everything about it is unexpectedly hopeful, and I think we could all learn a lot from Kempf’s generosity of spirit.

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