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    Editors’ Favorites 2023

    Our editors choose their favorite Plough articles published in 2023.

    December 30, 2023

    Caitrin Keiper: “The very idea of the hospital, after all, is born of the call toward hospital-ity and love of the poor and the stranger,” writes Brewer Eberly, in the context of a patient everyone found it impossible to like, much less love. None other than the classic movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles helps him and his team readjust their whole perspective and care for her like a friend: “Saving Friends.”

    Maria Hine: In an abandoned village in northern Spain, three old people who’ve lost everything band together to bring gifts to a lonely child, and in doing so, find new hope. “Gazapillo,” a delightful short story by Óscar Esquivias, reminds me that a child can bring us the true Christmas message anywhere and anytime, if we follow the promptings of our hearts.

    Alan Koppschall: In “Why Does God Allow the Innocent to Suffer,” Peter Wehner describes the constancy of difficult questions that have assaulted his Christian faith. He discovers, however, that the great Russian novelist, Dostoyevsky, grappled with similar questions, but rather than answering with the clean, logical, well-packaged arguments that Wehner found unsatisfactory, he answered with a kiss.

    Dori Moody: Foolish Generosity” by Elise Tegegne zinged my smug, pious mind. Am I ready to be played the fool because I see Christ in the poor and the afflicted?

    Sam Hine: What’s it like to be homeless in Rome? I’ve thought differently about what the poor need from us since reading “Strange Mercies” and a follow-up, “Princess of the Vatican,” from a new writer with a distinctive voice.

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    Photograph by tomerto /

    Shana Goodwin: Susan Delaney Spear’s essay “Where Do the Lost Things Go?” relates her grief after the death of her son by suicide. I appreciated the glimpse into Susan’s search to answer some of Christianity’s toughest questions.

    Maureen Swinger: Adopted children who carry the scars of earlier traumas into their new home may leave parents struggling with their understanding of family. In “The Stranger in My House,” Wendy Kiyomi reinterprets the picture of familial relationship as biblical hospitality. In reality, all of us need liberation from the “Christmas card criteria” – (healthy and doing well), instead entrusting everyone under our roof to God’s protection.

    Joe Hine: Navid Kermani’s heart-wrenching report on the drought and famine in south Madagascar is a window into human suffering that doesn’t often make the news headlines: “The Dust on All the Faces.”

    Coretta Thomson: Benjamin Crosby explores the often messy aspects of loving one’s enemy in “Foolhardy Wisdom,” a bold and wide-ranging yet compassionate essay. From sixteenth-century Holland to twenty-first-century X, formerly Twitter, from mundane slights to instances of outright abuse, this topic is both timeless and universal.

    Peter Mommsen: Letters from a Vanishing Friend” is a beautifully told true story of the friendship between a sixteen-year-old young woman and Ellen, who is gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s. Ellen’s vast store of humanity and wit – as well as her emotional pain as the disease progresses – communicate the hard-won wisdom of someone who “wasn’t a mentor but an example and a true friend.”

    Favorite Plough event: The Liberating Arts Book Launch, New York, New York
    In September we celebrated the publication of this new book and discussed the future of the liberal arts tradition with professor and author Roosevelt Montás and three of the book’s contributors, Zena Hitz, Jonathan Tran, and Jessica Hooten Wilson.

    Favorite Plough book: By Water: The Felix Manz Story
    In a city astir with dangerous new ideas, the son of a Catholic priest becomes a leader of a nonviolent revolution.

    Favorite PloughCast episode: On Giving Up All One’s Money
    Susannah Black Roberts speaks with Marianne Wright and Clare Stober about living without money.

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