Staff picks: Our favorite Outlook stories of 2023

You've seen the crowd-favorite Outlook articles of 2023. This list includes the articles we love, but maybe you haven't seen yet!

Every year, data tells us what stories people read the most on our website. Perhaps you’ve seen our top 10 list! However, we published around 1,000 stories this year. That top 10 list is a small fraction of the work we’ve done. So we’ve decided to release a list of staff favorites this year to give some other articles the spotlight.

We are proud of every piece of content we publish, but sometimes there is a great essay that doesn’t get the readership we think it deserves. Or we saw how hard the author worked on our editorial suggestions, and something beautiful came out of their effort. Or an article spoke to us and we’re still thinking about months later.

On the best days, I love my job because we help people make sense of the world around us, whether that is guiding a writer to make broader connections or offering our readers a new lens. These essays represent that work. We hope you enjoy them, too.

Office Manager Alfred Walker

Do not destroy the one for whom Christ died

David Lincicum makes a Christian case for repealing the Second Amendment.

Fostering love, not fear

For her June 2023 editorial, Teri McDowell Ott goes to her local gun shop to learn a different perspective. Afterwards, she wrestles with fear and love.

What Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour taught me about church

“I know my experience at the Eras Tour made me a better pastor,” writes Hannah Lovaglio.

Book Review Editor Amy Pagliarella

Presbyterian gun owners address the complexities

For gun-owning Presbyterians, control is – and isn’t – a cut-and-dried issue, Leslie Scanlon finds.

A generational approach to ministry innovation: “Can I have the keys?”

Mark DeVries and Trey Wince encourage a generational approach to innovation.

Faithful cooperation across differences

Teri McDowell Ott, Editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, sat down with author, speaker, educator and interfaith leader Eboo Patel for a faithful conversation about his recent book, “We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy.”

Managing Editor Dartinia Hull

Closing a church faithfully

Doug Basler answered a call in 2020 to help revitalize a church. His true mission became a litany to leading – lovingly and faithfully – the letting go.

We bear the mark

Ben Weakley spent 14 years in the U.S. Army, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He reflects on the cost of killing and the work of healing.

The stories we tell

Rose Schrott Taylor tours the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, the day she learns about the death of Tyre Nichols. As a result, she reflects on the 60th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, the stories we tell ourselves, and repeating patterns.

Social Media Producer Jesy Littlejohn

The theology of bartending

Jo Wiersema, a University of Dubuque Theological Seminary student and bartender, shares their ministry behind the bar. Sometimes, they write, you can find the love of God next to a pint of beer.

The week I forgot where I put my shoes

A poem by Dartinia Hull.

Ministry over masonry

Too often, churches find that their crumbling buildings are standing in the way of their ministry. Where is God at work in this, Eliza Jaremko wonders?

Digital Content Editor Rose Schrott Taylor

Enduring the shadow: Pastoral identity on Trans Day of Visibility

When we embrace visibility and vulnerability, we can find a God-given sense of belonging in the make-up aisle, at a civil protest, and – if we allow it – in the church, writes trans woman and pastor Lucinda Isaacs.

Can AI disrupt the role of pastors?

With the recent release of ChatGPT, anyone can use artificial intelligence to produce papers or sermons. What does this mean for the art of sermon writing and for the work of pastors, wonders RJ Kang?

My death and resurrection as a chaplain

During his days interning as a hospital chaplain, Eric Nolin found a new understanding of life in Christ, even though it felt like death to get there.

Editor/Publisher Teri McDowell Ott

When death becomes you: My journey towards becoming a death doula

Dana Moulds taps into her deep intuition to find her calling as a death doula.

On women pastors and biblical authority: A Presbyterian reflection

Responding to the Southern Baptist Convention’s actions to explicitly bar female pastoral leadership, biblical scholar Frances Taylor Gench reflects on how the PC(USA) engages Scripture that instructs women to be subservient such as 1 Timothy 2.

The perilous and promising pulpit

“Before there is faithful preaching, there is faithful listening,” writes Thomas G. Long.