1. I wrote an article for Christianity Today about the how the internet has changed the way we talk about missionaries. I truly geeked out writing this piece, and did all kinds of research into early missionary biographies. (I ended up having to cut quite a bit of it out, but there's still some fascinating bits in there.) In the article, I compare the ways we talked about missionaries in the 1800s, 1900s, and today, arguing that the internet has made it possible and necessary for missionaries to speak for themselves, and to speak honestly. I wrote about online communities like A Life Overseas and Velvet Ashes, where missionaries encourage each other through very difficult circumstances while also helping senders back home to understand the realities of living overseas.
If you're not a subscriber to the magazine (why not???), you can follow this link to read the whole article.
2. I have read a lot of missionary biographies (A LOT), and while many contain incredible stories, high adventure, and inspirational thoughts, few are actually beautifully written. Running to the Fire by Tim Bascom is an exception. And not only is it beautifully written, but it also handles the complexity (ethical and otherwise) of missionary work with nuance and tenderness. If you're a subscriber, you can read my whole review at Books & Culture. (& if you're not, maybe it's time?)
3. The Red Couch Book Club at SheLoves Magazine chose Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr as their August book. Sara was kind enough to answer reader's questions about the book in a google hangout with me last week. I loved what she had to say about writing religious characters for a mainstream audience, and I loved that we got a sneak peak of the story in her next book. You can watch the whole thing here. In addition, a live discussion will take place in our Facebook group this Sunday, Aug 30 at 6pm PST/8pm CDT/9pm EST. You can RSVP here or just plan to show up Sunday, Aug. 30.