The staff of iAt is forever grateful for our growing readership around the continent and around the world. Over the last several months, iAt’s readership has grown exponentially. October and November averaged out to just 23,000 monthly reader sessions. To put this in perspective, in January of 2015, our reader session goal was 5,000. Since May of 2016, nearly two-thirds of our visitors have been new readers of iAt.
Here is a list of the top ten most read articles on iAt in 2016. We are looking forward to 2017 with more cultural commentary on books, movies and television, as well as articles from a regular set of contributors. We will continue to feature our daily devotional series, along with our weekly series on a variety of topics and current events.
- What Does It Mean to be Pro-Life? Published in September of 2015, this article regularly reached the most read articles on a monthly basis throughout the year. Written by Erin Olson, this article was part of a series on being genuinely pro-life. Olson writes, “For me, as a mother, being pro-life means much more than just opposing abortion. In fact, opposition to abortion is usually one of the last things I use to describe my pro-life stance. For me, being pro-life means being pro-adoption, pro-foster care, and pro-social programs.”
Voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton Leading up to Election Day on November 8, iAt shared articles providing different perspectives on specific presidential candidates, including articles focused on Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Evan McMullin. The staff of iAt tried to carefully analyze all sides of the presidential election, with no endorsement of any candidate. This top ten article focused on why contributor, Wes Granberg-Michaelson, voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In Your Neighborhood Featured as part of iAt’s human trafficking awareness series, Jen Sandbulte shared insights to the luring of young teenage girls and boys in Northwest Iowa and the upper Midwest through the internet and social media. She writes, “The internet and social media has opened doors for traffickers to recruit our kids while we are sitting in the same room with them.” Sandbulte shares signs to look for and ways to help, as well as common threads to trafficking: bus and truck stop parking lots, town parks, main roadways, and places where large numbers of people gather.
Evangelicals and Trump In a series of reflections by pastors on the presidential election cycle, this article questioned evangelicals’ support of Donald Trump. Written by a pastor from Sioux County, IA, the author explains the history of the entanglement between the GOP and conservative Christianity, as well as gives encouragement for Christians to live with bold political imagination on loving our neighbors, feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger.
One Body Nicole Baart, a white mother of a multiracial family, with four kids from four different countries and a fifth on the way, reflects on the current racial tension in the United States. Baart writes, “To ignore the very real pain of the people groups who feel marginalized, ignored, threatened, and abused is to marginalize, ignore, threaten, and abuse Christ himself. We believe that it’s long past time for us to stop pretending that these issues don’t matter—that we don’t struggle with racism—and to start having real conversations about how we can begin shining a light into the dark corners of our communities and beyond.” She continues with advising iAt’s readers to admit racism is real, accept the implicit bias and existence of white privilege and to create a culture where our disgust in the face of racism is obvious. Baart also encouraged us to sit and really listen to the marginalized in your community and to stand in the gap by educating, advocating and combating subtle racism.
Christmas in Nigeria International accounting and business administration student, Matthew Ojo, gives his perspective on how Christmas is celebrated in his home country of Nigeria, one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa. Ojo effectively describes the ways Nigerians prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, from traveling to their ancestral village to gift giving to music and dancing. Ojo explains, “Whether to enjoy the cheer of the Africans at the Idumota Market or to know the deep legendary sagas of the Emir’s Palace, Christmas in Nigeria is the best time to be in Africa. Nigeria, with its traditions, glamour, and extravaganza, adds to the Yuletide spirit during the end of December.”
Dear Christians in America Another article from our series of reflections by pastors on the presidential election cycle, Aaron Baart writes a letter to Christians in America, urging readers to find more of our primary identity in Christ and less in our political party membership. He cautions iAt readers to not find an over-stated amount of hope in the candidates endorsed by religious leaders. Baart writes, “Go ahead and vote. Be engaged. Pray for our leaders. But let’s steel ourselves against getting swept up in overly simplistic and binary human-made divisions. And friends, please, let’s always invest our deepest hope not in the next occupant of the oval office but rather, in the one occupying the throne that even the most powerful office on earth must answer to.”
What’s So Bad About Porn? In this top ten article, Neal DeRoo attempts to examine the core of what makes pornography bad: “Pornography is simply what happens when consumerism remembers that we have genitals. It’s the logical extension of a world and a culture in which everything is thought of as being available for me to consume, if doing so makes me happy.” He explains that when we expect to eat what we want and go wherever we want to go and to look however we want to look, how can we be surprised when we want to have sex with whomever we want, whenever we want? DeRoo continues, “My point is not that porn isn’t bad, but rather that what makes porn bad is, by and large, the very same thing that we seem to take for granted, perhaps even encourage or support, in other parts of our lives.” He encourages iAt readers to be more aware of the ways consumerism in culture play a role in our interactions with others and in our need to have more and want more from not just material goods, but from those in our community.
Can Christians Believe in Evolution? In August, iAt featured a series of articles focused on the relationships between faith and science. Along with this article on evolution by Jim Stump, iAt featured articles on climate change and the big bang theory, as well as an article written by Richard Mouw with a helpful approach of world-viewing for faith and science. This particular article on evolution concluded that, “The essentials of Christian doctrine are not called into question by evolution, and there is enough flexibility among less central doctrines to find ways of harmonizing them with the truths of science.” Of course, the staff of iAt invites readers to study and evaluate the claims of the authors of this series in light of Scripture, and also to review previous posts on iAt that address various Christian perspectives on this topic.
Is Technology Bringing Us Together or Pushing Us Farther Apart? The addition of smartphones and the expansion of internet access has the potential to change everything in developing countries. Healthcare education, disease control and online educational tools are just a few of the ways this could change the country. We live in an age when we can have the information we want and need almost immediately. Want to know what the weather will be like? There’s a weather app for that. Want to find out who won a certain baseball game by a certain team and a specific day? Do a Google search. Want to find an address to a restaurant? Just ask “Siri” and she’ll direct you there. This article introduces a series written by five technology experts who share their opinions on the use and expansion of technology in today’s society.
What iAt articles from 2016 were most influential and helpful to you?