Understanding our faith through the prism of story

KAMPALA, UGANDA—Ask award-winning ChristianWeek columnist Thomas Froese whose stories he most wants to share and three images spring to mind.

"They're all from a roadside," he says. "The first is from Yemen, where I once saw the most remarkable feet. Think prodigal son feet. They're beat up, and in sandals that are battered and torn and ready to be thrown out...

"The second is of, for lack of better terms, a corner store in Uganda...a cheap wood-thatch structure that will fall if you huff too hard. Several kids stand in dirty and rotting clothes. One, in back, doesn't have any clothes at all…

"The third is of a coffin-maker in Kampala…There's the proprietor, with a rather dour look, kneeling beside one coffin for sale, with another one, a kid's coffin, placed innocently on top."

Froese brings more than 20 years writing experience to his role as a ChristianWeek columnist, looking at issues of faith, culture and the developing world. For him, telling the stories of people like these not only helps us keep in touch with "the reality of our world and the reality of God's world" they also shine a special light on our own spiritual journeys.

"I write through the prism of who we are as spiritual beings in a world that's both beautiful and broken," he says.

"With these stories of the have-nots, we, myself included, get a mirror held up to us…Because like that man with the prodigal's feet, we're all rather battered and lost. Like those half-naked children, we're all starving beggars. And like those Ugandans who will fill those coffins, life for any of us is short. We're all in this thing called life together."

Froese has been writing for ChristianWeek for five years. In January, he launches a special new column looking at global issues in the light of personal faith.

"I feel that ChristianWeek is saying, 'We want to encourage you to grow in Christ and to be salt and light to your neighbours. But to do that, think globally. …Think about the words and pictures from other places. And let them, in some small way, change you.'"

Froese is an important part of a wider, award-winning team of ChristianWeek writers covering issues like development, politics, health and entertainment, through the lens of Christian life and faith, with a focus on helping readers understand and impact the world around them.

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