To all those who have read my Religion News Service column over the past year: thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you. 

In February of 2013, I realized my dream of having a regular column where I could cultivate important conversations at the intersection of faith and culture. I purposed at that time to probe difficult questions that others may be afraid to ask and to create quality content that would challenge readers to think deeply about their own journeys with God.

Over the last 13 months, 700,000 people have read and engaged with the content at “On Faith and Culture.” Together, we’ve explored contentious political issues, shifting public opinions, relevant current events, and prevailing scriptural interpretations. My intent was not to be a preacher, but a conversation starter. Rather than offer all the right answers, I wanted to help raise the right questions. Sometimes these columns cost me, but I hope I’ve done my job reasonably well.

I am overjoyed to announce that “On Faith and Culture” has won the Wilbur Award in its category for 2013 (as did two other colleagues at RNS). This is one of the highest awards for excellence in religion writing and is awarded by The Religion Communicators Council, which was founded in 1929. The RCC “presents Wilbur Awards to encourage and recognize the work of individuals as they communicate about religions issues, values and themes; with professionalism, fairness and honesty.” Other winners for this year include Mitch Albom, Charlie Rose, and Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for “The Bible” television series.

As my column enters its second year, I renew my commitment to you to provide consistent, quality content. I’m sure I’ll fail on occasion, but I hope to succeed more often.

If I live a hundred lifetimes, I could never say “thank you” enough to those of you who engage with my work and provide thoughtful feedback and critique. None of this would be possible without you.

Grace and gratitude,

Jonathan Merritt

Wilbur

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Written by Jonathan