My Faith: 2011 year in review
A Muslim convert, an unlikely patriot, a U.S. senator, an atheist recovering alcoholic, and a labyrinth walker all share "My Faith."
December 26th, 2011
02:36 PM ET

My Faith: 2011 year in review

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–This year, here at the Belief Blog, one of our most popular features was My Faith. It was a chance for people to explore and explain their faith - or faithlessness.

There were submissions from across the religious spectrum and a host of comments from our loyal readers.

Our top five stories for 2011, in no particular order, focused on a U.S. senator, a Muslim congressman, a recovering alcoholic who's an atheist, a labyrinth walker, and an unlikely patriot.

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA
There was a sense this piece was going to do well because it was so well written and an interesting take, but we were stunned it did as well as it did.  Comments and social network shares went crazy when this piece hit, as it clearly struck a nerve with readers.  Marya Hornbacher was able to capture her awkwardness at the religiosity at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting; regardless of where you stand on the religious spectrum, you could relate that feeling.

My Faith: How walking the labyrinth changed my life
This piece featured Sally Quinn from The Washington Post's On Faith section.  CNN photojournalist Jeremy Moorehead interviewed and filmed Quinn as she walked, and lay down in, the labyrinth she had built at her summer home.  The piece was almost derailed by triple-digit temperatures on the day of the shoot, but Quinn and Moorehead powered through.

My Faith: Sen. Joe Lieberman embraces "the gift of the Sabbath"
There was something surreal about filming this in Sen. Joe Lieberman's Washington home. We knew he had a book coming out on the topic of the Sabbath and thought it would be different to go and see how he and his wife prepared for the Sabbath.  The entire time the crew and I were there, Hadassah Lieberman kept calling the senator "Joey."

My Faith: Why I don't sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"
When Mark Schloneger, a Mennonite pastor from Waynesboro, Virginia, wrote this piece, it stirred a hornet's nest of civil religion.  Commenters questioned his patriotism when he explained, "I love my country, but I sing my loyalty and pledge my allegiance to Jesus alone."  Schloneger even took to CNN TV to explain his views.

My Faith: Rep. Keith Ellison, from Catholic to Muslim
Rep Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, was the first Muslim elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.  We had covered several of his events in Washington and worked with his staff for a long time to make this happen.  The congressman allowed CNN all-platform journalist Chris Welch to follow him for a day in Minneapolis for this surprising and intimate look at his faith.

Other notable My Faith stories included Pastor Rob Bell on suffering, a priest who spent Christmas at the South Pole, and Leeana Tankersley on life as the wife of a Navy SEAL trying your faith.

What do you think - did we get the top five right? What were your favorites?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. usamerica777

    amazing though it may seem people do seek GOD when all else fails

    January 24, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  2. Obviously

    Pretend is FUN!

    Now go buy a Science book and grow up.

    December 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • geraldh

      As an Engineer I suspect I have read far more science books than you. There is nothing more amazing to me than watching the Nova programs. The one on genetics last week was most fascinating. I had always been lead to believe that mutations in genes caused new species. Yet the program showed that amazingly we have many of the same genes as lower life forms and that there is a switching mechanism in genetics that causes variations. Hmmmm. Switching. But switches take intelligence to turn on and off correctly. Science only more deeply confrims my belief in God. Continue putting your head in the sand.

      December 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Wow... Really?

      @ Geraldh

      An engineer doesn't mean you've read more science books than him/her, I actually doubt you've read much at all. Actually most of the bad scientists, or the very uncritical scientists I meet are almost always engineers for some reason. Also the switches that activate genes do not need "intelligence" in order to activate particular genes. It's a complex chemical process that does it. Did you literally think that god comes down to each and every one of us and flips a switch to activate some genes? That's a wholly unnecessary explanation.

      Of course "obviously" was also wrong in saying that reading a science book would refute religion. Science books don't discuss the validity or truth-value of religion, so reading one for that purpose is ridiculous. I would actually suggest "Logic and Theism" by Jordan Howard Sobel for that purpose. (unless you're that kind of person who disparages logical arguments because they refute religion and seem "inhuman" lol.)

      January 1, 2012 at 7:03 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.