The Banner

The Comeback King

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.” —Matthew 25:31In a small studio in Memphis, Tenn., Elvis Presley and his newly formed quartet of musicians recorded a song with a pulsing eight-bar blues progression. Called “Heartbreak Hotel,”

Church Potlucks and the Sharing of Blessings

“Next week is church potluck again! My favorite!” says my 11-year-old son while reading about the upcoming events listed in the church bulletin. He’s a food enthusiast, but interestingly is not a huge fan of eating at buffet restaurants. I think he prefers the celebratory atmosphere at church.My mot

The Biggest Cup

It was a typical Sunday afternoon on the West Coast of Canada. The unrelenting pitter-patter of rain on the windows had me feeling a little Noah-esque. My family and I had just finished our bowls of Sunday soup when my son broke the silence.“Dad, I have a question about church.”I took a sip of my co

Should I Be Scared of Artificial Intelligence?

Should I be scared of artificial intelligence?My default position on any new technology is doubt and skepticism. Blame my Calvinist underpinnings for that but has the latest-greatest ever really lived up to the hype? Even the experts aren’t sure (or aren’t sharing) exactly how AI works. Could this p

Soft on Sin?

I think the Pharisees perceived Jesus to be soft on sin. After all, they complained about Jesus eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 9:11; Mark 2:16; Luke 5:30; 15:2). In Jesus’ ancient culture, “table fellowship indicated intimate relations among those who shared it” (The IVP Bible Backg

Creation’s Voice: Do You Hear What I Hear?

As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.Is that singi

Harmony and Dissonance

All my life I have enjoyed different types of music. I have found that music tends to move me on a different level. Often in our Western way of thinking and learning, we value head knowledge. We understand things with our minds by having them explained to us in a logical fashion.One of the things I

Should I Tell My Friend His Healing Wasn’t Miraculous?

A friend with a serious illness recovered quickly. He believes that God miraculously healed him. Medical websites say some people with that illness naturally recover quickly. Should I tell him?You and your friend can praise God for the healing regardless of how it happened. Should you tell your frie

Prayer is Not About Winning God Over

As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.Three and a h

Celiac Facts Every Church Should Know

Communion, after-church cookies, church meals, and even snacks at Bible study can be awkward for me.Why? Because I have celiac disease.Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. If you’re a celiac, eating even tiny amounts (crumbs) of gluten can trigger an autoimmune reaction that damages the small i

On Questions and Criticism

If you’re seeing this column, you’re at least a casual Banner reader, but if you’re new to the magazine, there might be some things you don’t know. Here’s a quick primer:1. If you have a question or criticism, The Banner’s Reply All section is for you. We appreciate readers digging into the implicat

Should My Friends Move for a Job? How Can I Help Them Decide?

Friends of mine are struggling to decide whether they should move for a job. It sounds like a great opportunity for her, but she and her family are happy here. What advice can I give them, and how do I support them?It can feel like the obvious answer is that they should move. Yet life and vocation a

Let All Voices Be Heard

As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.Everyone has

Reply All: June 2024

To send letters to the editor, please see our guidelines at thebanner.org/letters.Conservative CompassionLike Monte and Tammie, we have a daughter who identifies as LGBTQ. My wife and I know by experience what it’s like to hold conservative Christian values and grapple with balancing grace and truth

What Is the Difference Between Spiritual Warfare and Culture War?

The language of “spiritual warfare” comes from biblical passages that use martial metaphors to describe the struggle against the forces of evil and death. This is often understood primarily in terms of spiritual powers, as in Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but agai

Body and Belonging

As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.Growing up in

Reply All: May 2024

To send letters to the editor, please see our guidelines at thebanner.org/letters.Disagreeing WellThe Banner article “They Disagreed Well” (Jan. 2024) on the deliberations of a 2022 synodical committee puzzled me. The executive summary of the related report states, “All Jewish writings from the anci

Would You Share Your Story?

Stories are my favorite. They always have been, ever since the time my sister opened the land of fantasy and fiction by reading stories to me before I could read. She would entice me to keep walking on long hikes by telling fantastical stories of giant lollipops and a fountain of rainbows on the moo

Depression Screening

Our family doctor had decided to do a routine depression screening as part of her examinations. The young receptionist handed me a clipboard with a sheet of questions. “Please answer these honestly,” she said, “and if there are things you'd like to share with the doctor, let her know.”I answered the

4 Ways to Avoid Clobbering Others with Our Prayers

I vaguely remember once sitting around the dinner table as a child after the family meal and my dad asking me to close in prayer. My brother and I were two years apart, and, like brothers, we got into it once in a while. So I prayed, “God, help Jim to be nice to me.” And then Jim interrupted: “God,