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When Loons Call: Reflections on Conversations with our Creator

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.Gentle ripple

Orchid Theology

“God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.” —Francis Bacon, Of Gardens (1625)I adore orchids. Tending to them in my home is a hobby that brings me much joy. The beauty and variety in the orchid reminds me of God’s creativity and God’s loving care for every

How Do I Tell My College-aged Children I’m Worried About their Futures?

My college-aged children seem to focus mostly on hobbies. I want them to find joy and fulfillment, but I’m concerned about their ability to pay their bills in the future. How do I bring up my concerns with them?In my work in campus ministry I often listen to young adults wonder about their future. S

The Man in the Blue Crocs

One blue Croc, large and dirty, lay askew on the sidewalk. “Too bad,” I thought. “Someone lost a shoe, and one shoe without the other is useless.” As I kept walking on that sunny Sunday afternoon, I noticed a patch of blue far up ahead on the sidewalk. “You can’t be serious,” I thought as I approach

10 O’Clock and 2 O’Clock

“Knock, knock.” That was my cellphone letting me know there was a text message coming in as my husband and I readied for church. Turns out we weren’t the only ones getting ready for church that morning. I picked up my phone and saw I had been sent a picture of our new grandson, dressed and ready to

What Does ‘Faith’ Mean in the Bible?

What does “faith” mean in the Bible? James 2:26 (“Faith without works is dead”) seems to contradict Galatians 2:16 (we are “justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law”).Like all words used in the Bible, “faith” has a range of meanings that depend on its context. We should not expec

A Case for Self-Preservation

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.When dealing

My Journey With Chronic Pain

I have battled chronic pain my entire life.Born with cerebral palsy, my body is messed up. My muscles are extremely tight, deformity plagues my right side (particularly my hand and arm), and scoliosis means my back regularly slips out of alignment. It doesn’t help that I am 6-foot-7, making me frequ

A Strength-based Dementia Perspective

Since retiring in 2022 from a nursing home career of more than 30 years, I have been reconsidering my own perspectives on dementia. I attended the 2022 Dementia Action Alliance Conference in Indianapolis. When I checked in, the desk clerk told me to follow the yellow tape to find conference location

Flight Patterns of Soaring Souls

There goes my soul across the sky, soaring in a windswept V, a pattern of belonging, attached to the wild soul in front of me and the one behind. There above the earth, swept aloft by my Leader, the walls of tomorrow blend into yesterday, and eternity is the view from the heights.They watch

Why Don’t CRC Ministers Do Altar Calls?

I have almost never heard a CRC pastor include an invitation to commit to Jesus or offer any follow-up for those who might be seeking. Why?There is a reason, and it depends on how different branches of Christianity think about the purpose of sermons. In the Reformed tradition, the primary aim of ser

Being Missional Means Avoiding Insider Language

What does “will” mean?" my child asked. Lately, with inquisitive young children, our family devotions have taken twice as long as it does to read the children’s Bible story. I love getting interrupted by questions like, “Where does God live?”, “Why did the fish have to eat Jonah?”, or “How did Baby

Is VBS Still Relevant?

Early in my time in my role as director of family ministries at a church, a supportive retired pastor met with me for a consultation. He challenged me, “Is Vacation Bible School still an impactful form of ministry today?” The program began around the turn into the 19th century, he said, as a way to

We Need to Worship in Person

Technology can be a great blessing. Technology can also be misused. For example, the internet has made communicating far easier but it has also communicated misinformation.Technology proved a special blessing during the peak of the COVID pandemic. Without online worship services, people in a church

Reply All: September 2023

CuriosityI'm “curious” if “curiosity” was the intended or unintended theme of the June Banner issue. At least three excellent articles mention it as a positive attribute of Christian life—Bryant Russ’ “Becoming a Listener”; Brandon Haan’s “Culture War-ification of the CRC”; and Sam Gutierrez’s “Expl

Is Street-corner Evangelism Effective?

I have been to places where a person is yelling out the gospel to “sinners” walking by. Is street-corner evangelism effective?Effectiveness is an interesting word. Street preachers might go home and feel good about doing what they thought was right, which likely included “suffering for the Lord,” an

How Do I Forgive a Spouse for Lying to Me When I Can’t Trust Him?

How do I forgive a spouse for lying to me when I just can’t trust him?Dishonesty is painful, unsettling, and, especially in relationships, violating of trust. Trust is essential for a healthy marriage. Relationships can withstand tremendous amounts of hard truths, but they collapse quickly under the

사랑은 구원의 문제인가?

선한 사마리아인의 비유(눅 10:25-37)는 우리에게 늘 도전이 됩니다. 복음서 기자인 누가는 율법교사의 질문과 함께 예수님이 비유로 하신 말씀을 소개합니다. “내가 무엇을 하여야 영생을 얻으리이까?” 다시 말해서 구원받기 위해서 그는 무엇을 해야 합니까? 이 순간이야 말로 오직 예수님을 믿는 믿음으로 받는 구원을 가르치기 위한 가장 좋은 상황 같습니다. 하지만 그 대신에 예수님은 다른 질문으로 답하십니다. “율법에 무엇이라 기록되었으며 네가 어떻게 읽느냐?”구약 율법 전문가는 전심으로 하나님을 사랑하고 자기 자신과 같이 이웃을

¿Es el amor una cuestión de salvación?

La parábola del buen samaritano (Lucas 10:25-37) sigue desafiándome. Lucas, el escritor del evangelio, introduce la parábola de Jesús con la pregunta de un experto en la ley: "¿Qué debo hacer para heredar la vida eterna?" En otras palabras, ¿qué debe hacer para salvarse? Esto parece un escenario per

Is Love a Salvation Matter?

The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) continues to challenge me. Luke, the gospel writer, introduced Jesus’ telling of the parable with an expert in the law asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”—in other words, what must he do to be saved? This seems like a perfect setup for