The Banner

Feliz Navidad

Department: Author: Felix Fernandez“Feliz Navidad!” These are the Spanish words for “Merry Christmas” that we love to say and sing in December. Feliz means merry or happy, and Navidad is connected to the English word “nativity” and means “arisen from birth.” So when we say “Feliz Navidad,” we are c

A Theology of Listening

Department: Author: Sara Korber-DeWeerdSome of us are better at listening than others. My youngest child, who has Down syndrome, often finds himself in the position of listener. He needs extra help learning new skills, so he listens for guidance. It takes him more time to process language, so he li

Same-Sex Relationships and the CRC

Department: Author: Gayla R. PostmaNote: Readers are strongly encouraged to read the reports referenced here for fuller understanding. A summary of the CRC’s position can be found at bit.ly/2Zl97Ro. In 1970, after Canada decriminalized homosexuality, synod (the broadest governance body in the Chri

How Do We Love One Another in Times of Deep Division?

Department: Author: Lorilee CrakerWe are living in a time of increasingly toxic conflict, exacerbated by not one but two social upheavals: the pandemic and racial tension boiling over. Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference, by Tim Keller and John Inazu, shows believers how to

Financial Literacy: We Can Do Better

Department: Author: Dirk PruisWe live in a time when a healthy financial life is increasingly difficult, particularly for young people. One big reason is that our culture has changed. We’re bombarded daily with thousands of messages pushing the benefits of consuming, teaching us to want more of eve

Hope for the Politically Homeless

Department: Author: Chelsea Langston Bombino, Katie ThompsonThe world today feels as divisive as ever, with a variety of topics pitting neighbor against neighbor and even Christian against Christian, as many cling to their tribes while others find themselves without a political home. Where does tha

Model Kingdom Disciples

Department: Author: Shiao ChongIt seems to me that Christians often under-appreciate, under-rate, and under-use the Beatitudes from Matthew 5:1-12. They are not read as often as the Ten Commandments, for instance. They are rarely mentioned in confessions or catechisms. Yet, the beatitudes paint for

The Church Life Chose Me

Department: Author: Emily Joy StrobleIt’s a well-known and often-quoted statistic that young people are leaving the church in droves during college. LifeWay Research published an article in January 2019 stating that 66% of Protestant American teenagers who attended church regularly as children (at

Writing Contest First-place Winner: Christian Love

Department: Author: Adam VanderleestThis year, The Banner sponsored an article contest for young adults aged 16-25 on the topic of “Christian Love in Divisive Times.” We wanted to hear what young people had to say about the difficult conversations being had in North America right now. We received 2

Young Adults Writing Contest Second-place Winner

Department: Author: Rheanna RosenthalThis year, The Banner sponsored an article contest for young adults aged 16-25 on the topic of “Christian Love in Divisive Times.” We wanted to hear what young people had to say about the difficult conversations being had in North America right now. We received

Writing Contest Third-place Winner: In the Flesh

Department: Author: Courtney ZonnefeldThis year, The Banner sponsored an article contest for young adults aged 16-25 on the topic of “Christian Love in Divisive Times.” We wanted to hear what young people had to say about the difficult conversations being had in North America right now. We received

What Really Counts?

Department: Author: Rev. David KollIn Acts 2, as the Pentecost story concludes, we’re told that “about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41). And in Acts 11:24, speaking of the diverse church in Antioch, we’re told “a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” In be

A Death Without a Funeral

Department: Author: Gayla R. PostmaOn March 25, 1987, we lost our youngest child. Gone forever was the 2-year-old, blond-haired, blue-eyed joy named Steven Richard. We prayed, our community prayed, our family prayed that God would heal him, but that didn’t happen. We didn’t have a funeral. Instead

Combating Anti-Semitism

Department: Author: Rev. Doug BrattI remember little about my visit as a 12-year-old to Germany’s Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. But I will never forget the silence of my parents and grandfather who visited it with my sister and me. That silence stretched out for what felt to me like hour

How to Walk Well Alongside LGBTQ+ People

Department: Author: Laurie KriegShe walked into church with her girlfriend late most Sundays.I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit. Her. Go talk with her. I had been speaking on stages for years, seeking to bridge the gap between LGBTQ+ people and churches, but the Holy Spirit had recently pushed me

Rewriting Belonging

Department: Author: Ruth Padilla-DeBorstThe hymn “All Are Welcome in This Place” warms the hearts of parishioners on many a Sunday. Yet we must ask if it truly reflects the reality of our local church or if God is calling us to break out of old wineskins to allow the Spirit to rewrite what “belongi

The Heresy of Individualism

Department: Author: Rev. Wesley Granberg-MichaelsonResearchers have studied veterans from the war in Afghanistan who have had trouble readjusting upon returning home. Many face depression, substance abuse, or even thoughts of suicide. Often, when questioned, they express a desire to return to the w

The Spiritual Significance of Trees

Department: Author: Mac WienerWhen all of my neighbor’s trees, the “forest next door,” were chopped down about 20 years ago, something changed within me: without warning or intention, I became somewhat obsessed with trees. I read the nonfiction book Trees of the Northern United States and Canada li

Saturday of the Harrowed Hearts

Department: Author: Debra RienstraHoly Week invites us to dwell in between. From Palm Sunday to Easter, we move between our daily lives and the devotional immersions of the week, placing ourselves briefly into each scene of the Passion drama. All along, we remain aware of what’s next: the palm bran

Reading as an Act of Peacemaking

Department: Author: Lorilee CrakerI was at an open house for my daughter’s high school when I met Mustafa and his daughter, Deya. Deya, the same age as my daughter, wore a soft blue hijab which set off her brown eyes. To be honest, I was a little surprised to see this father and daughter at an open