The Banner

Light from Distant Stars

Department: Author: Cynthia BeachWait, what? That was my initial experience of author Shawn Smucker’s clever first line in his genre-bending contemporary novel, Light from Distant Stars. Protagonist Cohen Marah is stepping over a body. OK, I think, a detective story. Right? Wrong. By the end of the

Lubna and Pebble

Department: Author: Sonya VanderVeen Feddema Lubna and her father travel on a ship with many other people and arrive on the shore of a distant land. The young girl finds a pebble on the beach and takes it with her to a World of Tents, a refugee camp. When Lubna finds a felt-tip pen, she draws a s

United

Department: Author: Paul DelgerThe band Newsboys welcomed back former members Peter Furler and Phil Joel to offer a powerhouse new recording titled “United.” Furler, who was the lead vocalist of the band from 1997 to 2009, co-produced the record and wrote four of the songs. “United” has a 1990s New

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

Department: Author: Sonya VanderVeen Feddema In India’s Brahmaputra River region, a boy named Jadav Payeng lives on an island threatened by deforestation during each rainy season. Jadav notices the eroding land and the creatures who have died as a result of the flooding. He fears that people will

Late Night

Department: Author: Lorilee CrakerHonestly, I would see Emma Thompson in anything. Since the 1990s and her winsome streak of Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility, and 2003’s Love, Actually, I have been a firm fan of her warmth, intelligence, and fantastic sense of humor. Seeing Late Night was

The Wonder That Is You

Department: Author: Alison HodgsonThe Wonder That Is You by Glenys Nellist is a love letter of a book, figuratively and—dedicated to the author’s firstborn son—actually. From the first page, Nellist captures the overwhelmingly powerful feeling of experiencing parental love: “It felt as if the world

Love Running Wild

Department: Author: Paul DelgerTasha Layton sang backup for Katy Perry for four years and also appeared on American Idol. Now the South Carolina native has a new Christian EP (Extended Play) titled, Love Running Wild. Layton displays her beautiful, powerful voice with songs that have already made t

Biggest Little Farm

Department: Author: Otto Selles It all started with a dog named Todd. While his owners John and Molly Chester were away from their apartment in Los Angeles, Todd would bark and bark—so much so that the couple and their dog were threatened with eviction.Instead of despairing, the Chester’s decided

TRAPLINE

Department: Author: Micah Van DijkYeah, as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I pray the Creator look out for D Metz Cuz I ain’t really really been to church in awhile And there really really ain’t no church in wild - Hunger GamesAlmost 40 years ago, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious

A Personal Opioid Crisis Revealed in Addiction Nation

Department: Author: Religion News ServiceTimothy McMahan King’s opioid addiction began in the hospital.When a routine outpatient procedure went wrong, threatening his life and causing him severe pain, doctors put King on heavy doses of painkillers, including fentanyl.At the time, the painkillers we

Stranger Things: Chapter 3

Department: Author: David G. SwartzentruberMost TV shows hit a snag at one point or another. Take the problematic seventh season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, or the more recent eighth season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones. In both cases, the creative management failed to keep the story consistent, fresh an

Wrestling with Rest: Inviting Youth to Discover the Gift of Sabbath

Department: Author: Sonya VanderVeen Feddema Author Nathan Stucky’s exploration of Sabbath rest, especially as it pertains to youth, incorporates biblical exegesis, practical theology, sociological research, and the stories of dozens of young people he interviewed. His goal is to help anyone who

Mary Wears What She Wants

Department: Author: Jenny deGrootOn first glance, children’s book Mary Wears What She Wants appears to be a story about a contemporary little girl named Mary who wants to pick her own wardrobe. But this feisty Mary was born Mary Edwards Walker in 1832 in Oswega, N.Y. For very practical reasons, Mar

ANIMA

Department: Author: Jordan Petersen“This is a waltz thinking about our bodies / what they mean for our salvation,” sang Thom Yorke on “Suspirium,” a waltz written for Suspira, a movie about our bodies and what they mean for our salvation. Now on his third solo album outside of his band Radiohead, A

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Department: Author: Otto Selles In the 1970s of rural Alabama, the Rev. Willie Maxwell bought insurances policies for five of his family members, and he profited enormously when they died under mysterious circumstances. Thanks to Tom Radney, a tenacious local lawyer, Maxwell avoided any charges i

The Transportive Power of Audiobooks

Department: Author: Lorilee CrakerIt was 2011, and my family and I were stranded on a desolate stretch of Colorado prairie, waiting for the second time that trip for a tow truck to pick up our lemon of a minivan and haul it to be fixed. I burst into frustrated tears as my children literally played

There is No Other

Department: Author: Matthew CookeRhiannon Giddens’ new album, “There is No Other,” has the feel of music on the move. It’s about the human journey, wrestling with challenging themes of pain, loss, and hope—both individually and collectively. Writing about pain in the journey is not a new theme for

The Nickel Boys

Department: Author: Kristy Quist As idealistic achiever and fledgling civil rights activist Elwood Curtis hitchhikes to his first college class in the early 1960s, the car that picks him up turns out to be stolen, and in a moment all of his dreams for the future are in peril. He is sent to Nickel