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News from the Pews

Read personal stories of changing attitudes, transforming hearts, and congregation members being moved to action. Learn how churches and individuals have responded when faced with injustice. 

Pretendians: Indigenous Identity Fraud

Indigenous identity fraud has become so common that there is a “Pretendian List” circulating on the internet that includes Canadians and Americans.  The term “Pretendian” is used to call out a person who has falsely claimed Indigenous identity.  Many sectors of society and in particular universities are facing this fraud and the injustice it brings to Indigenous communities, students, staff and faculty of educational institutes. 

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Dissecting the Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act

God’s creation is an intricate tapestry, each thread – be it river, mountain, forest or creature – playing an indispensable role. The policies we enact either strengthen or fray this delicate fabric. Conservation isn't just an environmental concern; it's a moral calling rooted in our role of lovers, restorers, and healers of God's creation. As we grapple with environmental degradation, the solutions we champion must aim to heal, not merely for our sake but for generations to come.

West Virginia, Mountain Mama

I went to a writer’s conference last weekend and it was everything I expected and everything I didn’t expect. I mean what do you think of when you hear: West Virginia? "Take me home, Country Roads to a place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain Mama."  For a split second, I only referenced this song as one I learned in Elementary school, not as a John Denver classic. 


Shalom in the Not-Yet

As I moved across the Narthex, I could see my office door. Inside was a chair I knew I could collapse in and a desk on which I could place all the music, binders, and odds and ends that had accumulated in my arms since the end of the service. Just a few more steps. A few more steps. A few more—

—“Miss Bethany!” the girl cried out and bounded across the narthex to throw her arms around me. “I prayed for you today in Sunday school!”

Prayerful Action in the Meantime?

How do we work and pray for justice “in the meantime”?  What does prayerful action for shalom look like when we are caught in that awkward, ordinary time between our painful present and God’s coming future?  

Hope is the Heart of Christmas

“After 13 hours, it finally feels like Christmas!” exclaimed one of my granddaughters.  Her younger sister with a big smile tells me that decorating the tree and our home is the best part of Christmas.  Having my grandchildren come over to help decorate the tree, set up the Christmas village and help to prepare for Christmas dinner has been a long-standing tradition in our home.  A tradition that is held deeply and fondly in my heart.  However, Christmas is more than an occasion to decorate; more than a family feast; more than a holiday from work and school; more than giving and r

Black and White Binary

We have seen the harm that is brought about by extreme polarity or unwavering binary belief (also described as dualism). And still we can find ourselves gravitating in that direction; is it human nature, or just the easiest way to order our worlds and soften the struggle? Sociologists have studied its negative effects on societies and people pushed to the margins within those binary cultures for many different reasons. I have also seen evidence of this in the natural world where signs of disaster or unhealthy ecosystems get reduced to binary qualities or even worse, monoculture.

Heartbreak’s Song

Mindful to not attract the attention of my family, I go off to a quiet corner of my house, carefully shut the door—and cry.

This time, my cascade of tears began with a song on social media of a mother singing to her grown child of her heartfelt love, and of her delight in the wonderful person they grew up to be. With joy, she sings of her pride in her child’s life choices and the good life they built for themself. 


Intersecting Benevolence and Justice: Looking Beyond Needs

If there’s one thing Christians want to do, it is to help. We know we’re called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and look after the sick (Matthew 25). We see people in our communities and around the world who don’t have what they need to thrive. We want to be Christ’s hands and feet, not only to provide for people’s material needs, but to point them toward the love of Jesus. 

Columbus the Last Crusader

Christopher Columbus, so brave and true, sailed the mighty ocean blue, in fourteen hundred and ninety-two, and found a land so bright and new! Or so the hagiography goes. Brian Walsh and Rick Middleton in their book, Truth is Stranger Than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age make the case for reimagining the heroic Columbus narrative in the light of the Indigenous perspective that saw the 1492 “discovery of America” in a completely different way.


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