Posts tagged: Culture

What to Expect...

By Darrell Yoder on August 3, 2015

I'm excited to participate in this new Talking Points blog! I will be engaged in this conversation primarily as a practitioner, a pastor who spends a lot of time thinking about and engaged in the practical issues we face in the Church. My role at GRTS though—working with and mentoring future pastors; planning and coordinating our Talking Points conferences—offers me a unique glimpse at what the seminary…

Connecting the Seminary and the Church

By Darrell Yoder on August 17, 2015

I was raised in the Church. I came to faith around 10 years old in a rural Mennonite church in Northern Indiana. Thirteen years later, when I decided to go to seminary, many people around me had no idea what a seminary was (none of our pastors had ever gone), and they wondered about the value of "going to school for so many years."

During seminary, then, I was both inspired and disillusioned. I was…

Traveling and Digging into Redemption

By Kris Rolls on October 14, 2015

In 2012, my wife and I packed up our things—well, two suitcases each—and moved to Israel for graduate school and a ministry opportunity. Our time in the land, and living in a small Palestinian village just outside of Bethlehem was one of the most amazing seasons in our lives.

Fear and the Loss of Compassion

By Darrell Yoder on December 21, 2015

It's Christmas, and millions of people are on edge. Those living in the Middle East are familiar with this fear, but it's new (or at least more intense) for many of us. We've watched with horror as ISIS fighters commit atrocities and export their violence to Africa, Paris and (perhaps indirectly) San Bernardino. We hear about the growing domestic threat in the US.

With everything coming closer to…

The First-Year Seminary Student

By Jo Anna Kelly on December 28, 2015

You'll know us when you see us. We're pretty easy to spot. We're usually the ones walking around with a look of bewilderment on our faces, reeling from the impact of the day's most recent class discussion. Teetering on the edge between enthusiasm ("education is a gift!") and panic ("I'm in over my head"), we are actively addressing topics that force us to answer the question, "What do I believe?" We…

The Gospel vs. Resolution

By Kris Rolls on December 30, 2015

New Years is an interesting holiday that is loaded with all sorts of meaning. Around this time a few years ago I listened to a sermon from popular Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith. He titled his sermon, "Giving Up on Resolution." I remember it well because it was such a stark critique of what I thought to be "harmless" New Year's resolutions. Why wouldn't I want to lose weight? Get a gym membership?…

Responding to the Opioid Epidemic and Shortage of Addictions Counselors

By Catherine Mueller-Bell on March 14, 2016

Last month, NPR ran a story about the opioid (e.g., heroin) epidemic and the shortage of addiction counselors to respond to the problem. New Hampshire had been in the news as having an acute addiction crisis with politicians calling for more treatment options. It's good news that addiction and the need for treatment are getting attention (although we should acknowledge the tragedy that communities…

A Story to Tell, A Story to Live

By Jennifer Greer on March 21, 2016

We are new friends with different backgrounds, but we share one thing in common: we both have children with medical issues. Though I have faced emergency medical situations with our son for 10 years (and his genetic condition will continue to present lifelong struggles), this momma is in a new battle with her infant. Someone who knows a little of my story introduced us and thought I might be an encouragement…

The Cross and Christian Identity

By Kris Rolls on March 23, 2016

It doesn't take more than five minutes of watching network news to convince a person that we live in very dark and confusing times. American culture is deeply divided along fault lines of race, politics, economics, religion, and human rights. The world is longing for justice and significance, but more importantly, it is looking for answers and searching for identity.

Spanking: A Father's Perspective

By Darrell Yoder on March 28, 2016

In my own experience, spanking has at times seemed effective, and at other times it has failed miserably. There are times I may have used spanking too quickly, as a first choice in punishment, without considering other options, only to later wonder if it really was the best method. This was even more pronounced when my children didn't respond to spanking in the way I thought they would.

What Does Christian Parenting Look Like?

By Catherine Mueller-Bell on March 30, 2016

So, what does this look like day-to-day when one is parenting a biological or adopted child or caring for a child in an orphanage, foster home, or correctional facility, or reaching out to children who are homeless? I would recommend that our best example is how Jesus treated children, and I invite you to investigate this issue with me.

Walls

By Brittany Stichter on April 1, 2016

In this week's chapel, Darrell Yoder gave a message entitled "Walls" from Ephesians 2:11-22. He drew our attention to walls in our personal lives and in the Church as a whole, going back even to the Jews and Gentiles in the early Church.

On the cross, Jesus demolished the walls between us and the Father. He also demolished the walls between us and those who are different than us. While it doesn't…

To Spank or Not to Spank

By Catherine Mueller-Bell on April 4, 2016

One of the most common challenges for parents is deciding how to respond when a child misbehaves. Caregivers who are parenting don't always agree; they each bring their own experiences and assumptions and have to work out what they will do in their own family. As we explore this issue from a Christian Worldview, I would suggest that the Word of God from the Christian Bible is our greatest resource…

Finding Common Ground: Can complementarians and egalitarians flourish together?

By Darrell Yoder on April 13, 2016

In today's post, I'd like to highlight the Intercultural Lecture Series event that took place last month. Carolyn Custis James spoke on "The Blessed Alliance," which asked the question: How does the Gospel transform relationships between male and female and restore the "Blessed Alliance" that God envisioned for his sons and daughters from the beginning?

If you have wrestled with the role of women…

Unique Counseling Fields: Infant Mental Health

By Ashley VanBemmelen on April 18, 2016

A deep desire to help victims of trauma led me to the field of counseling. During my undergraduate days, I met therapists in Grand Rapids to learn about trauma counseling. I connected with therapists from private practices, inpatient facilities as well as outpatient services to understand what it meant to work in the field.

GRTS' Dr. John Hilber Commences Innovative Research

By Andrew Kischner on November 30, 2016

During his sabbatical, Dr. John Hilber, who teaches Old Testament here at GRTS, has been selected to participate in the Creation Project at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School's Carl F. Henry Center for Theological Understanding. We were delighted when Dr. Hilber agreed to share his experience with the Project thus far.

Does Israel's Last Prophet Replace Israel?

By Andrew Kischner on October 31, 2016

Dr. David L. Turner, professor of New Testament here at GRTS, will participate in a panel called "Matthew Within Judaism" at the upcoming meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. He will be in conversation with other scholars who study the relationship between Israel and the Church in the Bible, which informs Jewish-Christian relations today. We asked Dr. Turner about his work in this area and…

Intercultural Lecture Series: Pastor Kizombo Kalumbula Casts Vision for True Compassion in Grand Rapids

By Andrew Kischner on October 26, 2016

During his lecture, Kizombo Kalumbula identified what many in Grand Rapids already understand—that Grand Rapids delivers a Garden-of-Eden-esque existence for some while others do not experience the same benefits. For some, Grand Rapids defines 'family-friendly'; for others, it is, economically, one of the worst places to raise a family.* At the same time, Grand Rapids is ranked among the most charitable…

Voting Anxiety: Is There Another Choice in My Political Menu?

By Sergio da Silva on July 18, 2016

I grew up in Brazil. I reached voting age at a time in which the country was under military dictatorship. We did not vote for president, but we were legally required to vote for other offices. There were only two options: we could vote for candidates from the government-supported party or for candidates of the opposition party. During my college years, I reached a political conundrum: I did not want…

What Does Compassion Really Look Like? (Part 1 of 2)

By Kizombo Kalumbula on June 6, 2016

In January 2015, Forbes Magazine published an article, "The cities where African-Americans are doing the best economically." My city, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ranked 51st out of the 52 largest cities in America—second to last. Then in October, the Huffington Post, published another article ranking Grand Rapids 5th among the top 10 worst cities for Black Americans to live. It's hard to be Black in Grand…

What Does Compassion Really Look Like? Part 2: A Compassion Revolution

By Kizombo Kalumbula on June 13, 2016

In my last post I closed with two questions. First, could there be more true compassion going on in Grand Rapids than what meets the eye? Second, could it be that God is beginning to do something new in my city? There seems to be a paradox playing out here. On the one hand, Grand Rapids is ranked 51st out of the 52 largest cities in America where African Americans are doing the best economically, and…

The Virtues of Lament: How Lament Arises from Faith, Hope and Love

By Brittany Stichter on September 23, 2016

In this week's chapel, Dr. Mike Wittmer posed that the language of lament is not on our lips because we do not exercise faith in God's power over all things, hope for the new creation and love for our hurting brothers and sisters. If we have full faith, we believe that God will remedy wrongs. We do not grieve without hope, because we believe that God has a plan. It takes true love to grieve for and…

Calling All Christians: Love Your Enemies

By Josh Maurer on November 28, 2016

Recently, many excellent articles have been written addressing the election and the many implications for us as Christians in this "brave new world." I am under no illusion that this brief post will be sufficiently nuanced to engage all the necessarily specific questions that must be asked and answered. Yet, I do believe it will be another helpful and challenging contribution to the discussion.

The Pastor is Between Two Worlds

By Darrell Yoder on January 25, 2017

Almost 10 years ago, I sat in my office listening to Dr. John Stott share his heart about preaching. I wish he would have been in my office himself so I could ask him questions. Alas, I was listening to a recording of a course he taught many years prior.

A Detailed Account of the Israel Study Tour

By Jennifer Greer on May 1, 2017

A Fitbit or iWatch registers 5,000-7,000 steps a day walking the land of the Bible on our annual Israel Study Tour. For eight days, we literally step into the world of the Bible and immerse ourselves in the geography, history, culture and archaeology of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the "Intertestamental" period. We then step back into our modern-day context, bridging this ancient biblical…

How Traveling the Land Has Brought Me to Worship

By Jennifer Greer on May 3, 2017

Years ago, I took my first trip to Israel. We visited many of the biblical sites, but the tour also included traditional sites and tourist attractions and shops. Then, during my seminary student days, I traveled with a professor on a very different trip, studying the history, geography and archaeology of the land. I didn't realize until that trip how much I had missed the first time.

Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel (Fall 2017 Conference Highlights)

By Darrell Yoder on October 31, 2017

We took on a pressing topic this semester, one that Christians are actively wrestling with. The fall conference focused on "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." We wanted to ask the question: How can churches with a historical, global and Christian view of sexuality and gender become places where LGBT+ people can find love, care and community? How can we cultivate ministries where people can share…

A Change in Posture, Not Theology

By Graham McKeague on November 15, 2017

The opening session of the 2017 Talking Points event effectively laid out the major aspects of discussion. Dr. Sprinkle presented a number of important considerations for pastors, ministry leaders and others to pursue in ministry where "the greatest apologetic for the truth is love."

Five Ways Your Church Can Join the LGBT+ Conversation

By Andrew Panaggio on November 28, 2017

In session three of the Fall 2017 Talking Points event at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Dr. Preston Sprinkle and Laurie Krieg engaged in a dialogue to help attendees understand and join the LGBT+ conversation. They talked openly and honestly about how churches can come alongside people who struggle with same-sex attraction so that they do not have to struggle alone.

Responding to Persistent Structural Injustice

By Bailie Rouse on December 1, 2017

During chapel this week, Dr. Rebecca DeYoung shared two stories of individuals who have experienced persistent injustice. First she shared a story of her friend Douglas, who has been wrongly convicted and is living in the prison system. Despite the hardship of living in what seems like exile, Douglas chooses to trust God by persisting and living in victory and in peace. Then, Dr. DeYoung taught from…

What Marvel Movies Taught Me About College Life

By Bailey Linton on June 26, 2019

For those of you who may not know a lot about me, I would like to let you in on a secret: I love Marvel more than I love most things.

I grew up reading comic books and learning fact after fact about all things Marvel related. To this day, I can probably tell you exactly how characters reacted in situations in the comics as compared to the movies. That brings me to the thing I hold most dear about…