As we are now into a new year, I want to thank you, our readers, for your support and readership. We look forward to serving you in 2022 with more thoughtful articles, news, and reviews to spark spiritual conversations and reflections. But let us look back one last time to some of our best from 2021.
We already shared with you our most-read online stories from last year. Now we want to share some of our top picks, chosen by us, the Banner team. Every year, we have to choose entries to submit to the Evangelical Press Association and the Associated Church Press awards competitions. Based on our entry choices for the EPA, therefore, here is a partial list, in no particular order, of our top picks, which we hope you didn’t miss reading or seeing this past year. Were any of these your favorites too? What were your top picks from 2021? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial: “Signs of Domesticating Scripture,” by Shiao Chong (November 2021) - This editorial highlights three signs that show you might have unintentionally domesticated Scripture into a tool for your bidding rather than humbly hearing its divine authority.
Feature Article: “Finding Narcissism in Church,” by Chuck DeGroat (January 2021) - DeGroat draws from years of counseling pastors and church planters to help us see the warning signs of narcissists in the church. He also exposes our own flaws in following such leaders.
News Story: “Canadian Board Supports Restructuring,” by Alissa Vernon (September 2021) - It’s not always easy to report on large and long meetings. It is doubly so when it’s on Zoom. Adding in the tensions of difficult major decisions including restructuring, binational relations, and even the dismissal of a Canadian Ministry director, it takes a lot of skill and work to cover the story accurately and objectively.
Poetry: “The Agony of a Son,” by Habib (Bill) Steele (April 2021) - We don’t often publish poems in The Banner. But we had a few of them in 2021. It was tough to pick one as a favorite. But this touching poem narrowly won out over the others.
First-Person Article: “How Sept. 11 Changed Me,” by Christina Ray Stanton (September 2021) - Stanton’s re-telling of her harrowing experience on that day is gripping.
Biblical Exposition Article: “The Shalom-berg,” by Kelly Vander Woude (February 2021) - With so many articles that touch on theology and Scripture, it was difficult to just pick one. But this Faith Matters article nicely explains what “shalom” means in the Bible and how it affects us.
Critical Review: “What WandaVision Teaches us About Grief,” by LeMarr Jackson (May 2021) - A superhero series becomes an exploration on how “hurt people hurt people.”
We don’t want to ignore some great artwork and graphics from the past year. Here is some art our design team is proud of.
Magazine Cover: April 2021
Original Art: “Does Being Overwhelmed at My Job Mean I’m Doing Something Wrong?” Art by Laurie Sienkowski (February 2021)