Category Archives: Editors Extra

Leaving on a Jet Plane

By Karen Stiller

This Friday, Faith Today has a unique opportunity to visit the work in the field of one of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s affiliates, Samaritan’s Purse.

School children will have access to a dependable source of clean, safe water.
School children will have access to a dependable source of clean, safe water.

I am joining a team of other Canadian volunteers to travel to Cambodia on a Water for Kids project. We will be camping out — literally camping out (and that means tents) — at a school where we will install water filters paid for by the team itself. Each of these specially adapted filters can meet the U.N.-established daily water needs of about 250 children.

The ingenious BioSand filters are used by many organizations around the world, to provide low-tech solutions to bad water in communities. And it is a Canadian-made solution (invented by retired University of Calgary professor Dr. David Manz) adapted from ancient ways of cleaning water using sand and other natural materials.

In Cambodia, Samaritan’s Purse Canada has partnered with a number of local organizations to build and install more than 122,000 BioSand Water Filters since 1999.

Our team will also be working with school-children to have some fun and educational opportunities. Hint: I’m buying face paint later today to take along. We will also witness some of the work to fight human trafficking that Samaritan’s Purse does in Cambodia, a country tragically known for its high rates in trafficking.
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What the Best of Christian Press Awards Really Mean

In the Champagne meeting room of the “can’t get much more downtown than this” Novotel Toronto Centre, just a stroll away from the historic Union Station, an unusual awards ceremony unfolded last Friday evening.

Christian Courier Editor-in-Chief Angela Reitsma Bick with Ian Adnams, outgoing president of the Canadian Church press. A Christian Courier story won one of two A.C. Forrest Memorial Awards for excellent in religious journalism at this year's awards.
Christian Courier editor-in-chief Angela Reitsma Bick with Ian Adnams, outgoing president of the Canadian Church Press. A Christian Courier story won one of two A.C. Forrest Memorial Awards for excellence in religious journalism at this year’s awards.

It was the 2014 Best of the Christian Press Awards, the celebratory ending to the two day meeting that proceeded it: a coming together of members of the Canadian Church Press and the Associated Church Press for workshops, networking and business. The gathering was about 100 journalists, writers and editors strong, representing magazines, newspapers and websites throughout North America.
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Happy Easter

As we enter Easter,  Faith Today gathered a handful of quotes for your reflection on this weekend of somber remembrance and joyful celebration. 1850689MidRes

“And as he rose from the dead he triumphed over all the bad and ugly things in this world — like crosses and guns and bombs — and things like violence, murder, hatred, racism, and all the stuff that destroys life. The promise of Easter is that after the world went dark on that Friday dripping with blood, the sun will rise again.” -Shane Claiborne, “Death Be  Not Proud: The Easter Gospel of Non-Violence

“The first explosion brings him out of the tomb. Wow. “My Lord and my God.” The next one, the Big One, will bring us all out. And it will rearrange the entire topography of the world: spiritual, political, medical, ecological, aesthetic—you name it. The Lamb-become-Lion will toss away the crown of thorns for a crown of light, and true religion and true justice will reign in him forever. Quite a weekend, this Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Happy Easter. Not what they might appear to be. Nor is Jesus quite what he appears to be. Thank God.” – John Stackhouse, “The Subversiveness of Easter

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” – John R.W. Stott

“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”
– N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.

“Left to my own devices, I’d probably skip Good Friday. But I suspect that if I did, Easter morning would become increasingly hollow. I’d forget how much my salvation cost.” – Carolyn Arends, “What’s So Good About Good Friday?

“From the resurrection of Christ a new and purifying wind can blow into the present world. If a few human beings would really believe this and would let themselves be moved by this in their earthly behavior, much would change. To live from resurrection – that indeed is the meaning of Easter.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Mystery of Easter. 

“Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.” – Ravi Zacharias

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” – Billy Graham

“The disciples bear the suffering laid on them only by the power of him who bears all suffering on the cross. As bearers of suffering, they stand in communion with the Crucified. They stand as strangers in the power of him who was so alien to the world that it crucified him. This is their comfort, or rather, he is their comfort, their comforter (cf. Luke 2;25) This alien community is comforted by the cross. It is comforted in that it is thrust out to the place where the comforter of Israel is waiting. Thus it finds its true home with the crucified Lord, here and in eternity.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship.

My Difficult And Rich Experience Being A Pro-Life Campus Activist

by Karen Stiller

A Canadian university  campus just might be one of the most difficult  places to be actively pro-life. We’ve all heard the disturbing reports of pro-life groups being shut down by totalitarian-style student unions, of displays ripped to shreds, of cancelled events and banned speakers.1803098MidRes

As we gather  testimonials for a fascinating spread in our upcoming May/June Faith Today from students across the country who are actively pro-life on campus,  the years fall away and I’m back at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.

It was 1989 -1990, the last two years of my undergraduate degree when I was swept into that city’s pro-life movement. The heat had risen because a Morgentaler clinic opened up. Pro-life activists in Halifax were galvanized for action.

I was new to being pro-life (in fact, had been just the opposite for many years). I was compelled to change my position because of my newly-committed life as a Christ-follower.  I could no longer reconcile abortion and its tragic lack of imagination as a solution for women and their children, with the compassionate Christ I now followed.

I went from being ardently pro-choice to picketing outside a clinic on the other side. How I hated that experience of picketing, which was the experience of being hated by those who disagreed.

Things accelerated on campus.

My boyfriend and I (now husband for 25 years) started Students for Life, a pro-life group at Dalhousie. Our posters (before they were ripped off the walls of course) attracted a motley crew who met together weekly to plot strategy. Our activism consisted mostly of information tables and posters. We used material from Feminists for Life because we thought it had the best intellectual appeal.
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The Power of Good Stories Well Told

By Karen Stiller

Last night I sat in a packed movie theatre in Oshawa watching The Drop Boxdrop_box

It is, of course, the inspiring story of Pastor Lee Jong-Rak who installs a dropbox for unwanted babies in the outside wall of his Seoul home. The little compartment is lined with a blanket, equipped with a warming light bulb and can be opened from outside the home — to deposit baby, sometimes with umbilical cord still attached — and  from inside the home to a bittersweet welcome. Bitter because no one is happy when a baby is abandoned. Sweet because the first thing Pastor Lee does is hold the child closely and thank God for the miracle in his hands.

There is a red glowing button that triggers a doorbell to alert Pastor Lee and his family (including at the time of filming about 15 children, many of them disabled) that someone new is about to enter this chaotic, messy, drooling, happy family.

I was struck with the expected things: the selflessness of the Pastor, his wife, daughter and the children who embrace the presence of each other. The value of “imperfect life” as seen in the severe handicap of the Pastor’s own son, a heartbreak that clearly broke the Pastor’s heart completely open, preparing it to receive what was to come: one after another after another less than perfect and less than wanted child, here perfectly loved, fully wanted.
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2014: A Good Year for Faith Today and Christian Journalism

We’re not saying we’re going to win. We just think our writers our winners!

Yes, the Oscars have rolled up the red carpet, but for Canadian Christian publications, it’s awards season. No statues of golden men await, but responding to the calls for entries for the Canadian Church Press awards, as well as the Write Canada awards, does give us the opportunity to dig through the past year’s magazines and find what we think was the best of the best.

We are just finalizing our choices, but so far, we’re narrowing in on selections like Arthur Boer’s excellent cover story on reclaiming our lives from being so very busy and questioning the clobbering our spirits can take from so much technology. “What happens to you and me, to our hearts, to our own compassion, when we live in a nonstop, 24/7 world of demands and more demands? When we are bombarded with messages that we need to multitask and get more done? The rapid pace of our lives is one of the most pressing spiritual challenges to Christian life today,” writes Boers.

Then, there was Mark Buchanan’s thoughtful essay with the intriguing title: “I’ve been meaning to tell you this: Confessions of an ex-pastor.”  Here’s a sample of what Mark wrote: “And then it became startlingly clear. The church hadn’t failed me. I had failed the church. I had not fully lived up to my calling. So these five confessions are exactly that – admissions of failure, cathartic for me, and perhaps helpful for you.” We’re considering entering that piece for its crisp creative design as well.

An article that told the story of soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder might make our short list : “This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide – more than 800,000 slaughtered in one of the ugliest bruises on our world’s heart. Back in 1994, many of us couldn’t even bear to watch an entire story about it on The National. It could give you a nightmare and leave a bad taste in your mouth for days to come. Imagine being there.”

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Awkward Interview Moments

So there I sat in a little cozy room at the Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto, chatting to Franklin Graham and his entourage about Eliza Doolittle. Yes, Eliza Doolittle.

Part of my very sophisticated pre-interview warm up strategy involves small talk. Small talk is hard with Franklin Graham. I was trying to relax myself primarily. This straight shooting Southern guy who I’m sure has been interviewed by a million people, did not seem in need of relaxation. But as I set up,  I explained how I would be taping the interview using an iPhone app I had learned about from a journalist, Eliza Doolittle, who had travelled with Graham to South Sudan. I had heard her speak and asked her about the app. And now I use it. (And isn’t that the most amazing coincidence, I chortled).
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Ten New Features Coming in the Re-designed September Issue

Cover redesign
Cover redesign

Including sneak-peaks at five redesigned pages!

  1. Beautiful new layout. Top-notch designer Janice Van Eck ( led us to re-envision every page. Our articles read better than ever, thanks to more soothing white space, new fonts and column structures, fresh use of pictures and many other changes.
  2. A new social issues summary page, called At Issue, giving you what you need to know about a topic such as poverty in Canada, prostitution or freedom of religion.
    Kingdom Matters redesign
    Kingdom Matters redesign
  3. New arts coverage. Canadian Creatives showcases the work of visual artists who are Christian, and Reading the Bestsellers applies an evangelical perspective to our country’s most popular books.
  4. A new Infographic page that illustrates complex ideas or useful statistics in an attractive, visual way, drawing on the unparalleled research expertise of our publisher, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
  5. A practical new column of Inspiring Ideas for ministry – derived straight from Canadian churches.
    Q&A interview redesign
    Q&A interview redesign
  6. New surprises in the margins. Tucked away between the columns on various pages you’ll find helpful factoids and stand-alone statistics. They’re fun when you want to browse rather than read, but they’ll still make you think.
  7. New opinion columns. Okay, we already started Sheila Wray Gregoire’s column Messy Faith and Kevin Flatt’s column History Lesson a couple issues ago, but now they’re really hitting their stride! And have you noticed our new-ish Business Matters series lately?
    Feature article redesign
    Feature article redesign
  8. New tagline. We’re now calling ourselves Faith Today – Canada’s Christian magazine. That’s because there’s no other publication like it in Canada: national in scope, trans-denominational in breadth, tucked firmly into the mission of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada but also telling the stories that all Canadian Christians love to read.
  9. Digital extras. A regular segment summarizing what’s new on the Faith Today blog, including glimpses behind the scenes of recent stories and extended reflections by Faith Today writers.
  10. Award winning features and interviews. Alright, we admit that Faith Today articles have been winning awards for three decades now. But when new articles win new accolades, then those will be new, right?
Essay redesign
Essay redesign

Faith Today will continue to offer a greater variety of trans-denominational, inspiring and challenging stories than in any other publication in Canada.

And our printed and digital editions can be delivered directly to your physical and virtual mailboxes, so you can read on the go, wherever you are.

Please let us know what you think at

P.S. to not-yet-subscribers: check out our no-risk trial offer at

Why I am Pro-Life

Photo by Christine Reid

I am firmly pro-life. My opposition to abortion is not based on a careful study of the issue, although it may have begun that way. My position on abortion has been cemented by my family experience.

My wife became pregnant just a couple of months after we were married. We were very excited about the baby and we began to purchase clothes almost immediately. Not long after, we noticed the bleeding. A trip to the hospital brought the dreaded words from the doctor, “It looks like you are having a miscarriage.” As we were leaving the hospital, one of the nurses said to us, “There you go, good as new.” No we were not as good as new. We were grieving deeply. It was not just a disappointment of being delayed in growing our family. We were grieving because our child had died. We had even named our child, even though we did not know the gender. It is hard for me to understand how some parents could choose to experience something that was so devastating to us.

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What We’ll Be Reading This Summer

Faith Today asked a variety of Canadian Christian leaders about what they hope to read over the more relaxed summer season. Read on for the initial responses! 

Feel free to share your own reading recommendations with us by email or on our Facebook page, and we’ll add them in a future post. You may also want to check out recommendations from last summer.

Continue reading What We’ll Be Reading This Summer