Comment Stream

John Flasman January 28, 2020

Thank you for your message. I am familiar with the Psalmsody website. I have visited it several times, but still have no information as to where I may acquire an instrumental of all 150 psalms listed in the Psalter Hymnal. I doubt if there is one in existence. I think that I will give up on this search, but thank you for your encouraging note. 

Aaron DeBoer January 28, 2020


Thank you for your kind words, I'm encouraged to find like-mindedness around what my mother (Verna De Boer, Nee: Kortenhoeven) used to say was; "the only thing we take to heaven with us".  Materially of course, she was being humorous, but theologically, the Psalms are part of God's inspired and eternal truth, which shall endure to all generations.  Mom would follow up her commentary about the "heavenly hymn book" by saying that; "If we're going to sing them in eternity, we might as well get good at it now".  God graciously gave us His prescriptions for worship, and a divine corpus of musicology which addresses all of the human experience, the physical, the emotional, and the eternal.

With regard to your desire for a personal accompaniment recording, I know not of one exactly like you describe, however, there is something close.  URCPsalmody is a youtube channel put together by a talented, young worship musician, in partnership with a younger minister in the United Reformed Churches (URCNA).  They don't yet have the whole Psalter in their archive, but it is nonetheless a delightful resource for both personal devotion, and vocational worship planning.


Bonnie Nicholas January 28, 2020

I look forward to seeing additional resources about teen dating violence. It's a huge issue and we need to be talking about it. One reason The Network exists is to share resources and discuss common issues, it's a good opportunity. One other resource, that is distinctly Christian and promotes Christian values such as the sanctity of marriage is the program Safe Church recommends for children and youth - Circle of Grace. It's not designed to be a sex education program and may not address dating violence directly, but it goes a long way toward promoting respectful relationships. It emphasizes the sacredness of all relationships as we live with God in our circle of grace. The program provides opportunities for adults, children and youth to interact, to identify and discuss potentially unsafe situations so that children and youth feel prepared to respond.

John Flasman January 28, 2020

Thank you, Aaron, for your great comment. That was great reading. You have it right, talking about the mini Psalter Hymnal as a constant companion. Now if I only I could find an instrumental CD of all the psalms contained in the Psalter Hymnal, I'd be happy. There are 150 psalms, so just the first verse with the chorus would be great. 

Dave Vroege January 28, 2020

Thanks, Mark.  I also enjoyed "The Road to Character," so reading your review of Brooks' next book has captured my interest.

Staci Devries January 28, 2020

Thank you for sharing this opening!

Staci Devries January 28, 2020

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries January 28, 2020

Hi Gary, 

Thanks for posting about these pews. Would you mind sharing where you are located? I'm thinking that might impact interested parties. 

Thanks again!

posted in : Used Pews to Donate
Bev Sterk January 28, 2020

Denise, I've been working on the 1 Timothy 2:12 verse that is often used by complementarians based on the 84 NIV (and a few other translations) to prohibit women in church leadership - I believe that particular verse is a HUGE hurdle for a lot of women to serve in leadership in the Church... I've heard a number of times of how "CLEAR" scripture is that it is only men that are to be elders/deacons/pastors... and it often leads back to this specific verse

As you probably know, the role of women in Church leadership has been anything but "clear"...  I did some research on this back in 2008, but put it on the back burner for various reasons... well, again for various reasons, it moved to the front burner, and over the last year and a half or so, I continued digging and researching the role of women again, going back to scripture, but this time, thanks to the increased information on the internet (and of course the Holy Spirit!!!) with the help of male and female theologians around the world, experts in Greek and Hebrew, and Bible websites that are amazing, I was astounded at what I discovered...

a context/lens for 1 Timothy that I've never heard/read shared in the CRC (or in any of my research back in 2008) is how Artemis was a HUGE factor in Ephesus... Interestingly, I found that it seems it is mostly in the last 10 years or so (thanks to the internet), that we have been able to more fully understand how Artemis was worshipped in Ephesus... Many of those who have already opened the door for women in office in the CRC moved on 25 years ago and stopped any further research as it wasn't necessary any more, since it was a done deal for them -however most of the information on Artemis was NOT available back then... and those who didn't agree that women should be in office are not going to look for ways that they might be wrong - they are fine with the status quo as scripture is "clear" and have no reason to question their position... that leaves a small group of those who are even pondering and researching the role of women in office these days...

Acts 19 talks about the riot the Apostle Paul caused in Ephesus due to so many converting to "the Way" from the cult of Artemis.  Ephesus/Artemis is also the context of 1 Timothy.  Paul, in 1 Tim, is addressing false teachings by certain people - men AND women (84 NIV limited it to "certain men"), and how a singular "woman" (possibly a new convert formerly involved in the cult of Artemis) is part of the problem promoting false teachings - that's why Paul is not "permitting" her to teach...  yet!  She needs to learn more about her new faith, and she needs to be encouraged to learn quietly (like everyone else who wants to learn) before she can teach others about the Way w/out confusing her new beliefs w/ the practices of cult worship!  Also, the women involved in the worship of Artemis were often LOUD! 

Whenever "epitrepo"/permit (1 Tim 2:12) is used in the NT, it is ALWAYS a case by case basis, never a universal command for ALL time!  Which sadly, is how it has been implemented over the centuries!

also, the non-biblical headings used in some translations are misleading (ie "instructions on worship" 84 NIV)... there has been no consensus on what Paul was addressing  in 1 Tim 2 - it has been assumed and represented that Paul is referring to the early church worship gatherings... what makes far more sense and fits far better, is this is a point by point corrective comparing the false teachings/worship of the cult of Artemis with the true teachings/worship of "the Way"/Christian beliefs... if you compare each aspect to the cult of Artemis, it lines up powerfully! including v15 re childbearing, which theologians have NOT known how to explain or what to do with that over the years and centuries!

I believe the context of Artemis needs to be tested and vetted and then shared... I have done my research and written a document going verse by verse to compare the correctives to how Artemis of the Ephesians was worshipped. I'm convinced this is the lens that we need to look at this passage with, and that has not been the case as far as I can tell...  I believe getting a better understanding of the 1 Tim 2 passage will help women in the CRC and beyond!

Bev Sterk January 28, 2020

One of the biggest aspects that we can help families focus on, is simply praying together.  I'm finding the "family altar" has pretty much disappeared from our rhythms for the most part.  There are lots of reasons why...  so restoring the family altar - a time of sharing the word, worship and praying together as a family is a key piece for the family faith formation.  Praying together on a family level and on a congregation level, seems to be an area that has been under-emphasized in the reformed tradition, at least in our more recent history.

Cheryl Saks has written several helpful books on prayer to help restore praying together...

Chris Roberts January 27, 2020

Thank you for your interest. All inquiries should be submit through [email protected]

Richard Sandstra January 26, 2020

Website made for easy posting... clear and simple, thanks.

Nathan Groenewold January 25, 2020

Izaak, again, I'd like to take this up in person sometime. It's an incredibly important conversation. A blog I read made me think back to this post. As I hear your arguments, I can't help but hear echoes of the words that have been used by evangelical Christians for four centuries, words that have identified the primary function of the gospel as saving hearts and souls while simultaneously overlooking or actively advocating for segregation and slavery. Here's a bit written by a Presbyterian professor in opposition of civil rights. To me, his words sound similar to the arguments above, and this is one of thousands of quotes like it: 

"I am troubled by the great amount of space devoted to the question of civil rights and race relations in the latest issue of the Guardian. These are not the paramount issues before the church today. In the dense fog of obfuscation which the liberal press has succeeded in raising even true Christians may lose sight of the church’s central purpose. That central purpose is the preaching of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Scripture makes clear that a Christian should do good unto all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith. He who preaches the gospel in its fullness (including the obligations of Christians to others) is doing more for Negro and White than can possibly be accomplished by any method which in giving rights to one may take them away from another. (October, 1964, p. 131)."

I think you'd agree with this quote, but it's placement within an argument against civil rights should ring some warning bells. It did for me when I first encountered the reality of how we've used our narrow spirituality to justify so many abuses in the past. Our Christian history is full of quotes like these, that, in response to calls for an end to slavery and segregation, call the church to focus primarily on the gospel, as if the gospel of Jesus Christ did not directly affect slavery, and as if it does not directly affect present-day iterations of slavery. Here's the full blog, if you're interested:

Safe Church Ministry January 24, 2020

Throughout The Book of Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu and his daughter offer a number of activities that help you understand their discussion on forgiveness. An interesting one is carrying a rock with you for a week that represents the issue you are struggling with to find forgiveness for. If you are creative and enjoy journaling about life, this is a great book - they offer lots of ideas for this!

Michael Bentley January 23, 2020

Seriously, this link needs to be taken down. I can’t show this to my youth group leaders, much less my church’s kids – and certainly not my daughter.

I see you're taking requests for better information I'll happily take some time and post those things here, and also as a separate article on the Network to correct this link if it's not taken down. 

Eric Van Dyken January 23, 2020

As for resources, I offer this to start from 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."  What vexing teen dating/relationship questions are we better prepared to answer by using the resources you listed than by turning to God's Word?

JoyceGB . January 23, 2020

Given the widespread use of cellphones an easy way to do "live translation" would be to set up a "conference call" by providing everyone requiring the translation a number to call.  They should mute their own phone and wear earphones.  If the service is being piped into another room or can be heard outside the atrium the person providing the translation can sit there and simply speak into his/her phone and everyone else on the conference call can hear the translation. We did this for a funeral and it worked well. We had simple instructions and the phone number on slips of paper which we handed out.  (Ideally those would be translated as well.)

Eric Van Dyken January 23, 2020

Hello Bonnie,

I disagree.  The church has no business recommending organizations that hold a fundamentally wicked understanding of human sexuality to guide us in understanding human relationships.  It's not enough to simply hope that people (especially young people) will exercise discretion.  We have no common ground with these organizations in understanding human relationships because they understand human origin and purpose in a fundamentally different way than we do and they have no conception of human relationship with God.  

Bonnie Nicholas January 23, 2020

Thank you Eric for reading and looking at the resources that are posted here on the Network. When we refer to outside organizations, it's not because we agree with everything that they say, or even that they hold a Christian worldview. However, these particular organizations are doing good work around helping teens recognize warning signs in a relationship that could lead to violence and harm. This information is important for teens (and adults) to know and understand. There is a lot of good and helpful information on these sites. We trust that those who read The Network can use critical thinking to determine what information is most useful, and that which doesn't fit into our Christian context. (We don't need to throw out the baby with the bathwater)

We wish there were many more Christian resources around teen dating violence. Please feel free to share any that you know of.

Eric Van Dyken January 23, 2020

Please remove all references to and promotion of Break the Cycle,, and Love is Respect from this article.  These linked organizations/sites do not promote God-honoring views of sexuality.  

One short example that should be clear enough:  From a Break the Cycle article entitled "Real Stories: Having a Healthy Hookup":

"So whether it’s because of our hectic schedules from school and work, or because we are trying to find out what we want and don't want in a partner, hookups make a pretty popular choice for people our age. Sometimes we just want to have good, safe fun without the pressure and responsibility of a serious long-term relationship..and guess what? That is fine, normal, and when done the right way, HEALTHY."

Caroline Kralt January 22, 2020

Robyn, beautifully said. Thank you for articulating the struggle so well. May your future hold increasingly more glimpses of the light. 

Caroline Kralt January 22, 2020

Thank you for your article Lesli, and for the resources you supplied. Much appreciated. Caroline.

Rachel Bouwkamp January 22, 2020

Yes! Our church plans combined services several times a year, Spanish and English. It is a continual learning process together, trial and error and a whole lot of listening! To start, I'd suggest bringing the worship leaders or teams from both congregations together to explore why you want to worship together and how that could look. I've found that focusing on relationship is more important than logistics, yet logistics are pretty important too. We have simultaneous translation available but songs are sung in both languages. Worship teams take turns leading. Sometimes we'll have prayer or scripture be only in Spanish, but the English words are then on screen to read. Food together before or after is a great way to encourage hospitality and togetherness as well. If you don't want to be together for the entire service, perhaps you could sing and pray together to start--each church leading a part--and separate for the sermon, coming together again for a meal after. It is a beautiful thing to worship together! 

Gary Vander Bent January 22, 2020

Good thoughts.  Somewhat helpful has been giving a 2 minute warning by ringing a bell and shutting one of the two doors at each entrance.

Amber Ebels January 22, 2020

Our 60+ group at Maranatha CRC in Holland, MI is called O.P.U.S. (Older People Up to Something)!

Angela Attema January 22, 2020

We recently changed from "Senior's Group" to "North of 60" and even made a little logo:)


Safe Church Ministry January 22, 2020

This is not an easy question. There is not time or space here to address it fully. It must be noted that Church leaders represent our Lord, their position gives them an authority and power, which can be used for great good, and can also cause great harm when misused. Therefore, we must hold officebearers to a high standard. That said, Church Order provides guidelines for reinstatement in Supplement, Article 84. For a more complete discussion, please see the Report to Synod 2016 that reviewed these related Articles. 

Bill Spaans January 22, 2020

Ours are called"Diamond Club".  Diamonds are formed through pressure and heat, which is certainly true for this group.  Many went through WW II.  And they do currently reflect the amazing light of the gospel to the rest of the congregation.



Janet deWinter January 22, 2020

In Newmarket, Ontario there is a group called Elderberries


Evelyn Oudyk January 22, 2020

Our group is called Seasoned Souls

Evelyn Oudyk January 22, 2020

That is an awesome name!  I love it :)


Lorie Hughes January 21, 2020

We call our senior group JOY Fellowship (for Just Older Youth). It's for men and women ages 50+. Older adults aren't fond of being called seniors, so we chose this more youthful name. It's been very well received.


Office Administrator January 21, 2020

Ours seniors program (in Canada) is called North of 60 :)

Mark Stephenson January 21, 2020

Jonny, thanks so much for the compliment. I believe firmly that our language can communicate respect or disrespect, and that means listening to how people would like to have others refer to them and respecting their preferences. So yes, the golden rule is at the heart of this post. I hope you find other helpful resources on our pages too. Here's what we're about: Disability Concerns helps churches become healthier communities that embody the whole body of Christ. Thanks for making my day and God's blessings. Mark

Alex Krikke January 21, 2020

Good article .......I guess. When I was in my twenties, I was motivated to donate 10% of my income to the church and other charities. I will tell you that I have never looked back on that choice, in fact I have been blessed beyond my expectations. I am now in my seventies, and am still doing the same. The problem I'm seeing though, is when you are a member of the CRC, you are also expected to send your children it a Christian school which breaks into the 10%, especially by young start up families. This places a heavy burden on your families and throw giving to church out of whack, plus, in the earlier days, the mothers needed to go to work to help pay for the financial burden placed upon them, thus in essence, handing over the burden of raising children to someone else, which in my view is totally counter productive in terms of raising your children. 
When the church starts asking  donation of more than 10%, I think they are out of line. Find ways to cut costs instead of hounding young families to pay up.

Hetty Stok January 21, 2020

These are great questions for so many people to ponder on. Thank you for sharing this.

Edward Gabrielse January 21, 2020

Just came from there!

"Senior Moments"

Melissa Deelstra January 21, 2020

Well written!

Rachael Klein January 21, 2020

Hi Bob,

When our church presents the proposed budget at the yearly Congregational Meeting, we have separate line items for our minister's salary, for wages for paid employees and those who get some kind of stipend, and for some of the expenses related to them (employment taxes, pulpit supply, accountant fees, etc.). In years past, we broke down the expenses related to benefits, but this didn't happen last year (we went through some big changes over the past few years, including a new pastor and new financial secretary).

Hope that helps answer your question.


Staci Devries January 21, 2020

Thank you! Helpful. 

Worship Ministries January 21, 2020

It can be either, Staci. It will depend on what works best for those involved. So while some coaching will be done 'in person', video conferencing will certainly make this accessible to almost everyone.

Staci Devries January 21, 2020

Thanks for sharing this! Curious, do most of these coaching sessions happen in person? Or are they also happening over the phone or via Google hangouts? 

Safe Church Ministry January 21, 2020

Thank you for noticing our resources - glad that you found them helpful. And thank you for your work providing intervention and treatment services.

Ryan Gray January 21, 2020

Thanks for sharing. This is a very resourceful list which can really make a difference for someone in need. I'd also like to suggest Domestic Violence Treatment Services provided by Comprehensive Counseling Services, LLC.

Jonny Lumbley January 21, 2020

Wow! This was an absolutely incredible response Mark! Seriously, I truly mean that!

Now, for anyone that may find themselves incorrectly thinking that this complimentary comment is in any way some kind of an attempt at brown nosing or sucking up to this author, then quite frankly you'd be terribly wrong. In fact, I hadn't the slightest clue about who Mark was prior to reading this article here. That's the honest truth. I have never read anything else that he has written, much less the comment sections for any of the other pieces that he has written, and I didn't even know that he was actually the person that had written this article until I finished reading the article; and even still I sort of glazed over that so I didn't really take notice of who the author was until I reached this comment section! So, to be completely clear here... this is not some biased remark or anything like that and I'm definitely not a paid for bot or fake profile either. Not that anyone cares, but I just wanted to go on record here by stating all of that.

 Why take the time to clarify this when it is, for all intents & purposes, a relatively moot point; especially given that most of the comments are practically a decade old & even the most recent update to this article, which may have only come by way of an overall update to this site in general? Well, it's simple... credit should be given where credit is due and I wanted to ensure that it was universally recognized as being the genuine compliment that I intended for it to be. With all the bots, fabricated profiles, paid for followers & fake news plaguing the world today in the world, I felt that this clarification was absolutely pertinent.

 So, once again... amazing response Mark. I certainly know who you are now &, with that said, I definitely look forward to reading more of what you've written & I'll also be on the lookout for other things that you may write in the future. Oh, and I had no idea that this was even a Christian website; not that it matters, but I definitely wanted to mention that because I didn't come here specifically seeking a Christian opinion on this matter. I just simply clicked on a link that was provided to me via a Google search about the topic at hand and that's how I ended up here. Honestly, I don't even align myself with any denomination or religious oligarchy at all and I don't have any intention of ever staking claim to be associated with any one group or solely following any teachings that are seen to be primarily specific to one belief or another.
Do I believe there is a God? Yes, of course. Is my vision of that God the same as yours in particular? Well, I can pretty safely, no it is probably not & it may not be anywhere even remotely in the same ballpark, haha. But I do believe there is a divine creator, something far greater than us and I believe that being to be a good/positive one; which also makes room for there to be a negative force within the whole of all of creation. Certainly, I definitely do believe that there is a rudimentary evil that exists. I also believe that there is more than just this life, that we have souls that carry on after this earthly vessel it travels within until it's time for it to move on for one reason or another. I believe the choices that we make now shape the trajectory of our soul's path once it's free from the ride it's currently on. And just as it is in anything, there are advertisements, manipulations and active recruitment actively in play by both sides of that good-evil paradigm So, in that regard, I feel that we can find commonality in our belief that there is, indeed, an ongoing spiritual war at hand. And I side with you as a warrior for "good" (I.e.; being a good person, one that shows great compassion for others, truly cares about all people equally, loved unconditionally, is kind to a fault, always unselfishly putting others first without hesitation and, to that last point, I'm s firm believer that the Golden Rule is one that should be paramount above all others because we should undoubtedly always treat others as we would want to be treated...a fairly novel idea I'd say as we are all humans here, each of miraculously created the same way, making us all equal with no one being greater or lesser than the other when we're brought into this world.

 So, although I'm not some avid fan, I'm equally not a dissenter or radical oppositionist... I'm a highly intelligent individual with an open mind. I think for myself and I will go to great lengths to seek out the truth, never settling for something that I'm simply told without there already being a substantial amount of facts in place to support whatever it may be that I was told. That never ending pursuit is what lead me to this article here and ultimately to discover who you are. I'm grateful for this result. 

Staci Devries January 19, 2020

Thanks for the heads up Bob! The link has been updated. 

posted in : Retaining Records
Aaron DeBoer January 17, 2020


I was ready to send you one of mine, but Irene beat me to it.  This little volume is my constant companion.  The comfort that it has brought in places like hospital rooms, even living rooms where the husk of a dead saint who on a hospice gurney lies, the living equipped to sing the 103rd, citing the catechism, even reading the psaltery as poetry, the ministry cannot be quantified.  There really is no better example of the commitment to historic Christianity and personal piety our tradition once maintained than the little book you crave.  The Lord will use this little book to revive you and your's, may he revive the heirs and publishing houses who forsook it too.