Essay

Seeing Again

We're just on the other side of the centennial commemorations of the "Great War" that have been taking place over the last several years--culminating in last fall's Armistice Day remembrances, such as the particularly moving tribute at the Tower of…
Essay

Heresies I Have Loved

“A good sermon should skate right up to the edge of heresy. Make your point to the extreme. You’ll have other sermons to pull in the other direction. Dare to go out on the thin ice. You’ll hear some cracks…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Hidden in our Hearts

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 “Jeff, I’ve got an idea,” I pulled him aside after the worship service one Sunday. “We’re going to preach through Jesus’ Sermon on…
Essay

Grace and the Warm Embrace

When I started my first “official” pastoral role in the late 1990’s, I immediately hung a painting of Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son on my main office wall. The same painting still greets me each day, reminding me that…
Essay

A Few More Grains of Sand

Yesterday, during a NW Iowa blizzard, a friend and I went out for a beer. Sitting in the warm glow of sports television we talked about "stuff". Not just any stuff, but heavy stuff we usually discuss over cigarettes and…
Northwestern College
Essay

Church Basements

Meeting at First Church I’ve entered an incarnated coma. Images have been frozen in place for 40 years: the biblical equivalent of a “long, long time.” The wood has a nice patina, Encasing this life supported shell in a sort…
Essay

Darkened

In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived at the Desert of Sinai and camped in front of the mountain. Before God gave them the Ten Words, Moses did a lot of running up and down the…
Essay

State of Our Union

State of Our Union Tonight the President will deliver the delayed State of the Union speech to Congress.  Its every word will be analyzed.   Pundits will tote up the number of times the speech was interrupted by applause, how many…
Calvin Theological Seminary
Essay

Invisible Leaders

Why are women in civil rights typically so invisible? There is some debate over the extent to which women served as organizers or leaders during the Civil Rights Movement (CRM). Charles Payne, in his study of activism in the Mississippi…
Northwestern College