Essay

Sitting in a Cave with St. Francis

For two weeks at the end of May six students and I walked the path of St. Francis from Assisi to Rome. Our guide, Alessandro, was honest: "We don't know exactly which route Francis took, so in the spirit of…
Northwestern College
Essay

A Progressive Civil Religion?

It was an unusual Easter sermon, to say the least. At least unusual for this well-trained CRC boy. We were worshiping at Christ Church in the old center of Philadelphia, a venerable Episcopal parish founded in 1695 and claiming all…
Essay

Unsatisfied

Note: If a film in which two socially awkward men make up paddleball games, do jigsaw puzzles, watch kung-fu movies, and face a terminal diagnosis, appeals to you, then bookmark this post, go watch the movie, Paddleton, on Netflix, and…
Essay

Successful?

The megachurch phenomenon is fraught with challenges and questions.  Increasingly we are also seeing not just one huge congregation that worships in a single cavernous space but churches with multiple campuses—sometimes over a dozen or so—where people gather and see…
Calvin Theological Seminary
Essay

Waltzing with the Trinity

Yesterday was Pentecost, meaning that this coming Sunday is known as Trinity Sunday. I used to make fun of Trinity Sunday. Exactly what event are we celebrating? “Of course, that's the day we read our favorite Trinity story!” We all…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Pentecost is the Gospel

For most of my life I was a Baptist; specifically a Missionary Baptist in the African American tradition of what that means. In that tradition, we never observed Pentecost Sunday. The African American Baptist liturgical calendar consisted of Christmas Day,…
Essay

All about D-day

I didn't know him--couldn't have. He was killed four years before I was born. For years I wouldn't have known his story any more fully than I might have known the stories of any other veteran who didn't return from…
Essay

We are the same person

“We are the same person,” is the thing I find myself saying when I feel a particular affinity to someone. The other day my friend confessed that when she got really overwhelmed at work, she would start researching #vanlife and…
Essay

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Last week I was gifted the library of a local, retired pastor. Rather than donate the books to a bookstore, he wanted them to go to a young pastor he could meet personally. I was touched that he and his…