Essay

The Purple Church

St. Charles Borromeo Church, St. Francis, Rosebud Reservation, SD It's purple. Well these days, some twenty hot years of Dakota sun later, St. Charles Church looks a bit pink; but originally it was purple. May well be the only purple…
Essay

The Measure of Vocation

We talk a good deal about vocation at Calvin University. It’s a big part of our first-year programing. We have a four-year innovative program called LifeWork that develops students’ readiness for life beyond college. It’s one of four all-university goals…
Essay

God is/is not Liberal

You may wish to read my earlier post, God is/is not Conservative It’s only fairly recently that “liberal” became a bad word in the United States. After all, the US is the ultimate liberal experiment--born of the Enlightenment, about freedom,…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Adventures in Buechnerland

Memory is such a trickster. I came across a lost document while helping my dad and stepmom clean out their condo recently, notes from Monday, January 28, 2008, and the opening of the Buechner Institute at King College in Bristol,…
Essay

Remembering My Mother Aright

Last Sunday we held a memorial service for my mom, Priscilla Ann Carlson. She died at home with my dad by her side in mid-October due to complications from an aggressive cancer diagnosed a little more than a year ago.…
Essay

Two Solitudes

It was the day of the presidential election, November 8, 2016. I had been asked to preach in chapel at the Bast Preaching Festival at Western Seminary in Michigan. Shortly afterward I found myself driving back home to Ontario. It…
Essay

Happy Halloween

My most vivid memories of childhood involve Halloween. My brother and I would join our cousins walking the neighborhood to get as much candy as possible—always with the obligatory picture of all of us lined up on the couch, sweating…
Northwestern College
Essay

502 and 8

We’re eight years old today! The Twelve first appeared on October 31, 2011. It was no coincidence we appeared on Reformation Day, the day Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517.…
Essay

Embodied

Tuesday. Lorelle and I, having decided that at twenty-eight we are much too old to stand for an entire concert with all the merely twenty-seven-year-old-General-Admissioners, settle into our mezzanine seats feeling exceptionally pleased with ourselves. Seats or no seats, my…
Essay

Safely Gathered In

Reading The Magician's Nephew last in The Chronicles of Narnia (just after The Last Battle) is a little like reading the book of Genesis last in Scripture (just after Revelation). It's the order I prefer, though; perhaps simply because this…