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Essay

It’s Voice, Theirs

By December 2, 2016 One Comment
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by James Schaap

It was, as I remember, an Emerson, a tiny off-white boxy thing with a circular dial, maybe an inch or so bigger than a box of chocolate-covered cherries. That little Emerson sat up in a shelf-space my dad built into the wall between the kitchen and the bathroom, where it held forth daily. Never moved.

For most of my life I heard the rosary in the morning, even though no one among the Calvinists I knew ever counted beads. Then came the news, the obits, and Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club.

But on Sunday that little Emerson set up a pulpit for a radio preacher named Eldersveld, later an upstart named Nederhood. I grew up with fervent churchgoers, who wouldn’t have missed a service as long as they could drag their snuffy weariness off to church, a block away. But neither would they miss The Back to God Hour. My parents considered it their ministry; its voice, theirs.

Those days are long gone. Today, people don’t even buy radios. But one of the legacies my God-fearing parents left with me is an urge to listen to our own. As isolated and insulated as the world of my childhood might have been, “our own” often offered alternative views to what otherwise sounded from the Emerson in the corner. That’s why they listened. They would have boldly and proudly called those views and those sermons, “Reformed.”

I contribute to The Twelve because I consider myself a writer, because I think of myself as devotedly Reformed, a Calvinist, and because I believe as my parents did that the discourse aired hither and yon throughout the land could use a few shakes of Reformed salt.

I think I can speak for the other contributors when I say, we hope you believe so too.

Consider contributing. Seriously.

Today, Emerson doesn’t even make radios, so promise us you’ll keep your phones and tablets tuned.

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Jim Schaap is a writer and retired English teacher at Dordt College, who resides in Alton, Iowa.

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