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This Space Intentionally Left Blank

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I’ve given my professional life to words. I believe deeply in their significance and their power. And in the theological imperative to use them carefully, graciously, truthfully, well. I affirm that whole-heartedly.

But I don’t think more words are always the answer. Or at least as I thought about the blog for this week, not more words from me. So often I hear calls to listen, to make room for other voices, to yield the privilege of the floor. All well-intentioned. But these calls are usually accompanied by a long essay, often eloquent, often true, but that also still hoard the space. More talking, not enough listening. Plenty of time for this straight, middle-aged white lady to have her say. Pretty much all the time, to be honest.

Not today. I leave the space below deliberately blank to signal a commitment to humbly shut up. And I urge you to use the time you allotted to read this blog to do something intentional today:

  • to attend to a different voice. If you are white, to commit to reading/following on Twitter/listening to podcasts by people of color. Survey your media consumption–who has your time? who shapes your views?
  • to read Scripture–a psalm of lament, anything from the life of Jesus in order to remind yourself what Christianity values
  • to pray for all those you name as enemy
  • to plan one specific action that you will undertake to help increase God’s love in whatever way matches your gifts, ability, and calling.

Let those who have ears hear.




































Jennifer L. Holberg

I’ve taught English at Calvin College since 1998–where I get to read books and talk about them for a living. What could be better? Along with my wonderful colleague, Jane Zwart, I am the co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing, which is the home of the Festival of Faith and Writing as well as a number of other exciting endeavors. Given my interest in teaching, I’m the founding co-editor of the Duke University Press journal Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture (and yes, I realize that that is a very long subtitle). I also do various administrative things across campus. As an Army brat, I’ve never lived anywhere as long as I’ve now lived in Grand Rapids. I count myself rich in friends and family. I enjoy kayaking and hiking. I collect cookbooks (and also like to cook), listen to all kinds of music, and watch all manner of movies and tv shows. I love George Eliot, Jane Austen, Marilynne Robinson, Dante, E.M. Delafield, Tennyson, Hopkins, and Charlotte Bronte (among others). And I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: “I’d rather be reading Flannery O’Connor.” Which is true.

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