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I’m a pretty regular blood donor.

At a recent donation, I ran into an acquaintance. Not really a friend, but a good guy–genial, jaunty, exuberant. A thorough-going secularist. Somehow in our encounters that always comes across. Not in an aggressive way, but I sense it.

We chatted while we waited to be called. He too donates regularly. He’s especially valuable with a very rare blood type. On the wall was displayed various swag that the blood center offers to regular donors. You earn points per donation and may redeem them for tshirts, hats, coolers, and lawn chairs.

“I can’t imagine that someone who donates regularly is actually motivated by a desire for the t-shirt they might get,” I said, maybe dismissively.

He countered and corrected me. “Oh, I definitely wear the shirts to encourage others to give as well.”

“Hmmm,” I said, impressed but not convinced that I would wear one.

A few moments later, he reached into his pocket to retrieve his phone. “Gotta get ready. I always take a selfie to post on social media when I donate. Hope it reminds others to do likewise.”

I nodded, a bit dumbfounded. I’d never consider doing that.

This secular guy is an evangelist for donating blood. He believes it is good and worthwhile. He wants to let others know.

Why am I so different? Extravert versus introvert? Probably. Different temperaments.

I could point to some biblical and theological reasons. “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” A Dutch Reformed ethos that doesn’t draw attention to itself, that feels uncomfortable with accolades for doing good.

By pointing to these sorts of reasons, I feel like I’m giving myself a quiet compliment and him a backhanded swat. My reticence or stoicism or faux-humility or whatever it is, makes me better than him. Ah, the irony. Nonsense!

All this swirls in my head during our annual fundraising week at The Twelve and Reformed Journal.

How to wave the flag for something worthwhile? How to ask for support? How not to feel grabby and self-promoting?

I’m always very conscious of the fact that we are not feeding Yemeni children or housing the homeless in your town. I’m also aware that you can continue to read this blog everyday, whether or not you donate today. We’ve all gotten too good at tuning out appeals.


  • We hope we nourish your heart and mind.
  • We hope we remind you that there are others out there who share some of your concerns and priorities.
  • We hope we are a drop of grace, a dash of goodness in your day.
  • We hope we build a sense of connectedness and community.
  • And we hope that this is worth something to you.

We need financial support.

Even though we are volunteers, there are always operating expenses. That’s why we are especially encouraging you to donate on a consistent basis–even $5 a month. Moreover, we have hopes and plans for much more than a daily blog–a bigger Reformed Journal website, longer, diverse essays, forums, podcasts, video content, face-to-face gatherings. And this will definitely cost.

In other words, please give today!

Donating is simple.
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Click and voila!
A recurring, monthly donation would be great–$5 a month?
Thank you!

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell is a recently retired minister of the Reformed Church in America. He has been the convener of the Reformed Journal’s daily blog since its inception in 2011. He and his wife, Sophie, reside in Des Moines, Iowa.

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