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When I first started writing for The Twelve life was much different. My kids were young and my beard was shorter with much less grey. I was an eager professor who wanted to write. I really wanted to write books, and was given advice from a wise sage named Schaap who told me if I wanted to learn to write well I needed to practice. Truth be told, that’s why I wrote blogs—an attempt to find voice and style. Two weeks ago my Friday to write came and went. I knew it was my turn, so I sat down at the keyboard and…nothing. Not nothing in the sense of having nothing to write about—there are things I care deeply about. There are serious issues facing our churches, our communities, our institutions—the list goes on. There are beautiful and joyous things to reflect on too, but lately I just don’t feel like sharing them with the world. I’d rather sit by the lake, with the cool westerly breeze carrying the smell of Minnesota lake water, smoking my cigar just embracing the moment. Call me selfish, but these are moments I just don’t care to share.

My friend and neighbor tells me all the time about molting—you know, how birds shed feathers or snakes shed their skin. The old stuff gives way to something new. Well, I’m molting. Sitting at my computer I tried to think of something to write, but after a bit I just turned off the computer and went downstairs. There are things I care deeply about, but they’re fewer and fewer, most of them can’t be discussed in 400 words. Sometimes I wonder if these blogs serve a purpose. By now I know who’s going to be upset, and who will write a comment of encouragement. I appreciate both, really, but it makes me wonder if all this blogging is just an exercise in bias confirmation or preaching to the choir. Then, out of the blue, I got an email saying my blog post from 2014 was used for a devotional at a conference. Just when you think it’s not worth it…

My wife asked me what I was going to write about for my final blog. “Festivas” I said. “It’s going to be my ‘I’ve got a lot of problems with you people and you’re going to hear about it!’ finale.” “Um, no,” was all she said. So, I leave you with this: It’s been a privilege to write for The Twelve all these years, but I’m molting. There are other issues and initiatives that need more of my time. I’ll continue to seek God’s kingdom by loving my neighbor, hopefully you will too. Finally, I’m proud of the fact one of my most widely read blogs was about Bob’s Bar. Jesus talked about the kingdom of God as a banquet; today, I think he’d tell stories about dive bars, cheeseburgers, and cheeseballs by the pound.


Jason Lief

Jason Lief teaches Practical Theology at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He served as editor of Reformed Journal for many years and was one of the original bloggers on the RJ blog. You can find more of his writing at


  • Eric Van Dyken says:

    I ran into you at the coffee shop in Sioux Center this past weekend. You wouldn’t have reason to know me, but I recognized you. My first thought was that sitting down with you at a coffee shop would be enjoyable.

  • George Vink says:

    I was able to put a face to the name thanks to a preaching on racism seminar. Thank you for your thoughts there and in the blogs you wrote.,

  • You wonder if these blogs serve a purpose. Yes, for me it is a little bit of connection I look forward to every day. Especially in this last year of isolation. Thank you for writing!

  • James Schaap says:

    I hadn’t forgotten our trip to Bob’s Bar, but I had forgotten that massive response from the locals, none of whom have ever read a word of my contributions! What a joy to read through all those testimonies again! SKOL. Do me a favor and record the loons sometime.

  • Thomas Bartha says:

    Jason. I’m planning to go back and read your blogs over recent years…and like you “enjoy a good cigar and embrace the moment” as I do so. It’s always been valuable to ponder your thoughts. If you return to writing an occasional blog for The Twelve after a time of molting, what you share will again be welcomed!

  • Mark says:

    I will miss your writing but wish you the best in your “molting”.

  • Ed Starkenburg says:

    I have enjoyed your writing and insights, Jason. Thanks for sharing with us. May God bless your next steps.

  • Gretchen Schoon Tanis says:

    I’ll definitely miss your words and insight Jason – mostly out of selfishness for sure. Because not many come from our shared interest in youth ministry, culture, and that nuanced look at how Christ and the church interact in those arenas. Thank you for serving us so well for many years.

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