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Dear Debra,

Congratulations on the book coming out in February! I’m recommending it to everyone. I’ll probably write a review at some point, but you’ve got to pay me up front this time if you want me to really pull out all the stops. What with the podcasts and reviews and what not, I’m tired of doing stuff for free. I’m sure you understand (being Dutch and all). Ha!

And speaking of doing stuff for free, I now need to ask readers for money to keep the lights on at the Reformed Journal? Isn’t there some sort of west-Michigan, Amway-sourced, funny grant you can apply for to cover that sort of stuff. You’d probably need to rename it for them but still…

I’m on to you, you know. First you do a “guest” post and then you get invited to become a semi-regular (essentially job-sharing the blog posting duties with some other mark). And then (!) you are invited to become one of the vaunted “Twelve” so you can shoulder the burden of thinking of something to contribute every other week – on a deadline. Now, I can’t even take a walk in the woods without wondering to myself, “could I spin this into a blog post?” or “didn’t I write about this before?” or “when is the next one due?”

Which reminds me, where did you find Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell? The man must either be a saint or have ice-water in his veins. I’d be embarrassed if anyone found out how narrowly I’ve made some of the deadlines (Steve checks his email looooong after business hours). If I ever meet him in real life, I want to (sheepishly) shake his hand — and then have a conversation about work-life balance.

It’s been fun though. Writing for “The Twelve” has turned me into a regular reader of “The Twelve,” first to just get a sense of the blog and then because of the writing and commentary. I’m a little astonished at the scholarship and creativity and wisdom that shows up. And I am just inured-enough to academic-flavored imposter syndrome to keep contributing. I’ve re-made connections that I thought I’d lost. I even made it back to Calvin College UNIVERSITY this summer. Heard from a former pastor, former teachers, and former classmates. I keep thinking about connections.

“The Twelve” is the first thing I read each day, usually in the early pre-dawn. The experience has made my past year richer. Much has been said about gratitude by the other Twelvers. Reciprocity is its sibling.

So I’ll keep at it and sorry to sound so grumpy above. I appreciate the opportunity.

Thanks for that. Seriously.

P.S. You, Steve, Scott Hoezee, and James Schaap have been doing this for 10 years? Wow. Props.

P.P.S. How’s this for the ask? I copied it from Pastor DeJonge’s post last Friday because it’s just so beautiful.

Sometimes it’s difficult for us to ask for so little. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to ask for anything at all. But God created us to ask. And God created us to give. The Reformed Journal community is a beautiful interdependent virtual gathering place of askers and givers, who together serve a God who asks and gives in surprising and dependable ways.

Support The Reformed Journal

Your monthly financial contribution allows us to continue to express the Reformed faith theologically; to engage issues that Reformed Christians meet in personal, ecclesiastical, and societal life.

Tim Van Deelen

Tim Van Deelen is Professor of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan, and graduated from Calvin College. From there he went on to the University of Montana and Michigan State University. He now studies large mammal population dynamics, sails on Lake Mendota, enjoys a good plate of whitefish, and gains hope for the future from terrific graduate students. 

One Comment

  • Kris Hegedus says:

    Lol at this article! I have come to enjoy and even depend on the entries every morning. My dad put me on to the Twelve and I am so grateful for all you all do. I became a monthly supporter. Blessings to all.

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