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Debra Rienstra

Essay

Word of the Lord, Thanks Be to God

“It’s disturbing to recognize that in the Noah story, God does the same sort of thing that the Babylonian gods do in their flood story.” That’s what she said, this bold and thoughtful student in world lit class. We had…
Calvin University
Essay

Hevel and Hope in the Midst of the Climate Crisis

“Is this the end of the world?”“It usually is.” That zinger appears near the conclusion of the kooky and wonderful Post-Rapture Radio, Russell Rathbun’s 2008 novel, which inventively satirizes American Evangelicalism for its shallowness and materialism. Toward the end of…
Calvin University
Essay

The College Syllabus: An Annotated Guide

For all you college students out there, it’s time to gird up your binders and get ready for a parade of professors thrusting their course syllabi at you. On the off chance that you will actually read these syllabi—my research…
Calvin University
Essay

Little Pockets: Refugia Basics

I’ve been working this summer on a podcast based on the idea of “refugia.” I wrote about this idea here at The Reformed Journal blog last May. Thanks in part to the encouragement of my colleague Dave Koetje, Professor of…
Calvin University
Essay

Learning about Gratitude from the Onondaga

I realize we’re planning way ahead here, but if you happen to be in charge of an Easter Vigil service next spring, you should definitely order a big beeswax candle for the occasion. Why? Because in the ancient liturgical prayer…
Calvin University
Essay

Coastal Ingenuity: Up-North Tales

In honor of the official beginning of summer, I shall relate some maritime history of the Great Lakes. I knew almost nothing about maritime history until last summer, when my husband and I visited the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard…
Calvin University
Essay

Refugia

When Mount Saint Helens erupted in May of 1980, it lost 1,300 feet of elevation and gained a new mile-wide crater. The debris avalanche and ashfall from the volcanic blast devastated the mountain and its surroundings, crushing, burning, killing, and…
Calvin University