All Posts By

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell

Essay

Bonnemaman’s Ladle, Progress, and Hope

The soup ladle pictured above is from Bonnemaman’s girlhood home. Bonnemaman was my wife’s lovable, buoyant grandmother whose life came up a few months short of a century, 1900-2000. Bonnemaman and her family lived in northern France, near the Belgian…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Names & Power

The first football game I ever attended in Iowa pitted the Dutch against the Norse. Who knew such strong ethnic sentiments still persisted? Team names like Highlanders, Celtics, and Vikings express similar ethnic heritages. Last month, after years of pressure,…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Endearing, Muslim Millennial: Ramy

Can a flailing, often failing, young Muslim man present the most appealing portrayal of “religion” on recent television? A millennial from an immigrant family in northern Jersey illumines the potholed path to meaningful religion? Ramy, a comedy series on Hulu,…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

A Mansion Just Over the Hilltop

I'm satisfied with just a cottage belowA little silver and a little goldBut in that city where the ransomed will shineI want a gold one that's silver lined. I've got a mansion just over the hilltopIn that bright land where…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

To Be a Witness

I never did put a fish sticker on the back of my car. Many years ago, I considered it for a while -- a discreet little fish. Nothing attention-grabbing. Now I'm glad I didn't. What was my intention? Was I…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Two Takes on a Pandemic

Jesus says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Pandemic, Postponing, and Polity

When the Covid-19 pandemic appeared, it soon became apparent that most annual gatherings of Christian denominations in the USA would not meet this summer, as they usually do. In the Reformed Church in America (RCA), a decision was made to…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Three Sweet Stories

I flatter myself and say that someday historians will note when The Twelve stopped being All-COVID-19-All-the-Time as an important landmark in the history of the pandemic. Not that the pandemic is over, not that it no longer merits comment, but…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Annoying Critics

“I wish you would tell my pastor that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ Money is not the problem!” This woman and her comment pushed about every button I have. A pinched, haughty, know-it-all. “Cow of…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA