All Posts By

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell

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
Essay

Without Guile

So Little Women didn’t win the Oscar for Best Film. It’s only win was for costume design. I’m in no position to claim it should have won. I liked the film. I think I appreciated the 1994 version more, if…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Crabs in a Bucket

I’d never heard the phrase before -- “Crabs in a bucket.” Robert Leonard, affectionately known around here as “Dr. Bob,” used it to describe these final days before the Iowa caucuses. When I googled it, I discovered it suggests chaotic…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Philately, Midrash, and Midwives

This story doesn’t have a beginning. I lost it. Maybe you can help me find it. I thought it began at the post office, a few Decembers ago. I’m a stodgy traditionalist who still buys the “religious” Christmas postage stamps.…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

The Power of Memes

Not that long ago, I didn’t know the word meme. Then, if I recall correctly, when I first encountered it, I didn’t know how to pronounce it or really what it was. Times have changed. Those simple, crazy internet postings.…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Please Give Blood

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…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA