Essay

The Discipline of Specificity

“Be more specific,” I used to tell my writing students. “Don’t say cereal when you could say Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Don’t say your character walked into the room when you could say he sauntered in. Don’t say you were reading…
Essay

A New Language

Once upon a time I lived in the country of Chile for six months. It was quite a long time ago, during my junior year of college. There was a short list of Spanish minor requirements that would be met…
Essay

The Greatest of Songs

I want to take back the Song of Songs. I want to take it back from its designation as “Wedding material.” I want to take it back from sniggering high schoolers. And I want to take it back from the…
Essay

Centered

This past Saturday morning, I attended a workshop at The Colossian Forum's annual conference. The workshop was titled Beyond Good Intentions: The Practices of Calm Presence. The presenter, Trisha Taylor, has been a coach to me and a friend for…
Essay

Remember?

The recent movie Yesterday is mostly a light-hearted romantic comedy with a divertingly fun premise.  Although the movie (wisely) never tries to explain it, the premise is that the entire Planet Earth underwent a history-altering event.  For around eleven seconds,…
Calvin Theological Seminary
Essay

Decluttering as Spiritual Practice

I was surprised to discover how many books and blogs are devoted to the practice of decluttering. A simple search of the word “decluttering” yielded hundreds of references. The sheer numbers of people writing, reading, and conversing about it is…
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 College
Essay

It’s a jungle out there

It's not a particularly good picture, but it'll have to do. That's our house up at the top, maybe fifty yards or so away from the camera and me. What's between us is five years' worth of sweat and toil…