Essay

All about D-day

I didn't know him--couldn't have. He was killed four years before I was born. For years I wouldn't have known his story any more fully than I might have known the stories of any other veteran who didn't return from…
Essay

We are the same person

“We are the same person,” is the thing I find myself saying when I feel a particular affinity to someone. The other day my friend confessed that when she got really overwhelmed at work, she would start researching #vanlife and…
Essay

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Last week I was gifted the library of a local, retired pastor. Rather than donate the books to a bookstore, he wanted them to go to a young pastor he could meet personally. I was touched that he and his…
Essay

We Will Tell It and Give It Back to You

Several months ago, during Epiphany and Lent, I invited members of my congregation to join me in memorizing Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). We engaged it as a spiritual practice, the goal being to hide God’s word in…
Essay

The Edge of a Cliff

Sometimes I tell people that if I ever became a pastor (or in the nomenclature of the denomination I grew up in: preacher), I’d get up in front every Sunday and say, “It’s complicated.” Then I’d give the blessing and…
Essay

Is No Thing Sacred?

The adult discussion group at church was talking about “Faith and Creation Care.” As expected, the creation stories of Genesis and some of the robust creation psalms (8, 65, 104, 148) were in the mix. Edith, a spry woman in…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Pursuing Paul

Temple of Apollo, Corinth, with temple of Aphrodite on the acropolis behind. Thanks to Laura de Jong for filling in for me last time. I was on a tour of Greece with some long-time friends, and with others newly made.…
Essay

Written into the Story, Part 2

A number of months ago, I wrote a reflection on being written into the story, inspired by Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee's dialogue in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers. They had paused mid-mission to wonder "what sort of tale" they…
Essay

Seriously, You’re the Greatest!

Perhaps it went largely unnoticed as Americans this past weekend were gearing up for a holiday weekend.  Still, something rather remarkable happened. North Korea test fired some ballistic missiles yet the President of the United States—right next door to North…
Calvin Theological Seminary