Essay

At the Kennedy Center, 1985

You have probably seen the famous photo of a high school-aged Bill Clinton meeting President John F. Kennedy (I've included it, in case you haven't). In the photo, you'll see that Clinton (and the boys around him) are wearing polo…
Calvin College
Essay

The Wall of Fame

As a result of Western Theological Seminary’s massive building project, I am one of many people now happily ensconced in a new office with new furniture. My set up includes a large tack board, and because I simply don’t want…
Essay

Putting the Herod Back in Christmas

Around the corner from the church I serve in downtown Philadelphia sits City Hall. Its stately Second-Empire architecture looms over Penn Square, set at the very center of the city. Several years ago, I watched a predictable culture war play out…
Essay

Reading for the Civic Mind

One of my favorite things about the last two years has been a new tradition started with my best friend from back home in Iowa--our weekly long-distance book club. I don’t even remember whose idea it was but at some…
Essay

Delighted

I have a lot of friends who work for nonprofits. This meant that Tuesday was a day to brace for. Especially on Facebook, Giving Tuesday has given me something of the same feeling I got when I walked through the…
Essay

Can We Handle Complexity?

Rebecca Koerselman’s post earlier this week about the “Competing Narratives” of American history struck a nerve with me. For decades I’ve been giving presentations for community groups and church adult-education programs on the question: “Was America Founded as a Christian…
Essay

The Traveling Chair

Another chair story for you...don't think Steve and I expected to have a theme. But the Spirit moves, so.... Yesterday, I lugged a chair from my sunroom into the car, drove to work, and then put the chair into the…
Calvin College
Essay

Connected

In August of 2017, I cycled a six day leg of the Sea to Sea – a coast to coast ride, raising awareness and money to fight poverty, locally and globally. On the second to last day of our ride,…