Essay

Communal Journalism

Spent an enjoyable mid-afternoon today talking with the board of Perspectives, the journal that’s the mother of The 12 blog. I served on the Perspectives board for twelve years, six as one of its co-editors; plus I’ve written a lot…
Essay

The Sandusky Sentence: Is this Justice?

Eleven months ago, I blogged about the arrest of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State Football coach who then had been accused, now convicted, of sexually abusing a slate of vulnerable boys over a period of decades—45 counts of sexual abuse…
Essay

Assessing the Hill

I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage.  When they are real, they are not glass threads or frostwork, but the solidest thing we know. --Emerson, “Friendship” This week I’m teaching Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s magnificent poem,…
Calvin University
Essay

Stop Shooting

Jeff Japinga is substituting today for Lynn Japinga, who is substituting for Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell while he is on sabbatical. Jeff serves as associate dean for doctor-of-ministry and continuing-education programs at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and is moderator for the RCA’s…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

More than a cosmetic fix

Several months ago I recommended the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. A documentary based on the book aired on PBS last week; you can watch part 1 online through…
Essay

Get Off My Lawn, Thou Knave

By an odd coincidence, the late William Hazlitt has been haunting my steps this week. The old gent showed up by previous arrangement in my creative nonfiction class, as the syllabus called for my students to read his essay titled…
Calvin University
Essay

Morning Thanks–a sermon

She interrupted my sermon. . .but then, I'm not a preacher.  I'm a teacher--or I was a teacher. When I stood before them in that little church last Sunday, I was probably far less a preacher than a teacher, and I honestly…
Essay

Feast of St. Francis

There is a legend told in the “Little Flowers of St. Francis”—often referenced by its Italian name, “Fioretti”—of the town of Gubbio in Umbria in Italy and a wolf. As the story goes this wolf was a menace to the…