Essay

Learning to be Reformed from a Jewish Novelist

As you'll note from my recent Perspectives article, "A Peculiar People," I've been thinking a lot about the dynamics of immigration and how that intersects with my own experience of being an immigrant--and being Reformed.  That's not just because my Reformed community…
Essay

an evening at Occupy Boston…

Occupy Boston was just a few weeks old when I trekked downtown to check out the encampment at Dewey Square. MIT professor Noam Chomsky was speaking on that Saturday night, and I figured it was as good an occasion as…
Essay

Little Pagans

I spent this first week of Advent thinking about idolatry.  It started with a This American Life podcast on the Penn State disaster, in which reporters from the radio show interviewed the stunned residents of State College, Pennsylvania, as they…
Calvin College
Essay

This old house

My wife, who's now retired and therefore been home more often these days than she's been in the 25 years we've lived in this old house, claims there's one gorgeous female cardinal in a bush just off the deck that wants…
Essay

Shame: Shake it Out

 Shame  (noun) a. A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace. b. A great disappointment.  What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame. Friedrich Nietzsche Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from…
Essay

Debating Compassion

As I type this it is Thanksgiving Day morning and I am taking a break between peeling potatoes and prepping a turkey.   This is, of course, a day when we Americans pat ourselves on the back for being a God-fearing,…
Calvin Theological Seminary
Essay

Light and Hope for Advent

We light the first purple candle in the Advent wreath for the prophets, the ones who spoke with hope about the coming Messiah. The small candle barely flickers in the late November gloom, but don’t be deceived. The light of…
Essay

Holidays

I thought folks wouldn't mind my posting here a slightly altered version of a Thanksgiving reflection I originally published in the November 2005 issue of Perspectives. May it help well and truly expunge the horror that is Black Friday from…