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A Letter from Screwtape

My dear Wormwood, Let me start with another reminder that you must take great care that this letter not fall into the wrong hands. As you know, some years ago a number of my letters fell into the hands of…
Essay

Refuse to be in Denial

(This post originally appeared at http://www.iamareconciler.org/dear-church-refuse-to-be-in-denial/ -- thanks to Melissa for her permissino to repost this important piece here at the Twelve.)Dear Church, I write to you to admit that I am a recovering racist, working to overcome the lies…
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To Be a Witness

I never did put a fish sticker on the back of my car. Many years ago, I considered it for a while -- a discreet little fish. Nothing attention-grabbing. Now I'm glad I didn't. What was my intention? Was I…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
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Unfamiliar Steps

Spontaneity is not one of my gifts. My family might actually think that’s a significant understatement. A few years ago when I chose the word “mindful” as my word of the year, my mother was a little disgusted. She actually…
Essay

Overlooking the Valley

Sometimes I have a hard time knowing how to attend to the largest crisis before me because of any number of tiny crises holding my hand, whispering in my ear, and pulling at my heart’s attention. When the world so…
Essay

My Friend Sam

In the summer of 1964, I had turned nine years old. My mom was sick and dying, and my dad was pastor of First Reformed Church in a distant Chicago suburb. The church was expanding, adding an educational wing and…
Essay

Song Stories

One of my summer jobs in college was researching and compiling hymn stories – the history of composers, authors, tunes, and circumstances, for Hymnary.org. I love a good hymn story. I love the idea that the songs we sing today…
Essay

Nice Girls Finish Last

Be nice. Play nice. Nice people. Nice time. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Nice clothes. Nice company. How about, “where’s a nice pencil I can use to stab my eye out?” I…