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Essay

Essay

The Spirit of Love and Power

My wife and I were still newlyweds when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down on November 9, 1989.   I remember sitting in the living room of the seminarian parsonage where we were living on Grand Rapids northwest side and watching…
Calvin Theological Seminary
Essay

True Speech for those Asleep

The strike was called for the Friday just before we observed Storm Sunday this year. First Reformed Church of Schenectady, has been following the Season of Creation lectionary during the Sundays of September for some years now. This was to…
Essay

Cutover Dreams: Michigan Folk Songs Updated

“Lumberjack songs? Seriously?” “Just listen. You’ll see.” “Fine.” We were road-tripping out to the lake, and my spouse wanted me to listen to an album of nineteenth-century Michigan folk songs about the lumber and shipping industries. I figured this is…
Calvin College
Essay

The Purple Church

St. Charles Borromeo Church, St. Francis, Rosebud Reservation, SD It's purple. Well these days, some twenty hot years of Dakota sun later, St. Charles Church looks a bit pink; but originally it was purple. May well be the only purple…
Essay

The Measure of Vocation

We talk a good deal about vocation at Calvin University. It’s a big part of our first-year programing. We have a four-year innovative program called LifeWork that develops students’ readiness for life beyond college. It’s one of four all-university goals…
Essay

God is/is not Liberal

You may wish to read my earlier post, God is/is not Conservative It’s only fairly recently that “liberal” became a bad word in the United States. After all, the US is the ultimate liberal experiment--born of the Enlightenment, about freedom,…
Second Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Essay

Adventures in Buechnerland

Memory is such a trickster. I came across a lost document while helping my dad and stepmom clean out their condo recently, notes from Monday, January 28, 2008, and the opening of the Buechner Institute at King College in Bristol,…
Essay

Remembering My Mother Aright

Last Sunday we held a memorial service for my mom, Priscilla Ann Carlson. She died at home with my dad by her side in mid-October due to complications from an aggressive cancer diagnosed a little more than a year ago.…
Essay

Two Solitudes

It was the day of the presidential election, November 8, 2016. I had been asked to preach in chapel at the Bast Preaching Festival at Western Seminary in Michigan. Shortly afterward I found myself driving back home to Ontario. It…