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Essay

Essay

Grace in Barren Places

“In our own lives, too, we all too often deny the grace we’ve been given in barren places…Sooner or later, we must learn to deal with the cards we have been given, and look for the grace that is hidden…
Essay

Breaking Stained Glass

Irish writer Colm Toibin once authored a controversial novella about the mother of Jesus called The Testament of Mary. Around the time of its release, I listened to an interview he gave on NPR’s All Things Considered, in which he…
Essay

Expectancy

As I move though the season of Advent this year, my waiting and anticipation of the birth of Christ has had an eagerness to it that feels large. It is expectant. Today I traveled from Holland, Michigan to New York…
Western Theological Seminary
Essay

The Francis Option

I'll admit, I got duped into signing up for Audible a few months back. I always sign up for promotions and then forget to cancel. A few weeks ago I discovered I had accumulated "credits", so I purchased a lecture…
Northwestern College
Essay

Rendezvous with Destiny

It’s a bit daunting to follow up Heidi De Jonge here every two weeks. Heidi plumbs her personal and pastoral experience in a deep yet direct way that—to judge from responses—many of you find her posts to be just the…
Essay

Healed

On these days surrounding the second Sunday of Advent, I wear a chain around my neck. The chain holds the wedding band that used to be worn by my first husband, Layton. He wore it from the day we were…
Essay

Important Place: Part II

Two weeks ago I did a short blog here as part of our annual fundraiser (and thank you to all who chipped in!).   In it I described “The Reformed Journal” and “The Twelve” as an important place to discuss ideas…
Calvin Theological Seminary
Essay

Long Dark Nights with No Christmas Lights

Not only did the Puritans not celebrate Thanksgiving, they firmly banned Christmas. (Spoiler alert: the Puritans did not celebrate Easter either.) The Puritans rejected Christmas as a pagan celebration, full of bawdy revelry and tainted by Catholic association. The Puritans…
Northwestern College
Essay

Advent Calendars & Mr. December

The first Advent calendar appeared in 1851, and featured a biblical-character-a-day to count Christian worshippers down to Christmas. It featured, among others, John the baptizer, since John features in the stories of Jesus’ birth and ministry beginnings. Indeed, John is…