Church Years

for Myrtle Takken for her 95th YearGrandma walks toward Easter one more time;I see her walking not toward church but trees---trees of the farm she used to own:small persimmon hidden in the gully,chestnut in a corner of the cornfield,sugar pears…
February 21, 2021

The Snow Pile

Today we will consider the snow pile at the end of my driveway. These days you may have one too. In all likelihood, you know how the snow pile got there, at the end of the driveway, but just in…
February 20, 2021

The Time is Now for Immigration Reform

When my family moved to Sioux Center fifteen years ago the neighborhood was very different from how it looks today. Back then my neighbors were white, most of Dutch heritage, and, if they went to church, protestant. Today, many of…
February 19, 2021


On Tuesday morning I looked up from the plank position I had been holding and saw a dolphin. And then another dolphin. Just their dorsal fins arcing up and out of the water, then disappearing, then cresting again. Twenty-four hours…
February 18, 2021

What are the ashes about?

“What are the ashes about?"The question was sincere. My church has never done Ash Wednesday before -- at least not with ashes, anyway. And so as we began announcing that we’d be offering the imposition of ashes for the first…
February 17, 2021

Gravitating to Shalom

A C-SPAN video has gone viral (how often can you say that!?).  It was shot Friday morning outside the White House where First Lady Jill Biden and her husband—along with the dogs Champ and Major—were taking a walk.  The First…
February 16, 2021


Among the younger folk, ‘ghosting’ refers to a sudden and immediate cessation of all communication toward a person, digitally, physically, and on social media. Frankly, this seems like an incredibly immature way to deal with most relationships, but I suppose…
February 15, 2021

Does Prayer Work?

Prayer is difficult in a technological age like ours. Our minds have been shaped by the efficiency, quantification, objectivity of the computer. We value precision and clear answers. Prayer defies all of those things. And so we ask, “does prayer…
February 14, 2021

Pandemic Check-up

Let’s test your reflexes, shall we? Oh. Oh my. Are you feeling numbness or tingling in your extremities? Um. I guess I’m kind of feeling numbness everywhere.
February 13, 2021