Essay

The White Stone

As Reformed Christians, we share a bedrock principle with the Lutherans for our following of Jesus: We are saved by grace through faith alone. Theology is a reflection on the faith we hold: It is faith seeking to understand itself.…
September 16, 2018
Essay

O Rejoice in All Your Works

“The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw—all things in God and God in all things.” -- Mechthild of Magdeburg “You think you’re special? You’re not so special.” That’s the message, by one…
September 15, 2018
Essay

Rod Jellema, 1927-2018

Death has been in the air lately. There were the funerals of John McCain and Aretha Franklin, minutely analyzed in the national media. Here in West Michigan the passing of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos has been getting like treatment, for…
September 13, 2018
Essay

Unveiled

There's something about faces. A week and a half ago, Twelve blogger, Debra Rienstra, posted her reflection on the story of Katie Stubblefield, the youngest ever face transplant recipient and the subject of a recent National Geographic feature. I let…
September 12, 2018
Essay

Look at This

A couple of weeks ago I had the great privilege of being the featured teacher at "The School of Preaching" held at a church in Nairobi, Kenya.  Having the opportunity to speak with, teach, and interact with around 175 pastors…
September 11, 2018
Essay

Intimacy with Others

I grew up in a family that did not “do feelings.” I do not remember my parents grabbing one another in a passionate hug. I do not remember my parents fighting. Or at least, only rarely. When they did fight,…
September 9, 2018
Essay

Religious Categories Reimagined

As a scholar of American religion, one of my favorite things to do is to think about the ways we sort Americans based on religion. Is it by self-identified religious affiliation? The church or synagogue or mosque one attends? A…
September 8, 2018
Essay

Angel in a crew cut

Some years ago now, I walked through the valley of the shadow of death when I sat for several days at the bedside of my father, who was dying. I knew he was going, even though the doctors and nurses…
September 7, 2018