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Separation Anxiety: Reflecting on the 2021 RCA General Synod

December 6, 2021
More than a month has passed since General Synod. Time has allowed me to sort through my emotions and become what I believe is more objective about the RCA and its future. In a way, I wish I could have been at the point that I am now prior to General Synod. I see glimmers of hope for the RCA and I acknowledge that God is doing a new thing through the chaos in which we find ourselves. Yet I…
Featured

Breath Mark of Snow Days – The Holy Rhythm of Free Time

Snow days are like breath marks scattered throughout the otherwise hectic and frantic pace of life, letting us know it is OK (and necessary!) to breathe. In an ideal world, we would not need to fight against snow days or find a way to get our work done in the midst of them. We could receive snow days as gifts that help us reset, start anew, and clear off an evening or even a whole day to spend in ways…
ChurchFeatured
November 22, 2021

Coronavirus, Race, Politics, and Congregational Division

Neither a policy statement nor a sign can be the end of our discussion or action on racial justice. The Holy Spirit is leading us into difficult but important conversations around racial discrimination and justice. This is happening at the same time of a major demographic shift in America, where the white majority is becoming a minority. At the recent RCA General Synod, General Secretary Eddie Aleman said, “The future of the RCA is multi-ethnic…I love to say this is…
CultureFeatured
November 15, 2021

The Texas Abortion Law, the Antiabortion Movement, and the Politics of Cruelty

Texas’s new law is particularly cruel. Abortion is banned after six weeks, so early that some women won’t even know they’re pregnant. Private citizens are authorized to enforce the law and sue those who help people access abortion care in any way. Sadly, it’s not a surprise that this is the tactic antiabortion activists and legislators would pursue. In many ways this cruelty is baked into the movement—a movement that’s spent decades devising ways to make abortion care inconvenient, demeaning,…
EducationFeaturedMemoir
November 8, 2021

The Quality of Mercy

Mrs. Goehring—may she rest in peace--knew nothing of what that jock in the back of the class was discovering in words she’d assigned us from Portia’s courtroom speech; but that morning in sophomore English, the schoolmarm won a game she didn’t really know I was playing. The ball games are long gone, but the lines of that speech showed up on my screen and then in a haze of memory just a day or two ago.
ChurchFeaturedMemoir
November 1, 2021

Discerning the Body

How are we to discern the body of Christ? Like my friends in that teeming church full of different voices, different beliefs, I want to be generous, to be open to transcendent mystery, to be a co-traveler. I want to listen for those words of grace, perhaps even speak them one day.
FeaturedMemoirTheology
October 25, 2021

Lavender and Bread: Grief, Art, and Eucharist

My son, who only knows cameras to look like i-Phones, was silenced by the discovery of his grandfather’s camera. He ran his fingers over each button until his curiosity was satisfied enough to move onto another. And then he hit the button that released the back panel of the camera, the place where 35 mm film was once stretched and loaded like a canvas awaiting its artist. My sister and I smiled at his sheer delight in this mysterious contraption.…
FeaturedPreachingTheology
October 18, 2021

On Curiosity and War Stories

I have found great freedom in this gentle posture. It allows the space to get things wrong, continually learn, and recognize we always read scripture informed by our needs and cultural context. This means it is okay to grasp only part of what scripture might be saying. It is okay to get it wrong here and there. That’s why we work these things out in community.

Latest from the Blog

Daily blog by our regular bloggers & guest contributors.

  • Too Late
    The door is shut. It’s too late. Those words still sting a little. But maybe in a good way.
    December 7, 2021 Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell
  • An Advent Poem for a Grieving Congregation
    Dear Reader, This past week, the congregation I serve lost three beloved saints within days of each other. Pat Muyskens,...
    December 6, 2021 Brian Keepers
  • Watching and Waiting
    I’m really bummed. I’ve been waiting for this for a year and now I have to wait for another year.
    December 5, 2021 Nate Pyle
  • The Power of Ritual
    After two years living through the disruptions of this pandemic, I know I find myself wanting to live a simpler and more intentional life,
    December 4, 2021 Allison Vander Broek
  • Enough is (not) Enough
    The word, “enough,” is best used with things that are measurable. We certainly reach points at which we’ve had enough to eat, we’ve made enough widgets, we’ve studied enough to get a passing grade, we’ve earned enough money to pay our bills. But when it comes to the span of
    December 3, 2021 Heidi S. De Jonge
  • Resident Aliens
    What does it mean to engage with this world, in all its beauty and its ugliness? How do we press deep into what appears to be reality, and uncover the even deeper truths about what God is up to in the midst of it all?
    December 2, 2021 Laura de Jong
  • And now I need to ask…
    The Twelve" is the first thing I read each day, usually in the early pre-dawn. The experience has made my past year richer. Much has been said about gratitude by the other Twelvers. Reciprocity is its sibling.
    December 2, 2021 Tim Van Deelen
  • Barth & Christmas Wonder
    This Advent, together with some friends and colleagues from my church, I’m reading a collection of Christmas essays and articles...
    December 1, 2021 Jared Ayers

Poetry

Poetry
December 7, 2021

The Prophetess (Isaiah’s Wife)

Our son will be my prophesy, my sign, my wonder.
Poetry
December 7, 2021

Cross-stitch

My grandfather at 90 chews my mom's roast chicken and banana bread, his dentures slipping loose.
Poetry
November 30, 2021

Be Cactus Bloom

Be red desert blush. Be peacock plume glanced by high-noon sun.
Poetry
November 30, 2021

I see the Name of God

In the vein-code of a leaf, hear it in the bleating of the neighbor's round-horn sheep.
Poetry
November 23, 2021

The Camouflage Spiritual

It brings me joy to report that to scarecrows we all look the same ...
Poetry
November 23, 2021

The Sinking Ship Spiritual

In an emergency room, I sat beside a man with a pencil in his eye ...

Latest Podcasts

Around the WebChurchLeadershipPodcastWhite American Evangelicalism
November 28, 2021

Listen to a pastor share about politics and the pandemic

A five-minute interview from On Point: a pastor shares on the divisions, friction, and toll to his church during the past few years.
Around the WebPodcastWhite American Evangelicalism
November 27, 2021

White Evangelical Fear

Listen as NPR's On Point with Meghna Chakrabarti explores the causes and consequences of White Evangelical fear.
Podcast
October 21, 2021

Jeff Crosby

In this episode, Jeff Munroe, editor at the Reformed Journal, talks with Jeff Crosby, President and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association. Jeff C has been involved in the Christian publishing industry for nearly four decades, including 5 years as Publisher for InterVarsity Press (IVP). Listen to this week's conversation to hear about how Jeff C found himself in the Christian book business, Jeff's time at IVP, and the future of Christian publishing, as well as get great book…
Podcast
September 23, 2021

Neal Plantinga

In this episode, Deborah Van Duinen talks with Cornelius (Neal) Plantinga, senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian worship at Calvin University. Neal has written several books, including Not the Way It's Supposed to Be (Eerdmans, 1995), Christianity Today's 1996 "Book of the Year," and Engaging God's World (Eerdmans, 2002), the 2003 "Book of the Year." Deb and Neal discuss his newest book, Morning and Evening Prayers, why more Christians should use published prayers, how Reformed theology informed…
Podcast
September 9, 2021

Gayle Boss

In this episode, Deborah Van Duinen, book review editor at the Reformed Journal, talks with Gayle Boss, author of All Creation Waits (2016) and Wild Hope (2020). Gayle shares the stories behind the Advent and Lent devotionals rooted in her deep love for God's creatures, as well as how we can become better caretakers of Creation. More information on Gayle's work can be found at gayleboss.com.
Podcast
August 29, 2021

Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor

In this episode, Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell talks with Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor of The Leader's Journey, an organization that helps leaders and organizations grow their emotional intelligence so that they can be the healthiest, most effective versions of themselves. In this conversation, they discuss their Enneagram numbers, the evolving challenges facing the RCA and other Christian denominations in North America, and The Leader's Journey's work with pastors, congregations, and denominations.
Around the Web

Filter

The Great Resignation

Among American pastors under age 45, 46 percent have considered leaving ministry in the last year.

Rittenhouse and Natural Law

Self-defense and Natural Law and the Rittenhouse verdict, from the Christian Century

Listen to a pastor share about politics and the pandemic

A five-minute interview from On Point: a pastor shares on the divisions, friction, and toll to his church during the past few years.

White Evangelical Fear

Listen as NPR's On Point with Meghna Chakrabarti explores the causes and consequences of White Evangelical fear.

Judas charged for role in January 6 insurrection!

Too weird to be true! The actor playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar is charged for his role in storming the capitol on January 6.

Preaching and action: is there a justice connection?

What Americans hear about social justice at church -- and what they do about it. From "The Conversation."

Growth & Impact: The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill

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Kristin Kobes DuMez on “Masculinity” in Politico

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I feel sorry for Kyle Rittenhouse

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Updated NRSV due out in spring 2022

The NRSVue (updated edition) is not a new translation but alters some wording for "modern sensibilities."

Must Science and Faith Be Enemies?

Tish Harrison Warren talks with Deborah Haarsma, president of BioLogos.

Beth Allison Barr Refutes Kevin DeYoung

Barr rebutts DeYoung's review of her book, especially using Bridgit of Kildare and Genovefa of Paris.