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Whitewashed Images

September 20, 2021
In the Reformed tradition, worship is an encounter with the living God, who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, speaks to congregants through the preaching of the word and communes with them in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Without the location of God in a place or object, without encountering God in word and sacrament, how can a believer’s restless longing for communion with God ever be satisfied?
Featured

Poetry’s Mad Instead

We have a Creator who calls on the creation to create. We have a God who calls us to praise God’s marvelous deeds and summons us to sorrow over the sins of this world. Poets draw us into praise and sorrow through the songs they sing. They reconnect us with God’s world by wrenching this world awry. Their “mad instead” nourishes the faith of the faithful by making the familiar fresh.
ChurchFeaturedWorship
September 6, 2021

The Baptism of the Spirit

The church has been entrenched for centuries in disputes about baptism, and our confidence in our own baptisms can weaken in the trenches. In this essay I want to suggest one way out of the baptismal trenches. I will point to the trail of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
FeaturedMemoir
August 30, 2021

Cosmic Companionship

If we practice slowing down and paying attention—if we truly take the Sabbath to heart—we will find that wild geese and herons and burning bushes are everywhere. The world is always offering itself to our imagination!
EducationFeatured
August 23, 2021

CRT and the Christian School

My theory is that many Christian school educators have used different lenses to arrive at similar conclusions as CRT. As Reformed Christians who hold the Bible as our ultimate source of knowledge and truth, we need to be careful not to dismiss common grace working in secular arenas and not to discard Biblical ideas about justice and ethics because they arise from a secular ideology. 
EnvironmentFeaturedScience
August 16, 2021

Packing for Au Sable

Here’s the question occupying so much space in my mental suitcase: why has the creation care movement been so ineffectual? . . . I wonder why the church is not seen as a leader in battling the climate crisis, the extinction crisis, and the injustices that ripple out from there? Why does the creation care movement seem to only exist in the minds of a small handful of lovely people, some practitioners but with an outsize fraction of academics? Creation…
FeaturedScience
August 9, 2021

Consciousness in a Petri Dish?

From the point of view of this biologist who is a Christian, science is a gift from God—the Creator of all things, including scientific questions and research that makes us uncomfortable. I am not afraid of asking hard questions or living in the tension of not understanding how a scientific discovery fits with my Christian faith. The gospel is strong enough for our questions and lack of understanding.
ChurchFeatured
August 2, 2021

If I Went to Church…

But over time, I’ve learned that someone saying “If I went to church, I’d go to yours,” usually indicates absolutely nothing. Sometimes the people who utter it even laugh at themselves -- quickly adding the qualifier “but I’m not going to church!’

Latest from the Blog

Daily blog by our regular bloggers & guest contributors.

  • Season of Creation Liturgy: An Interim Report
    We are observing the Season of Creation for the first time this year, and as is our custom, we’ve put together our own liturgy. I’d like to report on how it’s been going.
    September 25, 2021 Debra Rienstra
  • What I saw on my summer vacation
    Her apparel suggested a sect I didn’t recognize. Her husband wore a great bushy beard. He appeared to be a...
    September 24, 2021 James C. Schaap
  • A House on the Rock
    I live in Corwin’s house. The Reverend Edward Tanjore Corwin (1834-1914) compiled The Manual of the Reformed Church. It went...
    September 23, 2021 Fred Mueller
  • Responsive
    Currently, a lot of my classes are attempting to dig into me and get me to articulate why I do...
    September 22, 2021 Olivia Mason
  • Pizza in Pella
    We hope the Reformed Journal helps each one of us to be able to say “I am not alone!’ That’s important.
    September 21, 2021 Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell
  • 9/11 at Twenty: Repentance and Transformation
    I remember having an intense feeling of disassociation. It was such a beautiful day. The sky was clear and blue, and yet on the television America was being attacked. Who could hate us so much? Why did they hate us? The airport was a hive of anxiety. Were we under
    September 20, 2021 Jeff Munroe
  • Hoping With Pain
    For the last decade I’ve suffered from a spinal injury that developed into spinal stenosis and severe osteoarthritis. I was...
    September 19, 2021 Chelsey Harmon
  • Martyrdom and Memory
    I’ve been remembering recently how martyrdom was such a prominent feature of my evangelical upbringing. I mean, no one I...
    September 18, 2021 Allison Vander Broek

Poetry

Poetry
September 21, 2021

Other-Side-of-the-Duplex Blues

3:00 am Christmas, and your newly divorced neighbor's trying to screw together the last wall of a doll house for the four-year-old she's finally coaxed into sleep.
Poetry
September 21, 2021

Overboard

Ready to swallow the fallen, the sea swells. "The waters want me," Jonah cries, running, running, always running away.
Poetry
September 14, 2021

The Name

I promise not to miss this gift—helleborus—poisonous kin of buttercups that bloom all year.
Poetry
September 14, 2021

Over Flyover Country

From this window seat sweet puffs of white disguise irregular quadrilaterals, webs of roofs and roads to make our countryside serene.
Poetry
September 7, 2021

Prayer on Waking

For this icy, rain assaulting the bedroom window, let me be truly thankful.
Poetry
September 7, 2021

The Small Hours

In the small hours, you drift along on your raft of felled palms, weightless between black fathoms above and below.

Latest Podcasts

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.
Podcast
August 26, 2021

Makoto Fujimura

In this episode, Jennifer Holberg talks with Makoto Fujimura, a leading contemporary artist whose process driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of New York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time”. He was a Presidential Nominee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 to 2009, and served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision-makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. In this episode, they discuss Fujimura's book,…
Podcast
August 13, 2021

Tim Van Deelen

In this episode, Jeff Munroe talks with Tim Van Deelen, who is a professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is also a frequent contributor to The Reformed Journal, regularly contributing the blog and writing essays. In this episode, they discuss Tim's work, as well as ways that individuals can make a difference around climate change, and more.
Podcast
July 29, 2021

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap

In this episode, Rev. Kate Kooyman talks with Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, who is the Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. He attended Calvin University and Western Seminary, and has also served as the National Organizer and Spokesperson at the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. They discuss Kyle's advocacy for climate change throughout his life, what he has learned about his faith through this work, as well as advice for those who want to become involved in climate change advocacy.
Around the Web

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Trump supporters adopt evangelical label

Trump supporters were likely to adopt the label "evangelical" -- even if they previously did not self-identify way. Did they have a religious experience or has evangelical become more a political than religious label?

Abortion Has Never Been Just About Abortion

The roots of the anti-abortion movement are in the reaction against desegregating schools. And views on abortion have been increasingly partisan and polarized over the last 50 years.

What counts as “religion” for vaccine exemptions?

As more and more US business require vaccines, non-vaxxers are looking for religious exemptions. Who decides what is valid?

No religious exemptions to vaccine mandates, NYT op/ed

"Religious exemptions to coronavirus vaccine mandates make a mockery of Christianity and religious liberty" ~ Curtis Chang

Shofars, Pentecostals, Banishing Satan & January 6

Pentecostals increasingly use the shofar in their rituals, including the January 6 capitol insurrection.

Anger Grows over Evangelical Vaccine Refusal

It's time to stop making excuses and enabling non-vaxxers who claim religious grounds, writes David French.

Making Beautiful the Ugly

Our own David Hoekema writes about art on the border wall in the Christian Century.

“Here I am, send me” and the US Military

President Biden's use of Isaiah 6 drew ire from all sorts of Christians. Turns out, it's been used before, and often, by voices in the US. Chris Gehrz on Patheos writes.

Is Empathy Sinful?

Chuck DeGroat answers critics who say empathy makes us too soft and leads us away from God's truth.

A Hymn for Afghanistan, sung to “Away in a Manger”

Well-known hymn-writer, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, offers "A Hymn for Places Where War Leads to War."

Jonathan Edwards, Slavery, John Piper, Wishful Thinking & Hierarchical Instincts

What does John's Piper's wishful thinking about his hero, Jonathan Edwards, tell us about Piper? Chris Gehrz writes on Patheos.

Pastoral Care in Covid-Times

Beverly Gaventa pushes back against Hauerwas and Willimon's controversial Christian Century article on pastoral care. The link to that piece, along with another reply are in the article.