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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?

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.
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.
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!
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. 
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…
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.
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.

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  • What I saw on my summer vacation
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    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
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  • Pizza in Pella
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    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
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  • Hoping With Pain
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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.
September 21, 2021


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

The Name

I promise not to miss this gift—helleborus—poisonous kin of buttercups that bloom all year.
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.
September 7, 2021

Prayer on Waking

For this icy, rain assaulting the bedroom window, let me be truly thankful.
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

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…
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
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.
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,…
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.
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.
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