Poetry’s Mad Instead

September 13, 2021
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.

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!’
FeaturedOld Testament
July 26, 2021

Barefoot on Holy Ground

I have spent my life studying the Bible and trying to teach it in such a way that students could experience it as living and active in their lives. That is a high bar that more often than not I failed to clear; I was powerless to implement the deeper learning that I desired for my students. I could not make them love anything, or care for anyone, or open their hearts to the word of God. But I could…

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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.
August 31, 2021


Along the way, she stops from time to time, to draw a penny from its woolen sack; as if to plant the earth with what's sublime she'll press it down within a sidewalk crack.
August 31, 2021

The Prow of the House

One big hand sets the phonograph's fine needle into the groove and flips the broken switch, until some secret part at last turns on.

Latest Podcasts

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.
July 15, 2021

Reggie Smith

In this episode of The Reformed Journal Podcast, Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell talks with Rev. Reggie Smith, the Director of Diversity for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Rev. Reggie Smith grew up in Chicago, Illinois, then attended Calvin Seminary. He then pastored Northside Community CRC in New Jersey for almost two years before moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he pastored Roosevelt Park Community CRC for 20 years. He has also taught urban ministry and urban development classes at Calvin…
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