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Fed

By As We See It

Gayle Boss This morning, stepping outside, I noticed my first tulips beside the front door. Or rather, their absence. Yesterday morning I thought that after one of the coldest Aprils on record and after last night’s warm rain, I would finally see blooming the tulips I had painstakingly planted last October. I would see their tight green fists relax, like a magician opening his clenched hand to show the colorful silk inside—red, orange and pink, yellow. Instead, green nubs at…

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Never Enough

By As We See It

Gayle Boss This fading picture is of my mother and her three sons, from about 1966. It was in the boxes of my mom’s papers and pictures that got sorted several weeks ago, after her death. I’m the one standing closest to her, the boy smiling too hard. I remember a day around the time this picture was taken, a school day when I discovered I didn’t have a lunch. I was so angry. My little stomach rumbled and grumbled,…

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Church: Equipped by Grace

By Essays

Kory Plockmeyer For a pastor, the transition to a new church presents a fascinating challenge: the first sermon. What passage claims highest priority? What signals are sent with that first message? My wife and I recently moved to Sioux Center, Iowa, where we pastor Covenant Christian Reformed Church. I began my ministry there with the lectionary readings at the time, in 1 and 2 Timothy. Somehow it seemed fi tting. After all, as N. T. Wright says in Paul for…

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Merely a Line in the Sand: A Model for Christian-Muslim Dialogue

By Essays

Robert Todd Wise The development of the church in Ethiopia has parallels in the Western world that fascinate any student of church history. The separate, similar relationship between ecclesiastical and secular authorities is one such parallel, and it resembles interactions that have taken place time and again in the history of Western Christianity. As well, the growth of Protestant movements in Ethiopia in recent times has the character of reformation movements, creating lively discourse among differing traditions. The complex meetings…

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Shuffling the Team

By As We See It

Dawn Boelkins I’ve never understood the point of Fantasy Football. Why go to the trouble of investigating all the professional football teams, disassembling them, and realigning the players in made-up teams? Aren’t there sufficient games? An abundance of statistics? Exuberant mascots? I have even less understanding now that we’ve done quite a bit of shuffling on the Perspectives editorial board. We’re grateful for the unflagging enthusiasm of Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell who joined the editorial board in 2007 and — just one…

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Theme and Variation: Prayer, Enstrom’s Grace, and Calvin

By As We See It

Howard Schaap When I was in my early teens, my dad announced rather formally that he would no longer be praying before our family meals. Considering that, breakfast aside, he had prayed at virtually every family meal of my life up to that point, this was a significant announcement. Prayer could become just a rote exercise, went his explanation, and he didn’t want to fall into the trap of the Pharisee in the parable, praying empty words. This did not…

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Boasting: It is Included

By Essays

Matthew S. Vos I’m an accomplished loser. I really am. I don’t offer this bit of self-deprecation to vaunt my humility right before revealing a long list of breathtaking accomplishments. In truth, I’ve won only three things during my forty-four years on God’s good earth. When I was thirteen, I won Cadet of the Year for my work accumulating merit badges in a scout-like group in our Christian Reformed Church. However, that year they split the award between two of…

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