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Inside Out

Saul Cannot Get a Break

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel?” (1 Samuel 16:1) Poor King Saul. He can’t get a break from God. He didn’t ask to be king – it was God’s idea, not his. He wasn’t cut out for it, not really, not even being head and shoulders above the rest. He didn’t have the knack for it, despite that first success that earned him the…
Daniel Meeter
September 1, 2014
Book Reviews

Conflict and Covalent Bonds

Daniel Meeter This book is essential reading for those connected in any way to the Reformed Church in America. It fills a gap in the denomination's historiography, and its compelling analysis makes a first-rate case study of the travails of post-war American Protestantism. Lynn Japinga, who teaches religion at Hope College, has given us the story of 49 years, from the end of World War II to Wesley Granberg-Michaelson's debut as general secretary. Japinga has not intended a comprehensive history.…
Daniel Meeter
March 1, 2014
Inside Out

Numbering Our Days

Daniel Meeter The lifespan of a dog is about 4,400 days. A mouse gets six hundred. Human beings get 25,560 days, or by reason of strength, 29,211. Tortoises get 40,000, and sequoias get 365,000 and more. Why aren't we content with our number? Why do we, of all creatures, expect to live forever? The biblical Hebrews did not believe in human immortality. There is not one word in the Torah about life after death, which is remarkable when you consider…
Daniel Meeter
January 1, 2014
Uncategorized

Behold, the Behemoth

"Behold, the Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox." Job 40:15 If the book of Job is a drama, like a stage-play, then the last long speech belongs to God. But the speech is not what you'd expect in a summation. It's the speech God makes about the beasts, the Behemoth and the Leviathan, which are taken to be the hippopotamus and the crocodile. How does this speech advance the argument? What does…
Daniel Meeter
May 1, 2013
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Mitt the Heretic

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2012: AS WE SEE IT by Daniel Meeter Are Mormons Christians?" When my parishioners ask me this, I answer, "Yes, I think so." And then I add, "But they're heretics" Isn't that helpful? If it's not politically correct, it is historically so. But I really do answer this way because I am serious about my pastoral roles as an on-deck theologian and the catechist of my adult members. I answer this way because implicit in the question of my…
Daniel Meeter
August 1, 2012
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In Search of a General Secretary

Beginning about a year ago, it was my privilege to serve on the search committee for a new general secretary for the Reformed Church in America (RCA). The eventual result of our search was the nomination of Rev. Dr. Tom De Vries, and his subsequent election by the General Synod of the RCA last June. Enough time has elapsed now for me to offer these first reflections on the search committee process. Right off, let me say that I have…
Daniel Meeter
December 1, 2011
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Body Language

I love the way the kingbird feeds by acrobatics from the trees along the lake. She lunges from her branch above the water to snatch what I can't see, or plunges down and curls around the bug she catches. I love the way that Levi takes communion at the rail. I kneel as he stands next to me, stocky, ruddy, ancient, undistracted, with his hands cupped out and his eyes half closed. When I'm at the cottage by myself, I…
Daniel Meeter
October 1, 2011
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Twenty-Seven Years with the Belhar Confession

I have loved the Belhar Confession for twenty-seven years. I am proud that the Reformed Church in America (RCA) has adopted the Confession as a fourth doctrinal standard. But now we have to live with it and let ourselves be formed by it. Let me give a testimony of my experience of the Belhar and then offer some observations on how the Belhar has been forming the RCA while we considered it and of how it may form us in…
Daniel Meeter
June 1, 2011
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Catenary: The Curve of a Hanging Chain

I learned it from Meredith Kline (The Structure of Biblical Authority), who got it from George Mendenhall. We've had it wrong on the "two tables" of the law. It's not that the law is divided in two; it's that each stone tablet had a full copy of the law. One copy was for God, and one copy was for Israel, like ancient suzerainty treaties and modern contracts. There is no division in the actual text of the Ten Commandments, either…
Daniel Meeter
May 1, 2011