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Stewardship Is Not Good Enough

If we are partners in earth-healing, we need to ask different questions about any place that we own or live on or love. For millennia, humans have mostly asked, “What do we want and need from ‘nature’?” In this age, we need to ask instead, “What healing does this place need, and how can I help?”
February 14, 2022
Essays

More Bread than We Bargained For

“Did you know that the phrase ‘daily bread’ in the Lord’s Prayer really means ‘supersubstantial bread’? Like, supernatural?” This is the sort of tidbit that gets dropped casually at my house from time to time. It’s what happens when you live with a seminary professor. “Where did that come from?” I asked my spouse. “I dunno. The interwebs.” Classic. Turns out it’s true. How many times have I prayed the Lord’s Prayer – thousands? And I never heard this before?…
January 1, 2019
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Told You So, Dad

Debra Rienstra Obviously, even in my late forties, I still have some father issues to work out. I realized this afresh as I was reading through Daniel Pink's 2005 book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, because I kept thinking of my poor dad and how I wanted to show him the book and say, "Ha! See? I was right all along!" How immature of me, since these days it is more pointless than ever to…
September 1, 2013
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Knowing Stuff

APRIL 2012: AS WE SEE IT by Debra Rienstra I admit there's something romantic about woodstoves and typewriters and horse-drawn carriages and other technologies of the past—for about ten minutes. Then, get me back to my central heating, my laptop, and my minivan. And definitely, definitely: give me the internet. There's nothing romantic about not knowing stuff. Questions I have asked the internet this week: What's the weather going to be in Albany, New York? Should I be worried about…
April 1, 2012
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The Divine Regard

Psalm 121 is the sort of psalm we might post on our refrigerators and bulletin boards, right alongside "I know the plans I have for you" and "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord." A personal affirmation of faith, a soaring word of assurance about our great and good God: "Nothing will harm you. God is the maker of heaven and earth, and all is well. You'll be safe." On good days, we rejoice in…
November 1, 2011
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Lost: Tramping through the Jungle toward the Glowy Light

Anthologies of world literature aimed at the college textbook market tend to include most or all of Dante's Inferno, and only a few, if any, cantos from Purgatorio or Paradiso. Perhaps the reasoning behind this is that undergraduates find sin altogether fascinating and redemption rather dull. Maybe we all do. Typical primetime TV offerings would seem to confirm this point. The titillation, the murders, the explosions--why tune in unless something violent or scandalous is happening? The producers of the justconcluded…
October 1, 2010
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New (and Dull?) Apologetics

Debra Rienstra Two doctrinal sermons every Sunday, hymns thick with theological import, Bible class at school, and catechism class every Wednesday. That was my religious upbringing, heavy with Bible knowledge and theological terminology. This appealed to my bookish nature, and for the most part I lapped it right up. The part I hated was youth group, with its strained urgings toward "sharing" followed by activities that we cynically referred to as "forced fun." I would be hard-pressed to find a…
October 16, 2008