Skip to main content
Essays

A Letter from Despondent University

Below is a letter from an old friend, Karis, who now serves as dean of the chapel at Despondent University in up-state Washington, in WantMore County. We share a faithful correspondence through letters. Occasionally she writes something that I like to share. Despondent University, est. 1849 May 6, 2014   Dear Trygve, It’s graduation day at Despondent University. It’s typical Northwest atmosphere. The clouds hang low, and a slow drizzle threatens the moment. Yet, despite the concrete sky, an atmosphere…
Trygve Johnson
October 30, 2014
Essays

Coffee Cups and Lactaid Lattes

It was a summer of lattes. Every morning I woke at the crack of dawn, donned black pants and a green apron and drove in the semidarkness to a day full of coffee, sweet syrup, steamed milk and customers. These were good mornings, really. I liked the eerie quiet of my house at 5 a.m., the empty stillness of my neighborhood, the relative calm with a few semitrucks accompanying me on the six-lane highway. I liked walking into the travel…
Anna Visser
October 30, 2014
Essays

Evangelism and Sacraments: Telling Well the Story

The Story cannot be told without reference to water: The waters of creation, the flood, the Red Sea, water from the rock, Jesus in the Jordan, the pool of Bethsaida, a basin for washing feet, bloody water from Jesus’ side, “the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne.” No, the story cannot be told without water, and all that water issues forth from a life-giving font, the baptismal font. Neither…
Sue A. Rozeboom
October 30, 2014
Essays

Like the Wideness of the Sea?

I remember the first time that I watched the synod of my (Christian Reformed) church in action. Synod met back then (late 1940s) in the reading room of the old Calvin College library and, since there was no separate gallery for visitors, some of us got to nestle close enough to the delegates to make us feel as if we were right there in the dugout with the real players. The delegates, as they looked to me, were, most of…
Lewis B. Smedes
October 1, 2014
Essays

“Like the wideness of the sea?” 15 years later

Compelling Analogy by Steve Bouma-Prediger Lew Smedes was one of my esteemed teachers when I was a student at Fuller Theological Seminary in the mid-1980s. I vividly recall his stimulating class titled “Calvin and the Christian Life.” I had read his popular book “Sex for Christians” (Eerdmans, 1976) for a religion class as a student at Hope College in 1978 and read everything he wrote in the old Reformed Journal in the 1970s and 1980s. Lew was a larger-than-life person,…
Essays

God and the Seattle Seahawks

MAY/JUNE 2014: ESSAY by Matthew Kaemingk If we would know ourselves, the ancient Temple at Delphi advises, the study of sports in all its connections to the rest of art and life would seem to be an ideal quest for understanding of self and the world. —Simon Kuper, athletic anthropologist I am a rabid fan of the Seattle Seahawks. I am also a Christian theologian. When I claim to be a rabid fan, I mean what I say. Consider the…
Matthew Kaemingk
May 1, 2014
Essays

Church and State: In Defense of Augustine’s Allegory of the Two Cities

The ongoing political debate on the separation of church and state has been all too ambiguous in the use of political arguments of St. Augustine of Hippo. Politicians who include George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have appealed to the elements of Augustine's legacy. Particularly the critics of Augustine's allegory of the two cities have often relied on his writings to argue for a strict church-state separation. Yet in contemporary political uses of Augustine, it remains unclear what…
Peter Rozic
May 1, 2014
Essays

Church: Equipped by Grace

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…
Kory Plockmeyer
March 1, 2014
Essays

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

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…
Robert Todd Wise
March 1, 2014