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Essays

Distance

1,284.5 miles: The distance from my front door to Charlottesville, Virginia. In the second weekend of August, I woke to the sound of a crop-duster plane zooming over our family’s tent in the middle of a Minnesota state park about a half-hour from my home. We were on our annual family end-of-summer camping trip. I lay there for a minute on the air mattress and reached over to my shoe, where I’d stuck my phone for the night. I drowsily…
April 30, 2018
Essays

Reformers and Race: Reconciling Dialect and Deed

“Sawubona.” This Zulu word for hello is much more than a simple greeting. Translated, its intention means “I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.” Understood this way, this word has the potential to reshape the way we see ourselves and others, particularly influencing our social constructions of race and nationalism. Seeing one another appropriately requires the affirmation that all humanity is created in the image of God and thus possesses inherent dignity, value and worth…
April 30, 2018
Essays

Canada Geese and Gerasene Swine

I saw them across the water in the early morning, on our lake in Ontario, just beyond Paquin’s Point: a band of geese, maybe half a dozen. What I actually saw, just barely in the low-angled light, was a passing vision of long thin necks and heads upon the water, gliding behind the point and out of sight. I ran up to the cottage to get the binoculars, but I had to wait an hour to get a better view…
Daniel Meeter
February 28, 2018
Essays

Theology in Bronze

T.S. Elliot wrote that at the end of all our journeying we will arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. For me, it took moving to Calvin College, in the heart of Dutch Calvinist West Michigan, to see the richness of the Lutheran landscape where I spent the formative years of my academic career. For 15 years, I trudged uphill to the bluff-top campus of Gustavus Adolphus College, my sights fixed on the soaring 187-foot…
February 28, 2018
Essays

Olivier Messiaen: Music as Prayer

VISIONS OF AMEN: THE EARLY LIFE AND MUSIC OF OLIVIER MESSIAEN STEPHEN SCHLOESSER EERDMANS, 2014 $50 570 PAGES CONCURRENTLY RELEASED AUDIO RECORDING: MESSIAEN, VISIONS OF AMEN HYESOOK KIM AND STEPHANE LEMELIN, PIANO WWW.EERDMANS.COM/SCHLOESSER_AUDIO Few composers of the 20th century were as deeply shaped by a theological tradition as was Olivier Messiaen by French Catholicism in the period following the First World War. Born to a literary family – his mother a poet, his father an English teacher and translator of Shakespeare…
David A. Hoekema
February 28, 2018
Essays

Capital versus the World: the Protestant Principle in the 21st Century

In April 2014, Thomas Piketty’s tome on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, was released in English translation, featuring 577 pages (minus the footnotes) and some 115 or so graphs and illustrations. In May Capital reached the no. 1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, a fact surprising even to the publisher Harvard, which struggled to meet the furious demand for the book. The central assertion of this behemoth of a text is that capitalism, particularly since the…
February 28, 2018
Essays

Plan A

We’ve all heard a story that goes something like this: In the beginning God created a beautiful and perfect universe. To crown his creation, he made humanity in his own image. Human beings were perfect and immortal. Life was serene and wonderful. There were no predatory animals and no death. But then came the Fall. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and plunged creation into decay, destruction and death. The perfect creation was ruined. Now God had to come up…
Daniel Boerman
December 30, 2017
Essays

Though There Are No Grapes

In late April two years ago, I changed the tires on my van, installing the summer tires once again – not such a memorable event and one that I had done also exactly six months earlier. On October 31, 2015, my wife and I had just put on the winter tires and, in all aspects, it was a typical fall day. The two of us were at home with our younger son, getting our property ready for winter. She had…
December 30, 2017
Essays

Choosing between Culture-Making and Soul-Saving

We stepped out of the car into the grassy, gravel courtyard of the evangelical Ethiopian church. We were very late for worship; today was the feast of St. Gabriel, and we had been stuck in traffic as hundreds of Ethiopian Orthodox churchgoers walked past our stranded car, streaming by in their traditional white robes. That was them, this was us: We were evangelicals, and we were going to an evangelical church, a distinction of great importance, we were told. We finally arrived…
December 30, 2017