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As We See It

Feeling Minnesota: The Art of Not Winning

MAY/JUNE 2014: AS WE SEE IT by Jason Lief "So who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?" All week it was the same question. "I hope they both lose," is the response I gave. "Oh, but Peyton Manning—" Blah, blah, blah. Yes, great football player, even better Saturday Night Live host—his United Way skit is comedy gold. Still, I wanted him to lose. "But the Seahawks, come on, they've never won a Super Bowl. Surely you'll root for…
May 1, 2014
As We See It

Coincidence or Correlation?

MAY/JUNE 2014: AS WE SEE IT by George Brown Jr. What caught my attention that afternoon was the word "Rogue": someone dishonest, a nonconformist or playfully mischievous. The word shone out in bright chrome letters on the back of the SUV stopped in front of my car. While I waited for the traffic light to change, I thought "Rogue" was an apt name for the way the SUV had been driven the past few blocks. Perhaps in a hurry to…
George Brown Jr.
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
Poetry

Liturgy for March, Life, and Walking with Jesus

MARCH/APRIL 2014: POETRY by Barbara Crooker Liturgy for March So, here you come again, scratching the ground with your thin green nails. Go ahead, unbutton your purple robe, let us see clear into your golden heart. Let us believe in the resurrection of the earth. Forgive us now our unbelief. Life After "Starfish," by Eleanor Lerman This is what life does. It hits you like a stone through the window in the form of a phone call from your son-in-law…
Barbara Crooker
March 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
As We See It

Fed

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…
Gayle Boss
March 1, 2014
Book Reviews

Many Strands, Seamless Identity

Mwenda Ntarangwi After returning from a trip to Europe in 1961, a young Lamin Sanneh had a rare moment of clarity regarding his life's work, deciding that "the study of religion should determine the contribution I might make in life." Fifty years later, with the publication of Summoned from the Margin, Sanneh has not only lived up to his life's decision but has established himself internationally as one of the foremost scholars of world Christianity and interfaith understanding. Summoned from…
Mwenda Ntarangwi
March 1, 2014
As We See It

Never Enough

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,…
Jeff Munroe
March 1, 2014
Inside Out

Humbled by Her Habits

Helen Luhrs On our way out of town that Sunday morning, we decided to stop at the nursing home to say goodbye to my mom before we headed back. When we got there, she was in the activity room folding bibs and towels. "Wow, Mom, " I said. "You're dressed up." She was wearing a summer dress, flowing and colorful, in sharp contrast to her fl esh-colored support hose and sensible white tennis shoes. She smiled. "Church starts soon. Right…
Helen Luhrs
March 1, 2014