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Meeting Calvin in Rittenhouse Square

MARCH 2012: AS WE SEE IT by Jared Ayers In the summer of 2008, my wife Monica and I crammed the contents of our house on Eleventh Street in Holland, Michigan, our two-year-old son, and our dog into a Budget Rental truck and made our way 739 miles east, to downtown Philadelphia. We had agreed to be guinea pigs for a new initiative in the Reformed Church in America called the "Classis of the City": an ecclesial structure that would…
Jared Ayers
October 30, 2014
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Eulogy

FEBRUARY 2012: INSIDE OUT by Thom Fiet "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48 Trudy Brower prayed for us in English, and then she prayed again for us in German, the assumption being that prayers spoken in German are superior to those spoken in any other language. Trudy was precise, like a micrometer. She expected perfection from those in her family and social circles. She expected it of her pastor, heaven help him. And…
Thom Fiet
October 30, 2014
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A Call to Consequential Faith

FEBRUARY 2012: REVIEW by Terri Martinson Elton Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church Kenda Creasy Dean Oxford University Press, 2010 $24.95. 264 pages. Don't judge this book by its cover, at least not completely. It might seem like a book about teenagers, and in many ways, it is. It offers as its starting point high-level insights and personal stories from the findings of the massive 2003–2005 National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR),…
Terri Martinson Elton
October 30, 2014
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What’s Left

FEBRUARY 2012: POETRY by Kristina Erny Due to the formatting needs of this month's poem, it is available as a PDF. Familiar with being an outsider from her childhood in South Korea, Kristina Erny became interested in dialect, storytelling, language acquisition, spirituality, and community (insiders vs. outsiders) more deeply after spending four months in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in 2008. It was here, in this place still suffering from the aftermath of civil war, that she was first introduced to the…
Kristina Erny
October 30, 2014
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Burning the Wooden Shoes—Again!

FEBRUARY 2012: ESSAY by David Zwart A pair of burning wooden shoes! It is probably the most famous— or infamous—cover of the Christian Reformed Church's magazine, The Banner. It appeared November 3, 1980, the work of a new editor, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, himself a native of the Netherlands who had migrated to Canada and then the United States. If anyone should have wanted to keep Dutch traditions, it should have been this member of Generation 1.5. Yet the magazine's cover and…
David Zwart
October 30, 2014
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Toss the Coin, Clap Your Hands—and Pray!

FEBRUARY 2012: ESSAY by Marla Lunderberg When I get near an airport, any airport, any friend's take-off or return, I celebrate the motion, the rhythms of humanity on the move, and I do a quick mental check of my calendar to figure out when I might next board a plane. It is my firm belief that no grown woman should ever find herself without a valid passport. I keep a bag of toiletries in small containers ready to be tossed…
Marla Lunderberg
October 30, 2014
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Why Fast? Ten Contentious Reasons

FEBRUARY 2012: ESSAY by Adam Brooks Webber People eat the darnedest things. Escargot. Haggis. Lutefisk. Cheez Whiz. Our eating shows great diversity—and so does our fasting. As a global and interfaith practice, fasting can take on a variety of forms. Within the Christian context in particular, fasting is motivated by a host of reasons. In the Institutes, John Calvin contends that "a holy and lawful fast has three ends in view. We use it either to mortify and subdue the…
Adam Brooks Webber
October 30, 2014
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Death of the One

FEBRUARY 2012: AS WE SEE IT by Robert Dahl I am filled with disgust and emptiness over the rhythm of everyday life that goes relentlessly on—as though nothing had changed, as though I had not lost my precious beloved! —Dietrich von Hildebrand On the flight home from Naples, Florida, there was a stop in Pittsburgh. I sat in the airport watching all the couples and families on their way to or from a vacation. It was August. To me, they…
Robert E. Dahl
October 30, 2014
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Leave Metallica Alone!

FEBRUARY 2012: AS WE SEE IT by Jason Lief Numerous times I have been asked, "Have you read that book about Metallica going to church?" (John Van Sloten, The Day Metallica Came to Church: Searching for the Everywhere God in Everything). Every time I awkwardly respond, "Uh . . . no." I can’t blame people for asking. I'm a metal fan, after all. I grew up on Metallica. I learned to play guitar listening to Metallica. So of course those…
October 30, 2014