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God Takes Ugly and Makes Beautiful

I work in a fairly ugly place: downtown Grand Rapids--where one finds cafes, specialty shops, and restaurants next to convenience stores to buy smokes, condoms, and booze. The doorways smell like urine; the sidewalks are littered with trash. And the people aren't so beautiful either: the homeless, the diseased, the mentally ill, the prostitutes, the addicts, the drunks, the hungry, the thirsty. I carry this place within my heart and these people who know nothing but ugliness--iniquity, disease, death, rejection,…
Pamela J. Henshell
January 16, 2003
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Where’s the Outrage?

A week after last November's mid-term elections in the United States, magazines like Time had cover stories about the Republican "breeze." Some of these covers showed prominent Republicans beaming broadly over their historically unusual success. This motivated many writers to project what may happen as a result of this ostensible "mandate" for the party presently in power. Chief among the items flagged are issues relating to the environment. As it stands, despite an early defeat on the push for oil…
January 16, 2003
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A Frugal Capitalism

As a 60 year-old teacher, I am different from most of my students in many ways. One way is that I am able to remember a time when things were significantly different from the way they are today. The decade of the fifties, which began when I was eight and ended when I was eighteen, is of all the decades of my life the one that was probably the most formative, the one that is most clearly my decade. I…
David Schelhaas
January 16, 2003
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Smiling in Church

"I need to say something," the seminarian said prior to giving a benediction to a surprised congregation. "I've led worship here three Sundays in a row and I detect an absence of Christian joy," he declared from the top of the chancel stairs, facing the center aisle and two long sections of pews, peopled by a small congregation of Reformed Christians, all of whom were much older than the twenty-something seminarian. "I see serious faces and frowns rather than smiles…
Edward H. Schreur
January 16, 2003