High-Performance Christians

High-Performance Christians

We know what it’s like to be on display all the time, to be ever the responsible example, to be always leading and mentoring and discipling, striving never to fail anyone in the quest to model spiritual excellence. It’s a blessed life, of course—a privilege for sure—but our laughter was an admission: sometimes it just feels exhausting.

Pious Petunia Puts on the Ashes

Pious Petunia Puts on the Ashes

After a long hiatus, guest columnist Pious Petunia returns with wise and timely guidance along the Lenten pilgrim path.

The Festival Geek Recommends: 2018 Edition

The Festival Geek Recommends: 2018 Edition

It’s time to “Make Reading Great Again” at the 2018 Festival of Faith and Writing. Every two years, the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing and the Calvin English Department host a three-day celebration of books, writing, publishing, reading, and faith.

Supersubstantial Bread

Supersubstantial Bread

Now that I know about this tradition of interpretation, though, I would like to recover it for us children of the Reformation. I mean, why choose? The term epiousios is multivalent and spacious, wide enough to embrace both meanings, maybe made up precisely to do so.

Can We Retire the Word “Bias”?

Can We Retire the Word “Bias”?

Here’s how it works. If you don’t like what a person or news article or books says, you pronounce it “biased,” and you’re done. You have destroyed the person or source’s credibility. No need to consider what is being said on its own terms. End of discussion.

Austerity Measures

Austerity Measures

Bare pots of dirt: that’s my preferred symbol this Advent. Bare trees, dead leaves, winter stillness. It occurred to me the other day, stopping and starting in dense holiday traffic, that we could opt out of Christmas completely. Some people do. We could just skip it. With that thought, I felt a momentary lift of freedom—which exposes all the cultural pressure to clutter our lives with Christmas crap as the ridiculous burden it is.

Zechariah’s Dream

Zechariah’s Dream

One night, I dreamed it wasn’t just me. Every other old codger had gone silent. It seemed that any man over about age 50 could no longer speak or write or even type. Not the women, just the men. So weird. Us older guys shuffled down the grocery store aisles, nodding at each other helplessly. We couldn’t even say “you too” when the teenage cashier told us to have a nice day.

Discovery: A Report from the Final Frontier

Discovery: A Report from the Final Frontier

I hereby provide a public service by filing this scouting report for those of you wondering whether the new Star Trek series, airing on the subscription service CBS All Access, is worth the investment of your time and money. The answer is: maybe.

Inappropriate Halloween Costumes

Inappropriate Halloween Costumes

Hence, I set all niceties aside and present my suggestions for inappropriate Halloween costumes especially for church people. Deploy these with relish on that most wickedest of holidays, All Hallow’s Eve, and join in the gasp-inducing fun.

Ecumenism, Art, and Hope

Ecumenism, Art, and Hope

One finds good news where one can these days, and here comes some good news for the church: the work of ecumenism thrives in the field of theological aesthetics. Granted, we’ve had to float into a rarefied atmosphere to recover this news, but what’s going at the intersection of theology and the arts does promise hopeful, on-the-ground implications.

I have published books on motherhood, Christian spirituality, and language in worship. I write regularly about all sorts of topics for The Twelve, and I teach literature and writing at Calvin College, where I have served on the faculty since 1996.

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