Incandescence and Despair: Further Thoughts on First Reformed

Incandescence and Despair: Further Thoughts on First Reformed

But neither Toller’s problems nor religious despair in general are particularly Calvinist, nor do I think that’s what Schrader means to suggest. Schrader has long thought about what it means to capture the holy in art, and a portrait of despair is one stunningly effective way to get there—though not the only way.

The Semiotics of Protest: A New Primer

The Semiotics of Protest: A New Primer

Since we have entered the Age of Resistance, it’s important to keep one’s protest muscles well-toned. With all the marching, kneeling, standing, sitting, walking out, gesturing, and pumping of hand-lettered placards up and down—not to mention furious typing on Twitter—ordinary citizenship in the United States now demands a higher level of physical fitness than we American couch potatoes are accustomed to.

Birdsong

Birdsong

Suddenly I’ve realized how stupid I am. I’ve lived in this climate and latitude most of my life, surrounded by these fellow creatures going about their quick, fluttery lives, and I know almost nothing about them, not even how to recognize their voices.

The Privilege of an Inner Life

The Privilege of an Inner Life

I’ve always understood that my education, beginning with my mother’s early tutelage, was a privilege. This week my gratitude—and perspective—deepened significantly as I read, along with a class of college senior English majors, Michelle Kuo’s wise and generous memoir, Reading with Patrick.

Postcards from Festival 2018 (So Far)

Postcards from Festival 2018 (So Far)

This is just a tiny sampling, and I’m only one person. I’m scribbling in my notebook as fast as I can, and I’m not even telling you all the clever jokes and tender stories and dear human connections I am witnessing in this extraordinary space.

Holy Saturday for the Reformed and/or Task-Oriented

Holy Saturday for the Reformed and/or Task-Oriented

No lights were on, not even a candle. The dusk of the day through the opaque glass ceiling over our chancel area yielded just enough light to see, but all the color had drained from this familiar worship space, leaving nothing but grays.

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.

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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