Essays

No Words Fall

No Words Fall

The Banner (2017)

Poor Zechariah. He’s minding his priestly business, and suddenly an angel accosts him and delivers shocking news. Zechariah asks a completely understandable question—“How can I know this? After all, we’re old”—and Gabriel strikes him silent. Gabriel, do you need to be all testy and indignant? Poor Zechariah.

No Words Fall

The Banner (2017)

Poor Zechariah. He’s minding his priestly business, and suddenly an angel accosts him and delivers shocking news. Zechariah asks a completely understandable question—“How can I know this? After all, we’re old”—and Gabriel strikes him silent. Gabriel, do you need to be all testy and indignant? Poor Zechariah.

No Words Fall

A Memoir in Psalms

The Banner (2016)

Earlier this year, Fuller Theological Seminary’s Brehm Center made a short film featuring internationally acclaimed rock star Bono in conversation with internationally acclaimed biblical scholar and writer Eugene Peterson. Bono and Peterson, it turns out, are good friends. They bonded many years ago, as the film explains, over their shared love of the psalms.

No Words Fall

The Banner (2017)

Poor Zechariah. He’s minding his priestly business, and suddenly an angel accosts him and delivers shocking news. Zechariah asks a completely understandable question—“How can I know this? After all, we’re old”—and Gabriel strikes him silent. Gabriel, do you need to be all testy and indignant? Poor Zechariah.

knowing-stuffKnowing Stuff

Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (2012)

I admit there’s something romantic about woodstoves and typewriters and horse-drawn carriages and other technologies of the past—for about ten minutes. Then, get me back to my central heating, my laptop, and my minivan. And definitely, definitely: give me the internet. There’s nothing romantic about not knowing stuff.

Knowing Stuff

Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (2012)

I admit there’s something romantic about woodstoves and typewriters and horse-drawn carriages and other technologies of the past—for about ten minutes. Then, get me back to my central heating, my laptop, and my minivan. And definitely, definitely: give me the internet. There’s nothing romantic about not knowing stuff.

music-of-graceMusic of Grace

The Banner (2011)

From out of the quiet, the sound of water splashing into the font wakes me up to worship. More than the first song of praise, more than the greeting, more than the shuffle and shift of the congregation, that sound calls me into God’s presence.

Music of Grace

The Banner (2011)

From out of the quiet, the sound of water splashing into the font wakes me up to worship. More than the first song of praise, more than the greeting, more than the shuffle and shift of the congregation, that sound calls me into God’s presence.

the-divine-regardThe Divine Regard

Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (2011)

Psalm 121 is the sort of psalm we might post on our refrigerators and bulletin boards, right alongside “I know the plans I have for you” and “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.”

The Divine Regard

Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (2011)

Psalm 121 is the sort of psalm we might post on our refrigerators and bulletin boards, right alongside “I know the plans I have for you” and “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.”

holy-failureHoly Failure

The Banner (2009)

Bowling was not my first choice. But I went along with the plan because I was eager to spend time with our friends and everyone else wanted to go bowling. So on a Saturday afternoon we showed up at the bowling alley and divided into two groups: the three adults and our teenage daughter on one lane, and the two middle schoolers and two grade schoolers on the neighboring lane.

Holy Failure

The Banner (2009)

Bowling was not my first choice. But I went along with the plan because I was eager to spend time with our friends and everyone else wanted to go bowling. So on a Saturday afternoon we showed up at the bowling alley and divided into two groups: the three adults and our teenage daughter on one lane, and the two middle schoolers and two grade schoolers on the neighboring lane.

call-waiting-620In Focus: Call Waiting

The Well (2007)

For the first few years after graduate school, Ron was the primary breadwinner, working as a campus chaplain (he is an ordained pastor). But from 1998 to 2007, either I have been the breadwinner or, for most of these years, we each worked about three-fourths time and equally shared in the care of our young children.

In Focus: Call Waiting

The Well (2007)

For the first few years after graduate school, Ron was the primary breadwinner, working as a campus chaplain (he is an ordained pastor). But from 1998 to 2007, either I have been the breadwinner or, for most of these years, we each worked about three-fourths time and equally shared in the care of our young children.

loving-serviceLoving service: An essential role we all must embrace

Chicago Tribune (2003)

Read around in the world of recent “mummy lit,” and you will find that “truthful” is the highest compliment a book on motherhood can receive. Curiously enough, though, truthful almost always seems to mean “subversively revealing that motherhood is a nightmare.”

Loving service: An essential role we all must embrace

Chicago Tribune (2003)

Read around in the world of recent “mummy lit,” and you will find that “truthful” is the highest compliment a book on motherhood can receive. Curiously enough, though, truthful almost always seems to mean “subversively revealing that motherhood is a nightmare.”

Reviews

lost-reviewWhat Sci-Fi Does Best

Christian Courier (2018)

Science fiction helps us with the important cultural work of processing both our nightmares and our dreams. It elaborates on the most frightening what-ifs our imaginations can cook up.

lost-reviewLost: Tramping through the Jungle toward the Glowy Light

Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (2010)

The producers of the just-concluded TV drama series Lost certainly delivered the goods in the shocking drama department, but the show offered something beyond typical TV fare: an extended, thoughtful, utterly absorbing treatment of redemption.

Lost: Tramping through the Jungle toward the Glowy Light

Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (2010)

The producers of the just-concluded TV drama series Lost certainly delivered the goods in the shocking drama department, but the show offered something beyond typical TV fare: an extended, thoughtful, utterly absorbing treatment of redemption.

postmodern-hamlet-can-shakespeare-survivePostmodern Hamlet: Can Shakespeare Survive the Dissolution of the Self?

Books & Culture (2001)

Halfway through Michael Almereyda’s new film version of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take their pal Hamlet out on the club scene, where they slump on sofas with their beers and attempt to sound out Hamlet’s secrets by shouting lines at each other over the thumpa-thumpa of the music. It is an amusingly symbolic moment: Can anyone hear Shakespeare’s lines over the visual and aural noise of postmodern film?

Postmodern Hamlet: Can Shakespeare Survive the Dissolution of the Self?

Books & Culture (2001)

Halfway through Michael Almereyda’s new film version of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take their pal Hamlet out on the club scene, where they slump on sofas with their beers and attempt to sound out Hamlet’s secrets by shouting lines at each other over the thumpa-thumpa of the music. It is an amusingly symbolic moment: Can anyone hear Shakespeare’s lines over the visual and aural noise of postmodern film?

Scholarly Articles

“Scant Verses: Henry Lok as a Forerunner of George Herbert.” George Herbert Journal 38.1-2 (Fall 2014/Spring 2015): 80-93.

“‘Mend My Rhyme’: Resolutions in Psalms, Sonnets, and Herbert’s ‘The Church.’” George Herbert Journal 37.1-2 (Fall 2013/Spring 2014): 117-130.

“’Let Wits Contest’: George Herbert and the English Sonnet Sequence.” George Herbert Journal 35.1-2 (Fall 2011/Spring 2012): 23-44. Note: Journal issue appeared summer of 2014, but is being backdated in order to fill in years in which the journal did not appear.

“’Disorder Best Fit’: Henry Lok and Holy Disorder in Devotional Lyric.” Spenser Studies 27 (2012): 249-87.

“The Countess of Pembroke and the Problem of Skill in Devotional Writing.” Sidney Journal 23.1-2 (2005): 37-60.

“Circulating the Sidney-Pembroke Psalter” (with Noel Kinnamon). Women’s Writing and the Circulation of Ideas: Manuscript Publication in England, 1550-1800. Ed. George L. Justice and Nathan Tinker.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. 50-72. (Reprint of Sidney Journal article.)

“Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, Psalmes.” A Companion to Early Modern Women’s Writing. Ed. Anita Pacheco. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. 110-124.

“Dreaming Authorship: Aemilia Lanyer and the Countess of Pembroke.” Discovering and Recovering the Seventeenth Century Religious Lyric. Ed. Eugene R. Cunnar and Jeffrey Johnson. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 2001. 80-103.

“Revisioning the Sacred Text” (with Noel Kinnamon). Sidney Journal 17.1 (1999): 53-77.

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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