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Debra Rienstra

Professor / Writer

The art of being human in a God-beloved world.

Like a lot of us, I’m trying to stay faithful and sane as the world continues to change all around us. As a writer and college professor, I combine perspectives from the past—especially the literary tradition—with reflection on contemporary thought. Most of all, I draw on the rich resources of a generous, intelligent, ecumenical, genuine Christianity to explore all aspects of culture.

My latest book, on faith and climate change, is called Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth (Fortress 2022). Much of my writing lately focuses on taking the climate crisis seriously and responding with the resources of faith, mercy, and justice.

If you like to learn new things while celebrating the beautiful, lamenting the tragic, and having fun wherever possible—then we’re on the same journey. With the help of good books and good people who are doing hopeful work, we can seek how best to offer our small lives for the greater blessing of the world God loves.

I post a new essay to this website at least every two weeks. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter @debrakrienstra.


Refugia: a podcast about renewal

Refugia are places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis. From out of these small sanctuaries, life re-emerges, and the world is renewed.

We’re exploring what it means for people of faith to be people of refugia. How can we create safe places of flourishing— “micro-countercultures” where we gain strength and spiritual capacity to face the challenges ahead?


Chaptering Our Lives

Best-selling memoirs tend to tell big, dramatic stories—getting sober, the messy divorce, the cancer diagnosis, the series of lovers, living through war, recovering from abuse, the woes of being famous. For most of us, the challenge is to perceive the contours of our ordinary lives…
January 21, 2023