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.

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 new essays on this website at least every two weeks. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter @debrakrienstra.


Debra Rienstra is professor of English at Calvin University, where she has taught since 1996, specializing in early British literature and creative writing. She is the author of three books—on motherhood, spirituality, and worship—and numerous essays and poems. Her literary essays have appeared in Rock & Sling, The Examined Life Journal, and Aethlon, among other places. She writes bi-weekly for The Twelve, an online magazine connected with The Reformed Journal, writing about spirituality, pop culture, the church, the arts, higher ed, and more.

Rienstra was raised in Michigan and holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Rutgers University. She and her husband, Ron Rienstra, have three grown children.

Curriculum Vitae


Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Ph.D in Literatures in English, May 1995
M.A. in English Literature, October 1991

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

B.A. in English Literature, 1985-1987

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI


Teaching Experience


Calvin University (formerly Calvin College), 1996-present


Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, 2005-2006