cultural commentary

Desire and Its Discontents

After all, this is a show about advertising, the industry that trades on desire—evoking it, creating it, exploiting it. The Jaguar is the quintessential metaphor for desired objects: it’s beautiful, fast, powerful, expensive, temperamental, impractical—and you want it so bad. Oh yes you do. It…
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June 1, 2012
silly

Matthew 2.0

I’ve been out in my yard lately, enjoying this flawless May weather and waging the annual battle for beauty and order against chaos. And I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ agricultural parables, and how he might tell them a little differently today, in American suburbia, than…
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May 19, 2012
memoirspirituality

The Resurrection of the Mind

During worship services this Easter season when we say the Apostle’s Creed together, I naturally attend especially to the words focusing on the Easter event. “On the third day he rose again from the dead,” we proclaim. And in the section on the Holy Spirit,…
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May 5, 2012
liturgical year

Holy Saturday: the Liturgical Blank

But then what? In most of our worship contexts today, the church gives us nothing particular to do until Sunday morning, when it’s all trumpets and lilies and pastel Easter frocks. Between Friday at 3 and Sunday at 10 (or 7 if you’re unlucky enough…
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April 7, 2012
Articles & Essays

Knowing Stuff

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…
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April 1, 2012
Uncategorized

Back in My Day, We Just Didn’t Know Stuff

I admit there’s something romantic about wood stoves 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…
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March 23, 2012
Uncategorized

None But the Angels

You know those times when you do an extra good job on something, even when you understand that no one will appreciate or even notice it?  And you don’t mind, really, because you’re putting in the extra effort for the sake of the work itself,…
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March 10, 2012
Uncategorized

I’m Giving Up Boorishness for Lent

A couple weeks ago, fellow Twelver Jeff Munroe confessed his fondness for Downton Abbey, the gorgeous, Brit-made, upstairs-downstairs soap opera that American viewers have swooned all over this winter.  Oddly enough, this show—which seems to celebrate class divisions and Edwardian excess—enjoys a solid and enthusiastic…
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February 25, 2012
Uncategorized

Retreat

Last week my mother spent a night in the hospital because of atrial fibrillation.  Her heart gets out of rhythm, and it needs to be shocked back in.  That sounds dramatic, but now that I have been formally introduced to the world of cardiac medicine,…
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February 11, 2012
Uncategorized

Let’s Give in and Make It Fun

It’s only January and already I can’t stand another minute of “news coverage” of the presidential race.  I have stopped listening to the yammering—from the candidates, from the talking heads, from the plastic news anchors in their shiny studios.  Why bother?  It’s all cynical blather:…
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January 28, 2012
Uncategorized

Vocation: Bah, Humbug

I apologize for passing over the many great posts since Theresa’s post on vocation, but I’d like to go back to that topic—which seems to have hit a nerve among our blog readers and writers—and try stirring up more conversation.     I have been a…
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January 14, 2012
Uncategorized

Rally Around

Books lying around the house are never safe from my readerly omnivory.  So naturally I grabbed up the book my husband received from his brother this Christmas: Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football by John U.…
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December 31, 2011
Uncategorized

Little Pagans

I spent this first week of Advent thinking about idolatry.  It started with a This American Life podcast on the Penn State disaster, in which reporters from the radio show interviewed the stunned residents of State College, Pennsylvania, as they processed their communal nightmare.  Major…
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December 3, 2011
Uncategorized

Redemption Fantasies

A girl can’t spend every minute thinking deep thoughts and reading classic literature, so on occasion I flop on the couch and watch myself a little fantasy TV.  I am not talking about cheesy Arthurian drama (though I groove on that) or science fiction (which…
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November 5, 2011
Worship Words

Worship Words Interview with CICW

This article was first published by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship on their website: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/ Words are powerfully formative. Worship words shape how we understand God and worship together. In Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry Debra and Ron Rienstra show why and how to give…
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September 30, 2008
Great with Child

Interview with Publisher’s Weekly

By JANA RIESSPublished February 25, 2002 PW: In Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother, you chronicle your experiences during your third pregnancy. How did the book emerge from that pregnancy? DR: When we finally decided to try to have a third baby, I…
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February 25, 2002