Our twelve bloggers, and a few special guests, engage the world on a daily basis, looking at life through a Reformed Christian lens.
I've been a professor of history at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan for more years than I want to count. Before that I taught for nine years in the Religious Studies Dept at the University of Pittsburgh. In scholarship I'm a specialist in American religious and cultural history with a strong side-helping of trans-Atlantic Dutch Reformed studies. Professionally, I'm very concerned about the future of higher education in an age of credentialization, quantitative assessment, and student distraction. My wife, who teaches in Grand Rapids Public Schools, has served as an early-warning monitor of these phenomena for a long time, but brings a lot of joy and zest into our house beyond that. We have four children, all up and doing in their Millennials glory. If you want to get into the weeds regarding my publications, go to http://www.calvin.edu/academic/history/faculty/bratt/.
Thomas C. Goodhart is an ordained minister in the RCA, serves as pastor of the Trinity Reformed Church of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to that, he served a congregation in upstate New York’s Hudson Valley and has served in numerous leadership positions in the Classis, Regional Synod, and General Synod level. Originally from northeast Ohio, he grew up on his family’s dairy farm and although he lives in New York City now, he considers himself a simple farm boy at heart. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology (with a minor in biochemistry) and has special interest in all thing ecology related, conservation biology, and agriculture, particularly food—and especially wine, cheese, and beer. Before seminary he lived and worked with a Native American congregation in Oklahoma and was later ordained in a bi-lingual and bi-cultural congregation in Holland, MI. He is incredibly interested in cultural anthropology and pursues it as a hobby. He understands 1 Peter 4:10 as having a significant role in ministry: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” He understands Christ’s work as being about the gift of grace lived-out in community, and that should move the church to works of justice. He lives in Ridgewood, Queens with his two dogs—Sarii and Prince—and two chickens—Ila and Lisa.
As a past-editor of Perspectives, I remain passionate about the ongoing engagement of culture from a Reformed angle of view and I hope my blog posts--which may range pretty widely over time--will be a reasonably good facsimile of a Reformed worldview in action. Prior to coming to Calvin Theological Seminary in 2005 as its first Director for the Center for Excellence in Preaching, I spent 15 years as a pastor, preaching two sermons most weeks and seeking in also that venue to bring our understanding of God's Word to bear on God's world. Today I try to help my students and my peers in ministry do the same thing and I hope postings in The Twelve will contribute in some small way to that same enterprise.
I've taught English at Calvin College since 1998--where I get to read books and talk about them for a living. What could be better? Given my interest in teaching, I'm the founding co-editor of the Duke University Press journal Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture (and yes, I realize that that is a very long subtitle). I also do various administrative things across campus. As an Army brat, I've never lived anywhere as long as I've now lived in Grand Rapids. I count myself rich in friends and family. I am currently dog-less, but hope to remedy that situation at some point. I enjoy kayaking and hiking. I collect cookbooks (and also like to cook), listen to all kinds of music, and watch all manner of movies and tv shows. I love George Eliot, Jane Austen, Marilynne Robinson, Dante, E.M. Delafield, Tennyson, Hopkins, and Charlotte Bronte (among others). And I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: "I'd rather be reading Flannery O'Connor." Which is true.
I began my religious journey when I was baptized in the Catholic Church and later migrated into a Lutheran confirmation class where I discovered Charismatic Evangelicalism. I began my seminary career in a hip, non-denominational church believing that denominations were the downfall of Chrsitian unity. One year into Western Theological Seminary and I fell in love with Reformed Theology and the Reformed Church in America. I graduated in May 2011 as a loyal voice for all things Reformed now believing that denominiatons may be the best conduit for Christian unity. I serve the beautiful people of West End Collegiate Church as their Associate Minister.
Besides looking at practically everything in my life through a Reformed theological lens, I also love: Malbec wine, Tattoos, New York City, music/poetry, people who are courageous, and the most creative guy I know -- my spouse, Jim. You can find me on twitter @jeskastkeat.
I am a Reformed practical theologian, teaching at a Lutheran seminary (Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN) and influenced in my formative years by the Roman Catholic Church and then the Charismatic movement. I research, teach, and (when given time) write about congregational care, vocational formation, transforming conflict, and the church's mission of healing in today's world. So as not to speak out of complete ignorance, I work as a parish associate at a Presbymergent church in Minneapolis, MN.
My husband, our labradoodle Sandy, and a host of hilarious and brilliant friends keep me grounded on a daily basis, reminding me that God has lavished on us the gift of life to revel in.
I teach Theology and Youth Ministry at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. I'm married to Tammy and we have 3 kids - Naomi, Christian, and Savannah. I am currently working on a PhD in Pastoral Care and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I'm blogging because I want to be more like Jim Schaap... which means I have a lot of blogging to do. Hopefully you find at least a few of my posts to be insightful.
For the past fourteen years, my wife, Sophie, and I have served as the pastors of Second Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa. Whether or not something earthshaking appears on The Twelve, I'm looking forward to the comments and contributions of the other "eleven" very much. In my experience, Reformed people are thoughtful, funny and perceptive. I think I blog because I process by writing. My own thoughts become clearer when I put them into words. So thanks for allowing me to process with you.
Dr. Lynn Japinga and her husband, Rev. Jeff Japinga filled in for Steve from August to October of 2012. Thanks, Lynn and Jeff!
Jeff Munroe is the Vice President of Operations and Advancement at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, an ordained RCA minister and the only guy on his block who knows Hack Wilson's shoe size.
It's a good thing there are places in the world for bookish people who would otherwise be fairly useless to society. I've found such a place as a professor of English at Calvin College, where I teach early British literature and creative writing. Born and bred in the Reformed tradition, I've been unable to resist writing several books about theological topics: beware the writer doing theology without a license.
I'm married to Ron Rienstra, who does have a license, and we have three children, ages 14, 18, and 20. Besides books and theology and worship, I love classical music, science fiction, cheesy Arthurian romance, baking, and teaching myself useful skills like painting, gardening, and--maybe someday--drywall repair.
Northwest Iowa has been my home--ours, my wife and my own--for the last 40 years, with only occasional absences. We have now concluded a tenure that began forever ago, for me a career in the English department at Dordt College, and moved out to rural Alton. My wife, Barbara, and I have two grown children and one elderly cat. I was born on Lake Michigan's west coast, where the water temps are almost always sub-human, but through the years I've grown to love the lake-less plains, whose big skies just outside my window are painted gloriously almost every morning. I've blogged for way too long at http://siouxlander.blogspot.com/, where I'm nearing 2000 posts. Sheesh. Idiotic really, but it keeps me here at the keys.
James K.A. Smith (former contributor)
I am professor of philosophy at Calvin College where I also teach in the ultra-cool, totally-hip Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies. A Gen Xer in a Millenial world run by Baby Boomers, I blog as a compromise between my love of books and my fear of Facebook.