With these three short essays, three members of iAt's Editorial Board bring a fresh perspective to what it means to practice thankfulness through journaling, prayer, and song.
It's 1944. Otto Steinke is too old to be drafted, his son just a few months too young. Besides, both are needed because the Allied cause requires mountains of food, food the Steinkes can produce on their Iowa farm. Not everyone can be a soldier—even some who really, really want to be.
In teaching theology, one of my abiding concerns is not just that students gain a clearer understanding of the grammar of the Christian faith, but that they meet the manifold figures along the way who have shaped their thinking unbeknownst to them.
“You hypocrites!” says Christ in Calvin Seerveld’s paraphrase of Matthew 23:24, “You strain gnats out of your wine but swallow the American, suburban way of life whole, like a camel.” Jesus, of course, directed his stinging dart at the Pharisees, but Seerveld applies his to suburban Americans, and probably more specifically, suburban American Christians.
This is how it often feels to work for an institution like the church in 2019. Trends so much larger than myself make my prayers and pastoral work feel meaningless. I’ve been feeling this way about my denomination, the RCA, recently. Each week in our church, we say some version of this refrain: When the person of Jesus Christ is at the center of our lives and our worship, there is space for loving one another in disagreement.
It feels like American society is at a crisis point. Whether it’s social polarization or concerns over discrimination, a root problem identified by voices across the political spectrum is our difficulty with “the other.”