Participant
About Me: 

I've been a Christian Reformed pastor since 1977, raised in Chicago. In 1978 I first dragged my wife Rose and two children to Costa Rica for language training for work in Latin America. It didn't take too long for Rose to very seriously hear her own call. I thank God for that and for her daily. After serving for ten years as Refugee Coordinator for the CRC in Canada, working for World Renew in the Burlington, Ontario office. She is also a trained spiritual director.

We have three grown daughters, scattered from Ottawa, Ontario to Grand Rapids, now one in Columbia, Missiouri.

Erika is a pastor/chaplain/mother. Her husband Tim Postuma works with CRCNA Communications and once in a while still helps run this Network; he used to like the free labour he got out of his father-in-law; we'll see if that "like" resumes as the f-i-l starts blogging again for The Network after not doing so for a year. Erika  and Tim have  twins, Lucas and Ella, plus Caleb JAMES!

Middle daughter Anna lives in Ottawa, now, She is lawyer working for the Department of Justice after delivering Adele during law school at the University of Western Ontario in December 2007. In September, 2011 she took maternity leave--a year in kindly socialist Canada--after giving birth to Japheth Adrian. Husband Jason Grootenboer teaches part-time at Redeemer Christian High School in Ottawa to take care of the children while Anna turned to full-time work early in 2013.

Youngest Jessica is a splendid knitter, ex-barista, English major (Calvin College, 2005) and dog lover. Her partner Liz Lucas  took a Master's degree in journalism from Missouri State University and now heads the department in computer-based research in journalism (or something like that) in Columbia, Missouri, where she interned while a student Back in Columbia, Jessica still works on-line for Looped Yarnworks, a knitting and yarn shop she managed while in Washington, D.C. as well as for her cousins mini-fabric pattern empire called Fabrics by Rae. Jessica still exports samples of warm goodies to family and friends regularly. Their adopted dogs Darby and June are almost as lovable as was my my German Short-Haired Pointer Dakota, but half the size, though Dakota shrunk some over her last three years because of diabetes AND a hyper-active thyroid. (We've put more $$$$ into that dog than into most cars I've driven.) Dakota now rests until Resurrection Day bundled in her pillow under an apple tree in our backyard, as a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (wearing a colourful rosary) hold a permanent vigil.

I retired at the end of June, 2013 as pastor of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario. So now, I ride my bike around the Niagara Peninsula more often than before, long to cross-country ski, which happens only rarely here. Canoeing happens regularly with hand-made double-bladed paddles, sometimes in wood-canvas canoes I've restored but haven't sold yet. My daughters are getting restored canoes when I get around to them. In March 2014 I became part-time Pastor to Missionaries (a.k.a. "Member Care Coordinator") for CR World Missions, meaning I write to and Skype with missionaries all over the world and occasionally lead on-field spiritual retreats.

Interests: 

Bike-riding and -repairing, canoeing and restoring canoes, reading, writing (NOT arithmetic), hiking, camping, cooking, husbanding, grandfathering, etc.

 

Blog
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Still Waiting for Something Better...

It has been impossible not to hear of several tragic incidents of death of black men during confrontations with police. I have been struck and saddened by the deaths of people I did not know...

Racial Reconciliation
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“Something Other than the Lectionary”

Some years ago I attended a session of one congregation’s long-term visioning project. When the gathering was discussing hopes for the church’s future worship and preaching, one 40 year-old mom spoke for her small team and said, “We really think that we should have more preaching on contemporary topics—something other than the Lectionary..."

Pastors
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Of Rob Ford and Pastors

For two decades ever more frequent scandals involving clergy have surfaced in many communions. Many of those crimes were covered up by bishops or other denominational judicatories. Small wonder that surveys that measure trust in people in public positions of authority have ranked clergy as low or lower than politicians...

Pastors
Discussion Topic
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A Tale of 3 Cities

Last weekend Rose and drove to Grand Rapids “kidplay” with grandchildren while their parents took a weekend getaway. (Kidplay—invented by our daughters: NOT babysitting, but playing with kids.) Friday morning while the kids were in school, we took a cheap date to Grand Rapids’ spectacular “Art Prize.” And that’s where I experienced at one installation the opposite of an epiphany. After a leisurely 90 minutes of poking around fascinating, multi-media projects by artists from all over the world, the anti-climax of our date bottomed out at the riverside. There a 25 by 12 or so foot tableau drew...
Let's Talk About...
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We Believe. Help Our Unbelief.

I still cannot comprehend these facts three weeks after it all began. They've been playing in my head like a wicked song I can’t turn off. My response is not unique. Why does this young man’s death and his family’s grief make such a deep impact on so many who never knew Tim Bosma?

Pastors
Blog
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Time to Pack ‘er In!

Synod and Summer 2012 have come and gone. Where I live the weather was hot and dry. Some synod discussions and debates surely may have been hot, in committee, over mealtimes and in plenary sessions. But from what I heard and gleaned, they were never dry. Nor was the Synod Network conversation.

CRCNA and Synod
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From “neat and tidy” to “graciously messy”

As the church order implications of our recommendation were discussed in 2011, a motion was made from the floor to delete one sentence from article 59 of the church order: “This public profession of faith includes a commitment to the creeds and confessions of the Christian Reformed Church.” That motion was discussed and approved without comment from our committee, but the instant it was passed we realized that we had blundered in our silence.

CRCNA and Synod
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Puzzling about Creation Care—Part 2—A Rant

How about a comprehensive creation care audit of our denominational, congregational and personal practices and attitudes of entitlement or perceived necessity, not just to reuse and recycle, but to reduce environmental impact? 

CRCNA and Synod
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Puzzling about Creation Care--Part 1

Though largely respectful the debate and vote on creation care were not without their oddities. Four registered negative votes on three recommendations indicate that at least three decisions drew disapproval.

CRCNA and Synod
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A Process That Worked

In a few years, perhaps Belhar will have taken root in our hearts and minds, worked on our consciences and souls as it could not have had the advisory committee never daringly and faithfully followed God’s Spirit and decided to stay united. Remember my paraphrase of the old hymn: “God moves in a mysterious way—our blunders to reform.”

CRCNA and Synod
  • Thank you. These are helpful suggestions. Just one reminder, though: Using pictures of "real people in real situations" must be done with permission of the persons in those pictures, whether named...

  • This is a good reminder, Jul, and I'm pleased it was posted in The Network too. I realize this is not your topic, but it would also be helpful for churches to remember that women pastors and...

    posted on: Pastor Prejudice
  • Thanks very much, Mark. This is one of those issues that church councils need to be aware of at least as much as pastors. Our efforts as pastors to try to be all things to all people is not what...

  • Thanks, Dave. I don't know how many others participated in similar events, but in St. Catharines I know both Jubilee Fellowship and Covenant  CRCs sent email invitations to all on their lists,...

  • Thank you very much.

  • Thanks much, Katie. Adoption is a blessed thing and God's Providence is a puzzling, yet wondrous thing. You have capture a Light-filled bit of the Wonder allowing the mysterious puzzlement to...

  • This is an interesting situation. Thank you for presenting it here.

    First of all, "transfer of membership" is the term used for transferring memberships from one CRC to another. What would...

  • Thanks, again, Greg, for sensitive, deeply grounded thoughts and suggestions for using those thoughts in day-to-day relationships--whether with Muslims or others of different backgrounds. Very...

  • "Amazing" and "life-changing experience," among others, I suppose, are as shopworn as "awesome." Maybe we should retire "Awesome God" and some others to the songbook shelf for a while. It's sad...

    posted on: Defining Awesome
  • Thank you, Peter, for this summary and personal confession of doubt turned to gratitude. I was a member of Canada's Kairos board when the MDGs first came out. It was a matter of serious debate in...