Recent Posts

Origins Stories in the CRC, Then and Now

Origins Stories in the CRC, Then and Now

Origins stories have a “mythic” function. By “myth” I don’t mean “bad history” because the facts are wrong or made up. I mean stories that people tell to explain who they are, where they come from, and why they matter. Stories about identity. We all […]

Chimes and American Violence 50 Years Ago

Chimes and American Violence 50 Years Ago

This week I thought it might be interesting to see what was being discussed 50 years ago in Chimes, the student newspaper of Calvin College, now Calvin University. As I scanned the 5 March 1971 issue of Chimes, several articles caught my eye. Two stories […]

Life- and World- View for Young Calvinists

Life- and World- View for Young Calvinists

The Reformed tradition has a reputation in Christian circles for being very serious about ideas, especially doctrine, but also Christian philosophy and thought generally. I remember, as a teenager, Calvinists sometimes being described as the “frozen chosen.” And I remember being delighted in my early […]

Dutch Immigrants and the Alamosa Disaster in Colorado

Dutch Immigrants and the Alamosa Disaster in Colorado

On November 30, 1892, on a train from Hoboken, NJ, to Alamosa, CO, Marinus Aalbers glanced at his wife and children sitting across from him in their seats. They had left the Netherlands 23 days ago and expected to arrive at their last stop in […]

Windmills, Wooden Shoes, and Politics (Origins Vol. 37, No. 2)

Windmills, Wooden Shoes, and Politics (Origins Vol. 37, No. 2)

The fall issue of Origins: Historical Magazine of The Archives (vol. 38, no. 2) is now available in print. It focuses on Dutch Reformed immigrants, their descendants, and politics. Included, below, in this blog post is a link to a free essay from the fall […]

Harold Botts, Community Church, and the Detroit Riots of 1967

Harold Botts, Community Church, and the Detroit Riots of 1967

Reverend Harold Botts sensed a call to start a church in the African American community of Detroit in the early 1960s. He followed it and decided to serve a population that recently had been displaced by “urban renewal.” He had no idea that his church […]

A Home for Dutch Sailors and Immigrants in Hoboken, NJ

A Home for Dutch Sailors and Immigrants in Hoboken, NJ

Last week, Calvin University got word that alumnus and long time librarian Conrad Bult had passed away. Conrad was a periodicals and reference librarian and a historian, and he was much loved in Hekman Library, Heritage Hall, and the history department. This morning I was […]

Training Teachers

Training Teachers

I don’t train teachers, at least not in the way the education department and the history and social studies education majors do. But this week I’ve been thinking about training teachers. I’m teaching the capstone course in the history major, and history education and social […]

Dutch Thanksgiving? (And 400 Years of Contested History)

Dutch Thanksgiving? (And 400 Years of Contested History)

Thanksgiving is, in one sense, my favorite holiday, whether celebrated in early October in Canada or late November in the United States. For years, my wife and I have gotten together with friends here in Grand Rapids and enjoyed a nice meal and a great […]

Navajo Voices and CRC Missions

Navajo Voices and CRC Missions

Edward Becenti (1882-1929) was a Navajo who converted to Christianity and worked with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) as a missionary. We don’t have many of Becenti’s own words on record. But we know that his was a fluent, compelling voice. I first came across […]