Robert Zandstra

Originally from a vegetable farm in rural northwest Indiana, Rob now lives with his wife Hope in Eugene, Oregon, as he pursues a PhD in English at the University of Oregon. He teaches undergraduate writing courses and studies religion, secularization, and environment in nineteenth-century American literature. He graduated from Calvin in 2007 with a major in history of religion but returned the next year to complete the English major. “Glory be to God for dappled things—”

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NO GMO!

What GMOs have really delivered is vast amounts of wealth and power to a handful of multinational chemical and biotech corporations.

Living Outside the Curse

So what are we to do? We can’t go back to the original garden, where all was good and very good, now that we’ve eaten the fruit and know the direction of evil is also an option.

Resurrection Music

One way I feel Easter season’s lack of spiritual resources is in the lack of church music about the resurrection life to come, what we are “practicing” for.

My Climate Change Story

But if humans alter the meaning of nature itself, by which we understand God’s power and faithfulness, we may end up losing touch with God in an essential way.

Jesus Films for Lent

My Lenten discipline this year is to watch as many films about Jesus as my spare time allows. Below is a ranked list with brief reviews of all the ones I’ve seen so far.

Vaccine Fundamentalism

Why disallow reasonable inquiry into these controversial issues, many of which are not scientific? Why substitute propaganda and ad hominem attacks for rational discussion?

Epigraphs to Heaven

Our conceptions of heaven are the result of accumulated literature and its interpretations. But what if one had to choose a single literary epigraph for this Great Story?

Sorgy: A Word Study

We should be sorry for these things. But we certainly don’t act or even feel sorry. We need more words for negotiating guilt and grief and the multiplicity of affects that accompany them.

Why I Am Going on Strike 

Our struggle is against the authorities who misuse and abuse their power. Our struggle is against the evil that enslaves the world and is manifested in the actions of the University administration.

Surveillance Generation

Today’s devices generate far more information about their users and are no less adept at broadcasting propaganda that encourages behaviors which support the powerful and their myriad injustices.

Matrimonial Meaning-taking 

As the eleventh cousin on both sides of my family, I grew up going to older cousins’ weddings at least annually. I grew to love attending weddings; I have always found them very meaningful.

Faithwashing

In an era when people derive meaning and identity through brand loyalty, Christianity should not be treated like a brand. Churches should not be treated like corporations.

(hum(an)imal)

Many questions about the similarities and differences between humans and other animals boil down to questions of religious significance.

Keep: A Word Study

“The Lord bless you and keep you.” “Honor the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”

A Frost-y Weekend

We climb on nature’s back to build a heavenly Babel, but it is nature that sets us back on earth, where we were created, where we belong.

Resolved

Part of the tension around New Year resolutions, I’ve realized, is suggested by the paradoxes of the meaning and etymology of the word resolution itself.

Person of the Year

Around this time every year, I fill out a “year in review” as a way of remembering significant things in the previous year. One category is the public figure who most captured my imagination.

Magazines in My Mailbox

This post is an attempt to review the magazines that my wife Hope and I currently subscribe to, organized into categories. I wonder what this list says about us, if anything.

Faith Healing

Perhaps what I question most is the emphasis that both “medical science” and faith healing place on the disappearance of symptoms in individuals rather than communities.

Gener(aliz)ations

Much changed (say, musically,) between the release of The Who’s smart and catchy “My Generation” in 1965, when my parents were in college, and Limp Bizkit’s unlistenable song of the same title in 2000, when I was in high school.