Further reading: Best of 2022 Part One: Peers’ Picks, Best of 2022 Part Two: Writers’ Picks

In some ways, being an “editor” of the post calvin is a misnomer—most of the time, we’re just readers with admin permissions. But combing our writers’ pieces for missed commas and non-public domain photos does give us the opportunity to really, truly revel in the glory of a twisted sentence or the singularity of an especially apt metaphor. And so we thank you for trusting us with your words.

Below, you’ll find our favorite pieces of 2022, grouped by member of the editorial board and organized by writer’s publication date, along with a sentence (or two) on why we loved it.


Annaka Koster


The Back Row, Phone Tag, and Bottled Water | Juliana Knot

There is a subtle anger here, simmering beneath the solid journalism, the plain and plainly depressing facts. Juliana’s reminder that sometimes mere empathy is not enough will never not be pertinent.

Snowball Effect | Hannah Riffell

A lovely collection of wintry anecdotes from a one-time newcomer to snowy weather. Hannah’s attention to detail is always a delight and especially shines through here.

When Your Vagina Doesn’t Work | Gwyneth Findlay

This June’s “sex and the church” redux gave us many moments of honesty and clarity, but few were as honest or clear as Gwyneth’s.

The Aftermath | Olivia Harre

A poignant and love-filled recollection that, together with Olivia’s January piece, serves as a near-perfect bookend for 2022. Thank you for pointing out the hope in the waves.

Terminal Restlessness | Michal Rubingh

Audition posts are where we first meet the people who we’ll get to know as writers over the coming years, and this one more than convinced us that Michal was someone we wanted to know.

The Heart is a Muscle | Katerina Parsons

May all of us who serve for a living (or as a hobby) learn this lesson, and soon.


Josh Parks


Prayer for the Internet | Alex Johnson

The internet is not fake, not extra, not an add-on to our Real Lives, Alex insists in this post. It is where we live, just as in need of joy, care, and (yes) grace as any other created and inhabited space.

Invisible Ink | Gabrielle Eisma

This post has it all: history, personal botanical experience, reflection on the impossibility of impermanence. Whether we know it or not, we’re always writing with ink that will fade.

Not Working | Jack Kamps

I know, I know, I know that producing more or better work will not make me a good person. But I still need endless reminders from wise people like Jack. Here’s to making less hay.

“Do You Have a Disability?” | Mitchell Barbee

It doesn’t matter how many check-box categories we add to our electronic forms: people will never fit into them. This post is an open, searching reflection on the often-awkward act of claiming an identity.

Our Alma Mater and the Year of the Event | Joshua Polanski

Joshua draws on film and philosophy to say something bluntly true about Calvin University: there is no going back. Calvin could become many new things, some of them even more apocalyptic, but it cannot dress up as its old self.

Welcome to the 1-800-GRADSCHOOL Hotline | Anna Jeffries

The frustrations of grad school are sometimes mild and handle-able with enough caffeine, but too often they’re tragic, and the tragedies too often go unnoticed. Anna captures all of the above in this funny but rightly indignant protest against academic exploitation.


Alex Johnson


My Childhood Palate | Ansley Kelly

Ansley’s posts are like her life: vivid, bursting with light and delight, and chock-full of the outdoors. Reading her trip down tastebud memory lane will not only make you hungry but also long for a little summertime childhood magic yourself.

A Day Lived in Miniature | Comfort Sampong

Between the lovely moodboard photos and Comfort’s evocative and playful writing, this post is as sweet and refreshing as I imagine water out of an acorn cap would be.

The Single Talk | Courtney Zonnefeld

While I was tempted to Courtney’s lovely mediation on seasons and the many ways they manifest, her straightforward and cleareyed piece about why singleness is important gives me hope for the church expanding the way it thinks about and talks about sexuality.

If Christmas Letters Were Honest | Kayleigh Fongers

Kayleigh has brought us along through some pretty massive life changes this year, and this post feels like the perfect cap to that journey. I appreciate the balance of cheer, solemnity, and wistfulness of her honest Christmas letter. May we all be as brave and as transparent with each other as we turn the page to a new year.

“Follow Instructions” | Natasha (Strydhorst) Unsworth

Flitting between lightness and gravity, Natasha meditates on what instructions we follow—and which we don’t. As a fellow teacher, I need the reminder that we humans (not just my students) are, as Natasha says, notoriously poor followers of instructions.

Chasing Worship | Sam Tuit

Something that isn’t talked about/noticed enough is volunteer burnout at churches, and Sam does a lovely job at parsing out the intricacies that come with trying to worship while you work. I’m still haunted by the final question at the end.


Deb Rienstra


Animated Plants Ranked by Appeal | Christina Ribbens

I am a sucker for a silly approach to any assignment. This one is a surprising, inventive, and clever answer to the plant month assignment.

Requesting Grumpy Leave | Christina Ribbens

If only.

Communal Toothbrushing | Susannah Boersma

That opening paragraph! Appealingly odd as a response to the Anthropocene reviewed. Expertly descriptive detail and delicately handled poignance.

Tree Song | Josh Parks

Oh honestly. How can I say no to a love song to one’s violin?????

Coffee Crimes | Philip Reinstra

Well-researched and timely; could have been a rant, but instead becomes a compassionate reflection.

Fleas Almost Defeated Me | Tiffany Kajiwara

Once in a while, you just need a good woman-against-nature story.

Option X | Laura Sheppard Song

To create something beautiful out of pain: that’s art. This essay describes depression and ideation with precision and sobriety. A gift.

Career Diversity | Ben DeVries

He describes the whole situation concisely and with appropriate gloom.

Mine is the Easy Job | Lillie Spackman

Another good contribution to sex month. I appreciated the thoughtful use of her refrain sentence.

The Art at the End of the World: A (Somewhat Practical) Guide | Emily Joy Stroble

A defense of art as a survival necessity. I love that Emily proposes particulars about what art at the end of the world might look like. An inventive musing.

Blood Blossoms | Emily Joy Stroble

A unique approach to the plant theme that, as a good essay should, rummages around in the topic and, without your quite realizing it, all the while is designing a beautiful pattern with disparate pieces.

Pulling Weeds in the Allegory Garden | Annaka Koster

This essay begins with an innocent metaphor and wrings it out until it yields a cry of pain and sorrow.

Annaka Koster (1996 – ) | Annaka Koster

Just wonderfully wry and witty. That’s all.

Graveyards | Jon Gorter

A cheeky response to the Anthropocene reviewed assignment. The cemetery humor rides that exciting border between tasteless and funny.

Thank You, Neland Avenue | Katie Van Zanen

An important response to the whole CRC Synod debacle.

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