Herman Bavinck’s ‘My Journey to America’

My translation of Herman Bavinck’s (short) book, Mijne reis naar Amerika, is now available in Dutch Crossing: Journal for Low Countries Studies (Taylor and Francis).

‘Herman Bavinck’s ‘My Journey to America’

Bavinck travelled to North America in 1892. Although travel journals were relatively commonplace in late nineteenth century Europe (Bavinck’s colleague Abraham Kuyper also published a book, Varia Americana, on his own travels around America), Bavinck’s observations on American culture are fascinating for three reasons. Continue reading

On theology and language learning

Theology, done well, addresses the whole person: body, soul, affections, desires, virtues, faults, history, present and destiny. It also addresses all of human life and culture. It was only with hindsight that I began to see the shape that theology itself gave my own studies while a seminarian. In learning to be a theologian, I learned to be a historian, a constructive systematician, a reader of ancient texts (in their original languages), an interpreter of those texts and a translator of those languages, a preacher, a pastor, an analyst of culture(s), a writer, and many other things. Or at least, I started trying to learn those things. Continue reading

A short story: This is Home (Dit is thuis)

For those who don’t read Dutch: hover your cursor over the Dutch text, and an English translation will be summoned.

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My feet lingered before the yellow line. The line always made me nervous, as though I would be turned away. We made eye contact as I came forward. “Good afternoon, sir.” He looked up and down. I didn’t have a beard in the passport photo. I had considered shaving it just to make this encounter less awkward, but it seemed irrational to throw away ten months of growth, for whatever minimal effect it might have on the immigration officer. I was just being paranoid, I knew. An American of good standing shouldn’t expect problems at a European passport control. “Goedemiddag, meneer. Waarom bent u hier?” “I am here to study.” He compared my bearded and shaven faces. “Welkom. Gaat uw gang.” Continue reading