Monthly Archives: November 2013

Northern associations

  In the past week three cities in the Northern part of the Netherlands aroused some strong associations for me. The first one was Zwolle, where I went to preach last Saturday. Whenever I arrive in Zwolle and turn into the street that brings me to the church, and I see the street name Zamenhofsingel, there are memories of my youth. The Polish-Jewish scholar Leizer Zamenhof (1859-1917) developed an artificial language that was learned by millions of people worldwide. Esperanto, this … Continue reading

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Is every promise irrevocable?

  This past week the Dutch media reported about two remarkable promises. On Monday the singer Trijntje Oosterhuis, daughter of the famous theologian/poet/ex-priest Huub Oosterhuis, announced on her Facebook-page that she wanted to donate a substantial amount to the nation campaign to help the victims of the terrible disaster in the Philippines.  She promised to donate one Euro for every person who would ‘like’ her Facebook message. After a few hours Trijntje realized she had been rather naïve. Having received … Continue reading

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Literature

  This past week began with a most interesting event. On Sunday afternoon I entered a place that until now was for me terra incognita: the Balie, a building for cultural events in the center of Amsterdam, near the well-known Leidseplein. At the other side of the street a number of television trucks were lined up that clearly were to report on something important. I had no illusion that they had come to film the occasion in which I was … Continue reading

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A sad story

  1995 saw the publication of the book ‘Hoe God Verdween uit Jorwerd’ (How God Disappeared from Jorwerd). It was one of the early successes of the now famous author Geert Mak. In a novel-like documentary he analyses what happened during the last fifty years in a village in Frisia, in the North of the Netherlands. The character of the village changed dramatically. Not only the farmers and shopkeepers disappeared, but the religious outlook of the people was also totally … Continue reading

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Dutch polders and a lake in Cameroon

  This past week I spend most of my time, from early morning onward, behind my desk and I plan to do so also in the coming weeks. I am working on a number of writing and translation projects and am facing some fast approaching deadlines. I also made a beginning with preparing a series of 20 power point presentations about ‘the doctrine of the church’, for an intensive course for Dutch Adventist ministers that is scheduled for January. However, … Continue reading

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