What if…?

This writing refers to two pieces of legislation recently supported and signed into law by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Senate File 538 prohibits medical personnel from providing gender-altering treatment for minors even if they have their parents’ permission. Senate File 482 requires transgender youth to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their biology at birth, providing separate facilities only with parents’ permission.               … Continue reading What if…?

I Wish You This

“Family reunion.”  Most people have a reaction to the phrase, good or bad.  For us, it is very good.  Every other year my five siblings and I—the Janssen clan—gather from the East coast and the Midwest for several days of catching up and simply enjoying each other’s company.  We make connections from time to time in between, but this is our traditional touch point, highly … Continue reading I Wish You This

She Knows

Need ideas for the lectionary (RCL) text this week?  Go to “Menu” and “Lectionary Sermons” for my weekly posting.   It was a fiercely cold, December Sunday afternoon when my four-year-old granddaughter Rydia spent a few hours with me, stirring batter for Christmas bread, listening to the Advent IV Bible story, hunting for objects in an “I Spy” book, playing “you can’t catch me.”  We … Continue reading She Knows

Terror and Promise

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, [Jesus] said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”  (Luke 21:5-6) “Isn’t it perfect?  I wish it could always stay this way.”  How many times have you felt that, … Continue reading Terror and Promise

Just as Grandma Would Do

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.”  (2 Timothy 1:5)  Her name was Cora.  She was a Midwestern preacher’s wife in the early twentieth century.  She raised five children with stern discipline and a strong faith.  Yet she also performed her myriad household duties … Continue reading Just as Grandma Would Do

What Does Busy-ness Do to Our Kids?

What do we want for our children?  If you are a person of faith, my guess is that you want your child/teen/adult offspring to have faith in God.  Right?  And you probably also value the wisdom and teachings of the Bible.  So, when Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me,” (Matthew 19:14) we are warmed by the image of his open, welcoming arms. “Let” … Continue reading What Does Busy-ness Do to Our Kids?


We were babysitting our two young grandchildren while their parents went to a wedding.  Rydia, 3 ½, was recovering from a little stomach bug and maximizing the rare privilege of watching endless cartoons.  Link was his usual energetic toddler self, alternating between pestering his sister, begging to be held, and investigating the kitchen drawers. I tried to get Link to eat something during the supper … Continue reading Bread

Changing Out of My Pastor Clothes

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of … Continue reading Changing Out of My Pastor Clothes