The English Department of Dordt College believes that "nothing matters but the kingdom of God, but because of the kingdom, everything, literally everything, matters." (Gordon Spykman, Dordt College commencement 1988, "Kingdoms in Conflict")

From that perspective, we teach students how to read poems, stories, plays, and essays. Such reading requires examining how an author uses language to create imagined worlds and to communicate meaning. It also requires that the reader examine how literature from a variety of time periods and cultures challenges or affirms our values and enriches our lives. We aim to foster life-long reading in all our students.

We also demand that students respond to specific selections they read as well as to the broader world in which they live. Thus we teach our students to write poems, stories, essays, and research papers, all of which may help them articulate their Christian understanding of literature and life.

Because we expect all of our graduates will write for publication, we aim to teach them to write clearly, concisely, and forcefully so that the ideas they express and the causes they represent will be advanced.

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Faculty Work from 2017

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Children's Blizzard, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Hacksaw Ridge: A Movie Review, Joshua Matthews

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How to Pray for Your President, David Schelhaas

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Little Crow the Hero; or, Little Crow the Villain, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Logan, Joshua Matthews

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Loss of a Child Transcends Time and Language, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Manchester by the Sea: A Movie Review, Joshua Matthews

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Miracles and Mystery; or, Medicine Men and Saints, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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New Promise and a New Agenda, James C. Schaap

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Perfume River (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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Searching for the Presence of God, David Schelhaas

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Silence: A Movie Review, Joshua Matthews

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Silence: A Review Essay, Joshua Matthews

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Stories from River Bend Church, James C. Schaap

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Taking My Daughter to Hidden Figures, Howard Schaap

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Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart, James C. Schaap

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White Buffalo Girl's Grave, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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White Buffalo of the Omaha Chiefs, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Wilderness Vision, James C. Schaap

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Wooden Shoe Militia, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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You and Me and West Texas: Review of Hell or High Water, James C. Schaap

Faculty Work from 2016

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Akimbo Cross, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Aspiration(s), James C. Schaap

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Between the World and Me, Michael Brown, and White Imagination, Howard Schaap

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Coaching Teacher-Writers: Practical Steps to Nurture Professional Writing, Troy Hicks, Anne Elrod Whitney, James Fredricksen, and Leah A. Zuidema

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Deadheading to Firecracker, Joshua Matthews

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Ex Machina: Notes for Viewing, Bob De Smith

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For the LORD is a God Who Knows, Leah A. Zuidema

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From Small Wonder(s), James C. Schaap

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Hand from the Whiteness: When Bears Ear Saved Mary C. Collins, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Hard Midwestern Life and Equal Rights, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Heorot, Bob De Smith

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Hesed: Sunday After Shabbat, Mary Dengler

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How Then Shall We Eat?, Tanya DeRoo

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Hugh Glass and the Epic Poetry of Siouxland, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life, Leah A. Zuidema

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Incense, Bob De Smith

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Is Certainty the Same as Faith?, Howard Schaap

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Is Consumerism Consuming Us?, Howard Schaap

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Joseph the Imperturbable, Howard Schaap

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Just Add Water, Bill Elgersma

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Language of Arrival, Joshua Matthews

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Last Buffalo, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Light of the World, Joshua Matthews

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Liturgies of the Body: The Jump Shot and Spiritual Practice, Howard Schaap

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Love Undone at Blackbird Hill, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Loving God By Making Poems, David Schelhaas

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Maximillian Sunflowers, David Schelhaas

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Miracles and Superheroes, Howard Schaap

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Music of the Spheres, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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New Hope at Christmas, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Not Even the Past, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Path to Freedom through Tabor, Iowa, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Political World of Bob Dylan: Freedom and Justice, Power and Sin (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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Praise in the Drought, Howard Schaap

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Prayer Mercenaries, Howard Schaap

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Properties of Conception, Rose Postma

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Refugees on the Prairie, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Resources Preservice Teachers Use to Think about Student Writing, Leah A. Zuidema and James E. Fredricksen

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Something Oxymoronic, James C. Schaap

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Talking to Kids about Race: Against the Grain, Howard Schaap

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The Emperor's Cut, Rose Postma

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The Miraculous Catch of Fish, Howard Schaap

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Thirst, James C. Schaap

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Too Young to Marry?, Leah A. Zuidema

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Wage Gaps in Professional Sports, Bill Elgersma

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Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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What Does Social Democrat Mean?, David Schelhaas

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What Jesus Could Not Do, Leah A. Zuidema

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Who Do Your Kids Look Like?, Leah A. Zuidema

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Why Are Vacations So Exhausting?, Howard Schaap

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Winter Eves in Northwest Iowa, Mary Dengler

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Zechariah, David Schelhaas

Faculty Work from 2015

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Advent: Ring the Bells that Still Can Ring, Tanya DeRoo

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Advocacy Blogging: Writing & Editing for the Public, Leah A. Zuidema

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Angels, Joshua Matthews

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At-Risk Writer Program that Benefits Both the Students and the Educators, Bill Elgersma and Luke Hawley

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Because I Want to Know God's Will, Rose Postma

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Christmas Expectations, Howard Schaap

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Coming of the Zeroes, Joshua Matthews

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Crazy Busy? Overwhelmed? Six Good Reads to Help You Rethink Your Calendar, Leah A. Zuidema

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David Fincher's Harsh Mercy: Guns in Hollywood Compositions, Joshua Matthews

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Diverstiy Question, Howard Schaap

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Does This Happen to Everyone?, Bob De Smith

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Endless Cycle of Want, Howard Schaap

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Fish and Bread, Howard Schaap

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Four Views on the Historical Adam (Book Review), Joshua Matthews

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Frances Burney's Evelina: A Critique of the Ancient Regime and Plea for its Moral Reform, Mary Dengler

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Golden Age of TV, Howard Schaap

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How (and Why) to Give the Gift of Rest, Leah A. Zuidema

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Lent: Behold! Behold! Behold!, Leah A. Zuidema

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Living Texts, Mary Dengler

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On Never Having Visited Mount Hermon, Rose Postma

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Psalm for the Night Shift, Leah A. Zuidema

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Reading Mother Teresa: A Calvinist Looks Lovingly at "The Little Bride of Christ", James C. Schaap

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Redeployment (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Return of Liturgy, Howard Schaap

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Serving the Story, Howard Schaap

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Tale of Entrails, Howard Schaap

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Targeting Our Fears, Tanya DeRoo