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 2016

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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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Macondo and Leota, Howard Schaap

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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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Precision, 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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The Pageant of Specificity, 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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Use Your Words, Lester, Howard Schaap

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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

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Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Bob De Smith

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Up the Hill (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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Wave-Rider, Mary Dengler

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What Little Remains, Bill Elgersma

Submissions from 2014

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Aunts and Uncles (Menagerie), Bob De Smith

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Ecology, David Schelhaas

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Forum: Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next, Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicks, Leah A. Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski

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

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Frances Burney--Without Anesthesia, Mary Dengler

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Garnets in Glass, David Schelhaas

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House Became a Home, James C. Schaap

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In Love with Jane Eyre, Mary Dengler

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I Recognized the Mitten, David Schelhaas

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I Want To Show You More (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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Law of the Streak, Joshua Matthews

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Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Myth Education: Rationale and Strategies for Teaching Against Linguistic Prejudice, Leah A. Zuidema

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New Leviathan: How I Implemented the AAS’s Periodicals Database in My Traditional American Literature Survey Class, and Lived to Tell the Tale, Joshua Matthews

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Or Does It Explode?, Howard Schaap

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Please Help Your Teachers Play Hookey With Us, Leah A. Zuidema

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Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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Reframing Spiritual Memoir, Howard Schaap

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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Signs, Bill Elgersma

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Small-Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Tender Executioner, Rose Postma

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Theme and Variation: Prayer, Enstrom's Grace, and Calvin, Howard Schaap

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Ties that Bind: A Review Essay, James C. Schaap

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Tomato Soup, Luke Hawley

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Up the Hill, James C. Schaap

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Walt Whitman's Vision of the Inferno, or Dante in Drum-Taps, Joshua Matthews