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 2018

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The Big Problems with Being Small, Joshua Matthews

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The Book of Job and Our Human Suffering, James C. Schaap

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The Democratic Embrace of Hermann the German, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Fossil at Cherokee, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Great Killer, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Healing Land and Teddy Roosevelt's Broken Heart, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Home of Standing Bear, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Letter, Mary Dengler

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The Liturgical Lives of Pets, Howard Schaap

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The Old Professor Discovers the Sweet Egg of Discontent, David Schelhaas

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The Path of Dreams and Ruin, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Rider (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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The Toughest Question about Christian Education, Leah A. Zuidema

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The War Hero Who Warned Against War, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Too Far From Home, Mary Dengler

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Wait, Mr. Rogers Wasn't a Pedophile??, Joshua Matthews

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What Happened at Drum Creek, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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When 'The Boys' Came Home, The War Came With Them, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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When the U.S. Supreme Court Decided A Man Wasn't Free, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Who Killed Hennessey?, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Willa Cather, Back Home, 1918, James C. Schaap

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Willa Cather's View of WWI from Nebraska, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

Faculty Work from 2017

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A Broken Monument for Our Past, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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American Made (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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A Miracle in No Man's Land, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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An Iron to the Head, Joshua Matthews

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Anthem from the Mud, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Archangel Gabriel's Namesake and Tyrannicide, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Warrior. A Hero., James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Bad Village, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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"Beauty and the Beast", Joshua Matthews

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Believing in Creation, Howard Schaap

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Blade Runner 2049 (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Buffalo Chip's Heroic Stand, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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

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Collateral Damage, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Compact Theology - Hymns for Psalm 28, Leah A. Zuidema

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Countdown, Howard Schaap

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Custer's Gold Rush, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Desperation, Persuasion, and Hope, Howard Schaap

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Dromore Farms: When Young Lords Played Polo in LeMars, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Dunkirk (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Email from a Young Poet, Howard Schaap

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Epiphanies, Bill Elgersma

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Exuberant Peace in the Face of Fear, David Schelhaas

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First Suffragette, James C. Schaap

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Good Samaritans on the Prairie, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Hacksaw Ridge: A Movie Review, Joshua Matthews

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Hairwork, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Haunted by the Father: The Poetry of Li-Young Lee, Howard Schaap

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Heavyweight Preaching, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Hell or High Water: Tattered and Familiar, Bob De Smith

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How God Enters My Poems, David Schelhaas

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How to Pray for Your President, David Schelhaas

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Humility on the Plains, James C. Schaap

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I Am, Leah A. Zuidema

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"I Am Your Father", Joshua Matthews

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In Defense of Halloween, or in Defense of the Better Story, Howard Schaap

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In Defense of Halloween: The Fuller Story, Howard Schaap

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Innumerable Hosts of Graves: Death and Fish Along the Missouri, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Movie Review), Donald Roth

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Lake Michigan (warmer than you think), Bob De Smith

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Law and Disorder in O'Brien County, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Life (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Listening to Grandmothers, Howard Schaap

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

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Logan Lucky (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Logan (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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

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Lully Lullay, 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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Multiculturalism on the Frontier, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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My Father's Tears, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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New Promise and a New Agenda, James C. Schaap

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No Butter Shall Pass!, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Overwhelming Justice and Mercy, Leah A. Zuidema

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Perfume River (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Plague of Locusts: Word is Getting Out, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Private Associations, Bob De Smith

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Q + A with Derek Webb, Luke Hawley

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Rashomon (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Remember Sacagawea, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Righteousness and Peace, James C. Schaap

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Saints from the Fire, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Saying What Can't Be Said: Modifying Love, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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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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Space Travel, Mary Dengler

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Stained Forever by a Sanguine Glow, David Schelhaas

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Stories from River Bend Church, James C. Schaap

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Take Long Looks at Anything, Luke Hawley

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Taking My Daughter to Hidden Figures, Howard Schaap

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Tales from the Neighborhood, James C. Schaap

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Temple Playground, Mary Dengler

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The Blessed Sacrament of Potlucks, Howard Schaap

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The Bloody Benders, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger