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 2015

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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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A Specially Tender Piece of Eternity, Howard Schaap

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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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Christmas Expectations, Howard Schaap

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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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Distillation, Howard Schaap

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Diverstiy Question, Howard Schaap

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Endless Cycle of Want, Howard Schaap

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Exteriority, 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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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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Targeting Our Fears, Tanya DeRoo

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The Art of Rock and Roll Memoir, Howard Schaap

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Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Bob De Smith

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Up the Hill (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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

Submissions from 2013

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Best of “The Reformed Journal” (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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Divine Comedy as an American Civil War Epic, Joshua Matthews

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Fall of Alice K (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Heron Lake (Book Review), Bill Elgersma

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Me Before You (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Mourning Hours (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Northwoods Hymnal, Luke Hawley

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Designing a High School or Middle School Course (or Unit) in Professional Writing, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Professional Collaborative Writing: Teaching, Writing, and Learning -- Together, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema

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Time Travel (Book Review), Joshua Matthews

Submissions from 2012

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Angry Birds, Joshua Matthews

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Barack Obama: The Story (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Deliverance, James C. Schaap

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Doubt Denied, David Schelhaas

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Egret, Mary Dengler

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Fallible, Bob De Smith

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First Love, Bill Elgersma

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F Word, Joshua Matthews

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Grammar Workshop: Systematic Language Study in Reading and Writing Contexts, Leah A. Zuidema

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Holy Writ and Human Writ, James C. Schaap

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Illuminated Manuscript, David Schelhaas

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Infallible, Bob De Smith

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Making Space for Informal Inquiry: Inquiry as Stance in an Online Induction Network, Leah A. Zuidema

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North Wind is an Old Friend, Howard Schaap

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Not Sure (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Are You a Writing Bully? Considerations for Teachers and Students, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Let's Get Real: Using Usability to Connect Writers, Readers, and Texts, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Literature-Based Professional Writing: An Oxymoron Whose Time Has Come, Jonathan Bush, Leah A. Zuidema, Kelley R. Newhouse, Michele L. Propper, Ruth M. Riedel, and Barbara S. Teitelzweig

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Quakes Beneath the Sea, Mary Dengler

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Rising Early, Howard Schaap

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Taking My Dad Fishing, Howard Schaap

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Upon Learning that April is Genocide Prevention Month, David Schelhaas

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Wheel of Fortune, Joshua Matthews

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White Linen, Mary Dengler

Books from 2011

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Acquainted with the Light, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Ananias Walks Home, Bob De Smith

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Bruised Reeds, James C. Schaap

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Contentious Conversations, Leah A. Zuidema

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Eaarth (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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"Emptiness About the Heart of Life": A Reformed Approach to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's The Hours, Mary Dengler

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Jonathan Swift at Work, Bob De Smith

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Leaves in the Wind, David Schelhaas

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Music and Politics: U2 and the Country of Adolescence, Howard Schaap

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Of No Fixed Address, Bill Elgersma

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On the Death of a Church Musician, Mike Vanden Bosch

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Paul Simon's Memento Mori: A Review Essay, James C. Schaap

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Professional Writing in the English Classroom: Beyond Language: The Grammar of Document Design, Jonathan Bush and Leah A. Zuidema