I Was a Refugee

I’m from a family of refugees. My father fled cold, post-war Holland for the promise of a better future in South Africa. My grandmother’s family is descended from the Huguenots, who fled to Holland centuries ago. On my mother’s side we are Afrikaners. In the seventeenth century we fled from Holland to Cape Town, and later we fled from the British into the interior of Africa. I, myself, am an economic refugee. I fled to Holland with my parents when I was twelve, just a year after the fall of apartheid. (more…)

Utopia is Awesome

[This blog post is part of series on metamodernism and awesomeness. If you don’t know what metamodernism is, read this first, otherwise you may be left in the dark. I’m developing some thoughts here, and reactions are more than welcome.]

Pete is an adventist. Pete believes in heaven. Pete believes Jesus lives there now, and will come soon to pick the faithful up. Pete wants to believe he can join Jesus in heaven. Pete thinks heaven is awesome.

Pete could never be an Adventist. Pete knows that heaven is a fallacy. Pete knows that the idea of heaven is just used to bribe us to be good. Pete doesn’t even want to go to heaven. Pete thinks heaven is awesome.

Pete is both of these things. And neither. Pete is metamodern. (more…)

Awesome prophecy

[This blog post is part of series on metamodernism and awesomeness. If you don’t know what metamodernism is, read this first otherwise you may be left in the dark. I’m developing some thoughts here, and reactions are more than welcome.]

Pete is an Adventist. Pete believes in prophecy. Pete believes in the prophetic task of the end-time church. Pete believes that the Bible and Ellen White predict future events. Pete thinks prophecy is awesome.

Pete could never be an Adventist. Pete knows that prophecy is a fallacy. Pete knows there is no end-time church. Pete knows that the prophetic parts of the Bible about history were obviously written after the fact. Pete knows that other prophetic parts were simply socio-religious critique. Pete thinks prophecy is awesome.

Pete has both of these identities, and neither. Pete is metamodern. (more…)

In His Image: Discrimination and Equality

Almost 25 years ago Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He has been an inspiration for many people, and I am sure he will remain one for generations. In 1993 his contribution to society was honoured, when he won the Nobel prize for peace, together with F. W. de Klerk. Mandela’s mission was founded in love and human rights.

Mandela’s fight for love and human rights is special to me. I lived in South Africa when he was released from prison. I remember the elections where De Klerk was voted president. I remember the hope that many had that he, from a position of power, would bring change. And change was direly needed.


Taking care of the earth

The meaning of life, for a Christian, is taking care of the earth. God’s primary wish for humankind is being a faithful steward to the earth and everything on it. Sadly, when we talk about stewardship we often talk about money and tithes. But what’s up with the world?

When I was at Newbold College I was a member of the NSA. Not that NSA, the American organisation that keeps an eye on us at all times. I was a member of the Newbold Student Association. That was in a time when Newbold was having seven lean financial years, while all students were mandatory paying members of the NSA. The students were richer than the school. So we decided to give the College a hand. We had a plan that would not only help Newbold, it would save the world. We wanted to get a windmill on campus. The electricity would be shared with the College. Newbold is in a part of England that is well-suited for wind energy. Everything was sorted: plans, planning permission, you name it. But, if you go to Newbold today. No windmill. Why not? When we got to the final vote, one of the students stood up and said: ‘Why should we take care of the environment if Jesus is coming soon?!’ His argument was apparently very powerful, because when we got around to voting we decided against it. (more…)

A Book on Women’s Ordination

The ordination of female pastors has been a hot topic in the Adventist church in the last years. The excitement is growing now that the General Conference is getting closer. Sadly, I am not a delegate the the General Conference so I will have no vote in the matter.

For the record, I wholeheartedly support the ordination of female pastors. I don’t think that anyone who knows me has any doubt in that issue. In November of 2012 I wrote an article for Spectrum Magazine, where I said:

As an ordained male pastor I have no direct stake in the argument, yet this is an issue in which I have always felt personally involved, and on which I cannot conscientiously remain silent. As a church it is our responsibility to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and as Christians it is our moral duty to speak out where we see our fellows treated unjustly. Having grown up in South Africa during the years of apartheid, I witnessed institutionalised injustice first-hand. Discrimination is wrong no matter what form it takes, and I cannot see any fundamental difference between how the church treats women (as less than men), and how South Africa treated black Africans (as less than white Europeans).


Gastblog: Bijbel in Gewone Taal

Met enig regelmaat schrijf ik een gastblog voor het Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap. In de veertigdagentijd vroegen zij of ik iets wilde schrijven over het evangelie van Johannes. Het is altijd een uitdaging om iets te vermakelijks schrijven voor zo’n breed lezerspubliek, maar de volgende zinnen uit Johannes 16 gaven mij goede Read more…

The Post-Postmodern Church

I recently returned from The One Project gathering in San Diego, where I gave a talk about what the future holds for Christians in Europe and the US alike. A longer version of that talk (adjusted for print) just went up on The One Project’s official website. Catch the first Read more…

God with Us

I wrote this blog for the One project’s daily challenge, they published it on December 30th, 2014.  A couple of months ago my wife moved to another country. Don’t worry, she didn’t leave me — at least not permanently. She received a job offer we could not refuse, and for Read more…

Berichten: wat doe jíj ermee?

Ik krijg elke dag meer dan tweehonderd e-mails. Het is een wonder dat ik aan werk toekom!

Naast die mails worden we allemaal overweldigd met App’jes, sms’jes en Facebookberichten. Om maar niet te praten over de berichten in de krant en op tv. En dan natuurlijk al die Tweets en YouTube-video’s … Daar bovenop de zegen van reclame. Elke dag duizenden berichten. (more…)

Ik kan niet naar mijn vader terug zonder mijn jongste broer

Onderstaande is een bewerking van de overdenking die Tom de Bruin hield op de jeugdleidersdag van 2 november.

Er is een nieuwe bijbelvertaling in Nederland. Als je niet onder een rots hebt geleefd de afgelopen weken, dan heb je dat wel gemerkt. Er zijn meer dan 60 duizend Bijbels in gewone taal verkocht in de afgelopen weken, wat betekent dat één op honderd gezinnen in Nederland deze nieuwe Bijbel heeft.

Onder christenen zal dat veel hoger zijn, en als ik eerlijk ben zou eigenlijk elk christelijk gezin de Bijbel in Gewone Taal (BGT) moeten hebben. Zeker voor jongeren. (more…)

Moeten we daarvoor naar het ziekenhuis?

Daar sta je dan. Als net begonnen predikant, gewapend met de Schrift, barstend van de academische nuance, vóór het huis van een gezin. Binnen wacht een tweetal jongeren op de bijbelstudie van de predikant.

Thuis heb je al hevig nagedacht waar je het over gaat hebben en — nog veel belangrijker — welke bijbel je meeneemt. De NBG 1951-vertaling is voor tieners onbegrijpelijk, de Groot Nieuws Bijbel helaas ook. De Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling (NBV) is beter, maar nog steeds een uitdaging en Het Boek staat weer zo ver van de brontekst. Toch maar de NBV onder de arm. We gaan het hebben over regels, dat spreekt die jongelui vast aan. (more…)