Shuffling the Team

Dawn Boelkins

I’ve never understood the point of Fantasy Football.

Why go to the trouble of investigating all the professional football teams, disassembling them, and realigning the players in made-up teams? Aren’t there sufficient games? An abundance of statistics? Exuberant mascots? I have even less understanding now that we’ve done quite a bit of shuffling on the Perspectives editorial board.

We’re grateful for the unflagging enthusiasm of Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell who joined the editorial board in 2007 and — just one year later — became coeditor. Steve’s passion for reading seeded many of the board’s conversations that later bore fruit as essays or themed issues. His pastoral wisdom ensured that our journal remained valuable within the life of the church.

Arika Theule-VanDam first joined the Perspectives board in 2002 as a student representative from Western Theological Seminary, but she was a student in name only. Her willingness to serve as guest editor for an issue and her careful attention to detail displayed her manifold gifts. Arika rejoined the editorial board in 2009 and became coeditor in 2011. By means of her editorial skills, Perspectives honored its writers and maintained clarity of tone and style both within and among issues.

Steve and Arika oversaw the transition to our award-winning new design and to our bimonthly format. Those of us who now attend to the journal can’t fathom how they maintained a monthly publication schedule between the two of them. For that — and for them — we are grateful.

Because we nearly did in Arika and Steve, Malcolm McBryde has agreed to become managing editor. With his years of experience at the Kalamazoo Gazette and the Christian Reformed Church’s magazine, The Banner, Malcolm should be up to the task of overseeing our all-volunteer editorial team. Welcome, Malcolm.

As we haven’t completely exhausted Arika and Steve, both will remained involved with Perspectives in new roles. Steve has agreed to raise funds with the help of new board member Jeff Munroe from Western Theological Seminary. (Those of you who read the Perspectives daily blog “The Twelve” will be familiar with Jeff already. Those of you who don’t should.) Arika will give each issue a final once-over before it goes to press.

At the close of 2013, we also say farewell and thank you to our poetry editor, Susanna Childress of Hope College. Susanna brought a poet’s spirit to her work.

Sara Tolsma of Northwestern College will join Debra Rienstra as book review editor. Debra understands books and people — an invaluable asset in a review editor. Her care in matching new books with just the right people makes our book reviews must-reads. We’re grateful that Sara has joined her in this time-sensitive and labor-intensive section of our journal. Welcome, Sara.

Susanna brought a poet’s spirit to her work as poetry editor. While the board was never able to say clearly what kind of poetry we wanted, we knew that we would want what Susanna offered. Now that she is no longer the poetry editor, perhaps some of her poetry may grace our pages. We welcome Sarah DenBoer as our new poetry editor.

Because Perspectives values its long-term connections to the colleges and seminaries of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church, we welcome new board members Jon Witt of Central College and James Vanden Bosch of Calvin College. Their voices will help shape and direct Perspectives in the coming years.

We value your voice, too. Read our daily blog “The Twelve: Reformed. Done Daily.” and post a response. Consider writing an “As We See It” or an “Inside Out” for us. Wrestling with a larger issue? We need thoughtful essays, too.

And, although we’re a small, lean publication, we need subscribers and donors to keep us going. Buy a Perspectives subscription for your church library or your pastor. Make a donation in memory of a revered catechism teacher or in honor of that youth-group leader who wrestles with issues faithfully. You’ll find the links to submit an article, subscribe, or donate at our website, www.perspectivesjournal.org.

The editorial team at Perspectives has changed, but we’re committed to our purpose: We publish Christian writing that delights readers and engages the world in a Reformed way.

And we’re wondering about a mascot.

Dawn Boelkins teaches biblical languages at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan.