A Visit to St. Nicholas

by Norman Kolenbrander St. Nicholas Orthodox Church is located above The Mystical Rose Catholic bookstore, across from Van Den Berg’s Gift Shop on the busiest shopping street in my town, Pella, Iowa. It is the twenty-first century, after all, and we have our own little smattering of diversity to prove it. A friend and I decided to join their congregation …

Be All That You Can Be

We want our kids to be all that they can be. We read descriptions of “tiger moms,” dictating their child’s every move to gain maximum results. We observe the phenomenon of “helicopter parents,” constantly hovering to protect, defend, and enable their children to achieve their heart’s desire So how hard should we push? What kind of standards do we want …

Take a Poet to Lunch

“How do you find all that time to read?” a friend asks. “It’s my job,” I respond. “As a minister, I am a servant of the Word. Words are my tools. I need to keep my toolkit well stocked.” This calls not only for serious ongoing study of the scriptures, but an immersion in that grand stream of poetry and …

Opening the Door

Norman Kolenbrander I’ve decided it’s time to “come out of the closet.” No, I am not about to leave my loving wife of forty-four years for a same-sex partner. I’m coming out to stand in solidarity with gays and lesbians who have all too often been pitched out of the church either by default or design. As a pastor in …