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About R-J Heijmen

R-J Heijmen is the Senior Assistant Rector for Education, Stewardship and Student Ministries at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, TX. Previous to that, R-J lived in New York City for 10 years, where he led one of the largest youth ministries in Manhattan and planted a church. He and his wife Jaime have two boys, Jackson, 10 and Spencer 8.

http://stmartinsepiscopal.org/heijmen.php

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Author Archive
    
    80/20 Dirtbag

    80/20 Dirtbag

    Christians are impossible. Have you noticed? They’re needy, demanding, insecure, oblivious, judgmental, hypocritical, weird and generally exhausting. And that’s just me. But seriously, there was a time in my (more)self-righteous youth when I wondered what was wrong with people who went to church. Why were they like that? So uncool? So difficult to be around? […]

    Death and Resurrection (but Mainly Death) in Church Planting

    Death and Resurrection (but Mainly Death) in Church Planting

    I am a failed church planter. From 2008-2012, my wife and I and a group of friends started a new church in New York City. It was, in many ways, a wonderful time. We gathered a young, vibrant congregation and formed life-long relationships but, in the end, we could not reach the proverbial, and dreaded, […]

    Downer Darko

    As Martin Luther reminds us, the thirst for glory is not ended by satisfying it, but by extinguishing it (paraphrase). Few men have had that thirst more publicly and painfully extinguished than Darko Milicic, the 2nd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft – right after Lebron. And before All-Stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Josh Howard, David West and two others whom you can go look up if you like. Milicic is widely considered the greatest NBA bust of all time, a joke and cautionary tale. Imagine carrying that burden – Biggest Failure of All Time – everywhere you go, forever. Ouch.

    All of which is why I was drawn to a recent article on Darko. Turns out he’s doing pretty well. As he puts it:

    I kind of feel like Old Darko died. Like, when I think about myself, or myself when I was playing, I feel like I’m sort of thinking about someone who is dead.

    Yes, he still has a sizable portion of the 50+ million dollars he made playing basketball (I chose the wrong profession), but he also has assets infinitely more valuable: a loving family, a sense of humor, something to live for, and some perspective. I won’t spoil the ending, but Jesus figures prominently in this man’s ability to accept himself as-is. May we all be so blessed, whether we succeed or fail.

     

    Some Very Helpful Words from RFC

    Some Very Helpful Words from RFC

    I was on duty for the 7am chapel service at my church this morning and wasn’t quite sure what to say, especially since the Gospel reading contained Jesus’ famously opaque words about “salt of the earth” (Mt 5.13). I had a copy of Robert Farrar Capon’s Kingdom, Grace, Judgment on my desk, and looked to see what […]

    Bad People in The Good Place

    In case you missed it during the Olympics, NBC will have a new Thursday night sitcom this fall: The Good Place (I went to high school with Michael Schur!). It’s about an abominable woman (Kristin Bell), who, by some cosmic error, ends up in Heaven.

    Not surprisingly, the show appears (admittedly from the 2-minute trailer) to propagate the notion that good people go to the “good place” and bad people go to the “bad place” (although I hold out hope that the creator of Parks & Rec and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be a bit more insightful). Of course, this is the Law, not the Gospel. It is Karma, not Grace. In contrast, the New Testament affirms that the only Good Person went to the bad place so that bad people could go to the good place.

    Kylo Ren and the Weakness of Love

    Kylo Ren and the Weakness of Love

    For those of you who’ve spent the holidays under a rock and have yet to participate in the global phenomenon that is The Force Awakens (or if you just don’t care), I promise that this little ditty contains no spoilers like the one some Sith Lord left on a stickie attached to my Han Solo […]

    The Agony of Getting Everything You Want

    The Agony of Getting Everything You Want

    Newly minted billionaire Markus Persson of Minecraft fame (if you don’t know what Minecraft is, ask any boy aged 8-12) is not happy. A series of tweets from early Saturday morning went as follows: 4:48am: The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to […]

    Forgiveness Is Greece's (and Germany's) Only Hope

    Forgiveness Is Greece’s (and Germany’s) Only Hope

    Central to Christianity is the notion that, at the end of the day, forgiveness is humanity’s only hope. Not performance, or improvement, or willpower, or wishful thinking, but absolution – “nothing but the blood of Jesus,” as the old hymn goes. Apparently, this idea holds in financial markets as well, or so a piece in […]

    Chris Farley and the Tragedy of Splitting

    I just watched the trailer for the upcoming Chris Farley documentary and nearly bawled on my desk. His work was a huge part of my childhood and, for my money, there have never been better SNL skits than Matt Foley or funnier movies than Tommy Boy. What a tragic loss.

    The trailer revealed that this poor man fell victim to what some have called “splitting”: the living of two lives, ever more separated – one an idealized, “super” version of self and the other a dark brew of one’s less admirable traits (what Paul Zahl refers to as “the boys in the basement”). Chris Farley always had to be “Chris Farley.” He couldn’t find a space to let down, tell the truth, not be funny,  and even as the expectations on his better self ramped up, the appetites of his shadow self increased in step, and finally claimed him. No one can be “on” all the time.

    Chris was killed by the law of fame, and not God’s Law, but the lesson still holds. As long as we attempt to find approval and peace by living up to some unattainable ideal, we will inevitably split. The hope of the Gospel is that our darker self will be brought into the light, where it can be forgiven, loved, embraced, and integrated. Only grace moves us towards wholeness, a miracle which Christopher Crosby Farley never experienced.

    The 21 Beheaded Egyptians Make Me Proud to Be a Christian

    The 21 Beheaded Egyptians Make Me Proud to Be a Christian

    From Cairo to Rome and beyond, the reaction to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS has been swift and profound: anger and condemnation, sadness and solidarity. Yet, as I have thought over this horrific event, another emotion has swelled within in me: pride. For while the Islamic State considers itself to be following in the footsteps […]

    Serial, Contradictions, and the Jesus Stories

    Serial, Contradictions, and the Jesus Stories

    The Gospels are full of contradictions. There, I said it. Take, for example, the differing accounts of the resurrection. In Matthew, the two Marys – Magdelene and Jesus’ mom – are at the empty tomb, greeted by an earthquake and an angel. In Luke, Joanna and other unnamed females are added to the mix, and […]

    Ebola, "Friends" and the Reasons We Give

    Ebola, “Friends” and the Reasons We Give

    Tim Keller has said that a Christian is someone who knows that they need to repent not only for the wrong things they do, but for the reasons they do the right things. That is to say, whatever we do, no matter how seemingly altruistic, almost always has some sort of selfish motivation mixed in […]