About R-J Heijmen

Since July 2012, R-J Heijmen has been the Assistant Rector for Outreach, Youth & Young Adult 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 new church. He and his wife Jaime have two boys, Jackson, 10 and Spencer 8.

http://stmartinsepiscopal.org/heijmen.php

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    NYC Preview: I’m New Here. I Don’t Know Anyone. And What the &%*! Is Going On?

    NYC Preview: I’m New Here. I Don’t Know Anyone. And What the &%*! Is Going On?

    Recently, one of my current coworkers, whom we shall call Will, made a confession to me about his first Mockingbird Conference. A friend of mine, with whom Will worked at the time, had convinced him to come along, and so, after flying into LaGuardia, Will found himself in the backseat of my car on our way into Manhattan. Listening in on the front seat conversation between my friend and I (both Episcopal priests), which was undoubtedly, shall we say, “salty,” the following thoughts ran through Will’s head: “Who are these guys? What are they talking about? Are they even Christians?!…

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    Laughing in Church (But Apparently Not on Craigslist)

    Laughing in Church (But Apparently Not on Craigslist)

    Last weekend we bought my wife a new (used) car. Her old(er) one was getting a bit small for our growing boys, and was quickly approaching 100,000 miles (at which point it would become more difficult to sell), so we bit the bullet and took the plunge.

    Now we have a 12 year-old, 99k-mile car to get off our hands. It’s in excellent shape, by the way. New timing belt and everything, if you happen to be in the market.

    On Sunday evening I posted a for-sale ad on Craigslist. Wanting to separate myself from the herd, I spent some time crafting…

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    Andre Dubus III on Tragedy and Happiness in America

    Andre Dubus III on Tragedy and Happiness in America

    From his interview yesterday on the Diane Rehm show, starting at about the 3:30 mark:

    AD3: “Frankly, I have this belief (that) if you scratch the surface of any human being, across the country, across the world, at any moment of any day, even right this moment, everybody’s in some kind of trouble. It’s normal. It’s just part of human existence. I think that in America, we freak out about that. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods, that we think we’re supposed to be happy all the time, especially if we’re successful.”

    DR: “It’s in the constitution!”

    AD3: “Yeah. ‘Life, liberty…

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    Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

    Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

    “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6.30).

    Of all Jesus’ commandments which his followers expressly disobey (my personal fave being Matthew 6:1 where he instructs his audience “not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them”–ironically enough, the lectionary reading for Ash Wednesday(!)), his instruction that we should “give to all who ask” is, perhaps, the one against which we have built the strongest fortification. In fact, if one were to reconstruct Jesus’ teaching on generosity based on the actions and teachings…

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    Jeremy Lin Crushed by the Law of Linsanity

    Jeremy Lin Crushed by the Law of Linsanity

    You gotta love Jeremy Lin, and I say that not only as a recently minted Houstonian who is looking forward to some serious Harden/Howard/Parsons beatdowns. In an article posted yesterday, ESPN reports on Lin’s unusual candor before a crowd of Taiwanese (presumably) Christian youth:

    Lin went as far to say that he experienced “emptiness, confusion and misery” at points last season. “The one thing I learned was how empty fame and worldly success really are. … The desire for success never stopped,” Lin said. “If the voice that you listen to the most isn’t God’s voice, then eventually you will experience that…

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    From One Juliet to Another: Sufferers Comforting Sufferers

    From One Juliet to Another: Sufferers Comforting Sufferers

    One of the criticisms of Gospel preaching is that it can, at times, be gloomy. “Do we have to hear about sin again?”, the complaint goes, “Do you have to be so down on humanity?”, “Can’t we talk about how great life is sometimes?”, “Can’t you give me some self-improvement tools?”

    To these voices the Gospel preacher replies that life is often (perhaps mostly) hard, and that as much as we might crave a word of optimism, a little fuel for the part of us that longs to live in blissful ignorance (or denial), what we really need is not to…

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    Lenten Jams, Pt II: I Make the Same Mistakes

    From the Echo Friendly, a little tune about the bondage of the will.

    Fort Dix, New Jersey

    72150090

    “You Don’t Change People By Power”: Grace in a Norwegian Prison

    “You Don’t Change People By Power”: Grace in a Norwegian Prison

    A thought-provoking article from the The Guardian about Norway’s prison island Bastoy, where inmates are treated like human beings (i.e. sinners in need of mercy) and which has the lowest recidivism rate in Europe (16%!). Don’t call it imputation, but apparently, grace works. A couple choice quotes:

    From the warden, Arne Nilsen:

    “In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is…

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    Real Christians Don’t Sin: The Least True Thing Said During the Super Bowl

    Real Christians Don’t Sin: The Least True Thing Said During the Super Bowl

    During his pre-Super Bowl interview with Shannon Sharpe, in which Sharpe raised the question of Ray Lewis’ alleged involvement in a 2000 double murder, Lewis made the following, completely untrue, totally unbiblical statement:

    “If (the family of the victims) knew, if they really knew, the way God works, He doesn’t use people who commit anything like that, for His glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.”

    I’m sorry Ray, but Moses begs to differ. As does David, and Paul. All murderers. Praise God that this isn’t true; that God does, in fact, use sinners for His glory and His purposes. He has…

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    This Just In: In the Quest for Self-Improvement, Ideals Hinder, Don’t Help.

    This Just In: In the Quest for Self-Improvement, Ideals Hinder, Don’t Help.

    To be filed under “no duh” for any Mbirder (or anyone with the least bit of self-knowledge) comes this piece of news from NPR this morning: Skinny Models Undermine Dieting Goals.

    Dr. Anne Klesse, a researcher at Tilburg University in the Netherlands (as I’ve always said, if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much:) and her colleagues recently conducted an experiment to see what effect skinny models had on dieters…

    …They recruited female volunteers who signed up for a weight-loss program and gave them diaries in which the volunteers could note down precisely what they ate and when — a standard technique in weight-loss programs nowadays.

    But half the…

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    The Twelve Days of Christmas (Movies)

    The Twelve Days of Christmas (Movies)

    With Christmas only 2 weeks away (wait, what?!), I thought it high time to unveil my own personal top 12 list of Holiday faves. Here goes nothing:

    12. Arthur Christmas

    Just saw this for the first time last week and was hooked in the first five minutes by a powerful Gospel moment. An elf, delivering presents on Christmas Eve with the help of a “naughty-or-nice-o-meter”, comes across a boy who has been a bit too naughty to deserve anything. The elf frowns, promptly turns the device on himself and imputes to the boy the presents that the elf deserves. Sold!

    11. Love Actually

    A…

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    Coffin Therapy: The (Un)Denial of Death

    Coffin Therapy: The (Un)Denial of Death

    Gizmodo finds this a bit creepy, and perhaps I have a morbid streak, but does this strike anyone else as a really good idea? I was speaking recently with a woman whose husband had died in his 70s and she said, quite strikingly, “we hadn’t ever talked about funeral arrangements because, of course, we were never going to die.” She said this tongue-firmly-in-cheek, and yet it spoke volumes about how we (don’t) deal with our inevitable demise. Spending a few minutes in a coffin every so often sounds like a great way to engender a bit of the freedom and…

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    Two Words in Job

    Two Words in Job

    Yesterday, while preparing for a sermon, I came across a beautiful description of both Law and Gospel in the Old Testament that I’d never noticed before. Job 33.14-28:

    For God speaks in one way,
    and in two, though man does not perceive it.
    15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on men,
    while they slumber on their beds,
    16 then he opens the ears of men
    and terrifies them with warnings,
    17 that he may turn man aside from his deed
    and conceal pride from a man;
    18 he keeps back his soul from the pit,
    his life from perishing by the sword…

    26 …then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
        he sees his face with a shout of…

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    NBC Cut the Best Part of the Opening Ceremonies

    NBC Cut the Best Part of the Opening Ceremonies

    Like most of you (I’m guessing), I’m a huge fan of the Olympics. I’m a total sucker for hour after hour of swimming, diving, gymnastics, handball, whatever, and have spent the last few days stuck to the couch alongside my wife and kids. Unlike most of you (I’m guessing), I’m also a huge fan of opening ceremonies (at least since Beijing). Maybe it’s my inner chick (is it wrong that two of my fave flicks are Pride and Prejudice and Moulin Rouge?), but there’s something that moves me about any attempt to capture a nation’s history, culture and aesthetic sensibility…

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