Rush Hour in Kampen

Over a decade ago I participated in a conference at Kampen sponsored by the theological institute of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands Liberated. After clearing my head from the cobwebs of jet lag, I looked out my downtown hotel window to observe teams of Dutch cyclists. They were not out for exercise but dressed in business attire on their way to work.

David Danelo finally helps make sense of that arresting sight.

About 230,000 Dutch citizens died during World War II, or 2.5% of the wartime population of nine million, many from disease and famine as much as violence. Before World War II, bicycles had come quickly to Holland, and the flat terrain made cycling the most affordable and functional form of public transport. After Nazi Germany occupied the Netherlands in 1940, soldiers confiscated bicycles and recycled the metal and rubber for war materiel. Dutch citizens responded by making bicycle possession a protest symbol; as Nazi convoys careened through Amsterdam’s streets, Dutch cyclists would join hands, up to four abreast, and slow their pace to thwart the convoy’s progress. Even today, Dutch football fans are often seen holding bicycle signs during matches against Germany, and Dutch citizens feels no shame in asking new German acquaintances to “give me my bike back.”

11 thoughts on “Rush Hour in Kampen

  1. MG, you earned a twitter “favorite” from me.

    Over a decade ago I participated in a conference at Kampen sponsored by the theological institute of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands Liberated.

    I looked up the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands Liberted on wiki, interesting stuff:

    The Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated) (Dutch: Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (vrijgemaakt) or simply Gereformeerde Kerken (Vrijgemaakt) (GK(v)) are a Protestant denomination that holds to an orthodox view of Neo-Calvinist doctrine. The church arose in 1944 out of the so-called Liberation (Vrijmaking), when it separated from the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Prof. Dr. Klaas Schilder played an important role in the Liberation. There are currently 270 affiliated local congregations with a total of 125,253 members (1 October 2007).[3][4] In 2013 the church has 276 congregations and 288 ministers and more than 123,000 members

    And in the spirit of cosmopolitianism (correct word?), I learned last night at church just how large the Presbyterian Church in Brazil is:

    The Presbyterian Church of Brazil (Portuguese: Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil, or IPB) is an Evangelical Protestant Christian denomination in Brazil. Oldest of the Reformed family of Protestantism in Brazil.[2] It is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, having an estimate 1,011,300 members, 8,315 ordained ministers and 5,015 churches and 5,392 parishes.[1][3] It is also the only Presbyterian denomination in Brazil present in all 26 States and the Federal District. It was founded by the American missionary Rev. Ashbel Green Simonton, who also oversaw the formal organization of the first congregation (Presbyterian Church of Rio de Janeiro) and the first Presbytery (Presbytery of Rio de Janeiro). Although the Presbyterian Church of Rio de Janeiro was only formally organized in January 1863, and the Brazilian church only left the jusrisdiction of the joint missions board of the American churches in 1888, when the Synod was formed, the denomination considers the date of Simonton’s arrival in Brazil, August 12, 1859, as its foundation date.[4]

    Just stuff for anyone’s morning coffee, since DGH’s post and MG’s goose quip went so well with mine.

    Who’s next 😛


  2. Interesting to consider who all the millionaires of presby-ism are:

    Presbyterian Church of East Africa – 4.0 million[36]
    Presbyterian Church of Nigeria – 3.8 million[37]
    Presbyterian Church of Africa – 3.4 million[38]
    Presbyterian Church in Korea (HapDong) – 3.0 million[39]
    The Presbyterian Church of Korea (TongHap) – 2.9 million[40]
    United Church of Canada – 2.8 million[41]
    Church of Christ in Congo–Presbyterian Community of Congo – 2.5 million[42]
    Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – 1.8 million[43]
    Presbyterian Church of Cameroon – 1.8 million[44]
    Presbyterian Church of India – 1.3 million[45]
    Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian – 1.3 million[46]
    Church of Scotland – 1.1 million[47]
    Presbyterian Church of Brazil – 1.0 million[48]
    Presbyterian Church in Sudan – 1.0 million[49]

    Africa has some HUGE presby churches, wow. I was just reading about Al Tricarico’s work in this month’s New Horizons, and how he’s doing in Uganda, it’s a great article, everyone should browse on over to opc dot org and find the latest NH.

    Sorry, back to cycling (emoticon).


  3. Ok, last one:

    Preaching was a daunting task to me. I wondered if I would be understood, if illustrations would hold, and if I might unwittingly offend. Speaking through an interpreter felt awkward to me. And I did not imagine how I would ever connect with pastoralist people who grow sorghum, wear blankets, and keep livestock.

    I began to discover what I thought I had already learned. No matter how different people are, there are two great realities that equalize—sin and the gospel. We are all, by nature, in trouble with God. We are all invited to believe. We who belong to Jesus have been rescued from sin, death, and hell by grace alone. I had come to Uganda with a message that had transformed my life, and I rejoiced at the thought of gently bringing that message to my new friends. Over time, the differences that unsettled me at the beginning lost much of their force. I have learned, and continue to learn, to connect with my neighbors. I thank Jesus for that. source


  4. I live in Kampen, student theology here and when I look out my window I see that hotel. Small world.


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