catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 11 :: 2007.06.01 — 2007.06.15


The Covenant Dutch

View slide show of images from The Covenant Dutch exhibit

Mixed media installation sculpture including cyanotype photography
Adams Gallery, Wheaton College 2005
Text excerpts are taken from Robert Swierenga's Dutch Chicago: A History of the Hollanders in the Windy City (Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America)


Artist's Statement


Our Dutch heritage has provided us with a community that instills a spiritual identity and breeds comfort in that security.  We have a sense of belonging by being connected to our covenant.  In preserving our heritage as immigrants and maintaining a high morality, we can celebrate our distinct tradition into the twenty-first century.  By refusing to water down our faith in order to gain acceptance, we can take pride in our forefathers as well as our role models of today.

I would specifically like to thank my teachers at Lansing Christian School and Illiana Christian High School for equipping students with an education that is unapologetically Reformed.  Your discipline and hard work have inspired me to pursue excellence in my own education and life.  From your instruction I have gleaned the ability to recognize the blindfolds that I wear.

I cherish the numerous conversations I have had with friends who share this heritage.  I am so grateful that we can walk this journey together, joyfully celebrating our common traditions as well as discerning what we cannot keep.

Most importantly, I would like to thank my parents for providing a home of support and protection.  I appreciate the sacrifices that you have made in order for me to gain a Christian education.  Thank you for your help in the physical construction of this show and for putting up with me in the process.

While I celebrate my Reformed background and admire the people who have shaped the way I think, I cannot escape the feeling that there is something more.

This is my life.  This is my comfort.  This is my prison.



Artist's Statement


I apologize that this show is not intended for you.  It is not my aim to give an explanation of the past or present conditions of my Dutch Reformed community, but rather to start a discussion within it.  I have used the language known to members of my community which may include terms or concepts that you may not be familiar with.  I would like to provide a simplified definition of terms to enable you to better understand.  If you are not familiar with the Dutch Reformed tradition, you are an outsider.  That is why I created this show.

Definition of terms:

  • Covenant:  1. the sovereignly administered relationship of union and communion between the Lord God and His people in the bonds of mutual faithfulness and love  2. closely related or synonymous with 'people of God,' 'church'  3. regulative principle of Reformed life, which should be lived in the light of the fact that we are God's covenant people
  • Tulip:  1. a plant from the lily family bearing colorful, cup-shaped flowers  2. the Reformed doctrine of salvation that is commonly represented by an acrostic; the five points of Calvinism (TULIP), Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints.
  • Apartheid (from the Afrikaans word for "apartness"):  1. an official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal and economic discrimination against nonwhites.  2. a policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.  3. the condition of being separate from others; segregation
  • White flight:  a colloquial term for the demographic trend of whites moving away from areas with large nonwhite populations
  • Baaskap:  (from Dutch word "baasschap," from "baas," master) the doctrine and practice of white supremacy over non-caucasions; domination, mastership
  • Calvinettes:  a church sponsored girls' club whose activities include Bible study, singing, games and crafts; presently called GEMS (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior)
  • Catechism:  1. the ecclesiastical training of the children of the covenant, aimed at preparing them for profession of faith, active church membership and kingdom usefulness  2. indoctrination that is part of the church's obligation towards youth that is rooted in the covenantal relation that exists between God and His people

View additional photos
of The Covenant Dutch exhibit.

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