Debra Rienstra

Debra Rienstra


Professor Rienstra began her higher education at Calvin University (then Calvin College) before transferring to the University of Michigan, where she received her bachelor of arts in English literature in 1987 with Highest Honors and Highest Distinction. She completed her graduate studies at Rutgers University, receiving an MA in English literature in 1991 and a PhD in literatures in English in 1995. She joined the Calvin University English department in 1996.

Recent Activities

Professor Rienstra’s most recent book is Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth (Fortress, 2022). Previous books include Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Worship, a collaboration with Rev. Dr. Ron Rienstra released by Baker Academic in 2009. Her 2005 book, So Much More: An Invititation to Christian Spirituality (Jossey-Bass), won an Award of Merit from Christianity Today in the apologetics category, and Great With Child (Tarcher-Putnam, 2002) was named a Best Book of 2002 by Publisher's Weekly.

Professor Rienstra was the 2008 Calvin faculty lecturer at the The January Series at Calvin College with a talk titled "Words Wear Out: How Writers Help Us Renew Religious Language."

Additional Information

Academic interests

  • Early modern British literature
  • Literary nonfiction 
  • Nature writing and ecotheology 
  • Shakespeare
  • Early modern British poetry and religious lyric


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