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Web site is based in faith
("Newsday.com," March 15, 2003)

A pair of Holland natives have teamed up to launch a Web site that offers national and world news from a perspective they say often gets lost in mainstream media _ that of Christians.

Holland Christian High School graduates Nathan Hart and John Heemstra appear at first glance to have little in common.

Heemstra lives in Holland with his wife and three children, runs a Web development company and works as a software engineer. Hart studies at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.

But they say their faith and a keen interest in current affairs make for a successful partnership as they co-produce the Christdot Web site.

"The combination of a somewhat shared past and completely different paths post-high school makes the partnership fun and interesting," Heemstra told The Holland Sentinel.

Christdot is designed as a Web forum for discussion of religion and news from a Christian viewpoint.

"When I look at the major online newspapers, I find a lack. None of them has a comprehensive religion section," Hart said.

In its first year, the site has posted approximately 1,000 articles. This week's topics include the church in Iraq, the self-styled prophet who allegedly kidnapped Elizabeth Smart and how Christianity relates to postmodernism.

About 30 percent of the site's content either is original or posted by users, while the rest are articles linked by Hart and Heemstra, who each spend between 15 and 20 hours a week working on Christdot.

"At some point I'd like to redesign the whole thing from scratch, but I don't have that kind of time in my life right now," Heemstra said.

The father of three works full time _ usually at his home computer _ as a software engineer for Unlimited Scale in Minnesota, has a Web development company on the side and volunteers at his church, Harderwyk Ministries.

Hart's volunteer work also has led him to work with Bible study groups for everyone from power brokers to those in the film industry.

"It's fun to be planted right in the middle of a place where the gospel is so scarce," Hart said. "There are so many Christians who spend time complaining about Hollywood and Wall Street, yet they don't actually go there and minister to those people. That's what I do."

Hart and Heemstra plan to work for the day when Christdot gets 5,000 or 10,000 hits each day, but both say the site's future isn't just up to them.

"The future is totally in God's hands," Heemstra says. "I'll stay with it and let him do as he pleases."


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