The Best of 2014: My Favorite Posts of the Year

Happy New Year’s Eve! Yesterday, blogmeister Tommy Kidd graciously posted the top posts from each of the individual contributors who blog under his guidance here at the Anxious Bench.  In keeping with the spirit of the season, I have compiled my own list. First, although my Great Aunt Iris might have shared “The Religion of [Read More...]

A Muslim, an Evangelical, and Jesus Walk into a Bar …

It might well be that Jesus is the only one who would place an order. American Evangelicalism has longed harbored a strain of teetotalism while the Qur’an strictly forbids Muslims from drinking alcohol. Jesus, of course, turned water into wine, according to the Gospel of John. Relations between Christians and Muslims have been on my [Read More...]

Give the Gift of Spiritual Formation and Neuroscience for Christmas

I admit it.  I like to go Christmas shopping.  I really enjoy finding a special gift for someone else.  Some years, my Christmas shopping goes exceedingly well.  But, like many others in academia, end-of-the-semester festivities such as writing exams, grading essays, marking papers, entering grades, etc. too often derail my plans for shopping and other [Read More...]

Do You Need a Literary Agent?

I routinely get asked about using a literary agent in securing book contracts. Is this something that authors, academic or non-academic, should consider? It depends on what type of publishing you wish to do. For most academic publishing, you don’t need a literary agent, because academic publishers are not generally engaged in “trade” publishing, meaning [Read More...]

Working Women and the “Exalted Work of Creation”

This week the Supreme Court heard a case, Young v. United Parcel Service, weighing treatment of a female UPS driver, Peggy Young, denied a shift to light duty when expecting a baby.  Putatively at issue are discrimination and prospects of regulation for “pregnant workers.”  As a report from the National Women’s Law Center argues, “It [Read More...]

More than Ferguson

After the St. Louis County (MO) Grand Jury in Ferguson declined to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, chaos ensued.  Certainly, chaos ensued in the streets of Ferguson as protests turned into riots throughout the city.  At the same time, chaos of a different sort emerged among evangelicals.  In the aggregate, evangelicals [Read More...]

Eating Eel: Your Guide to an Authentic Thanksgiving

recipe-12830

Turkey might be traditional fare at Thanksgiving, but it’s probably not historical. If the Pilgrims ate any birds at all, historian Tracy McKenzie writes in his fascinating book The First Thanksgiving, they were probably waterfowl. William Bradford remembered that there were “swarms and multitudes” of ducks, swans, herons, and cranes. There were, said a Dutch [Read More...]

An Infallible, Liberal Pope?

First Vatican Council, 1869-70

Pope Francis has been back in the news. Most recently, because the Vatican confirmed that he will visit the United States next year, but earlier because of the much-discussed extraordinary synod on the family. At this gathering, some prelates drafted a document evincing an unprecedented welcome to gays and divorced Catholics before it was criticized [Read More...]

Why does it hurt so much to live?

The answer is carbon.         Pain is unavoidably part of the package of carbon-based life, explained Denis Alexander this week in his Herrmann Lectures at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. Alexander, biochemist and emeritus director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge, took on the rather large question, “Is Life [Read More...]

Race, Religion, and Teaching in Prison

Ferguson, MO

The St. Louis County grand jury tasked with determining whether enough evidence exists to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown will announce its decision later this month.  Regardless of the outcome of that inquiry, large groups of people will be disatisfied, even angry.  Unfortunately, their reaction will not be [Read More...]


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