Remembering, Changing, Inventing: How Stories About Jesus Were Told

One of my favorite college classes was “Jesus and the Gospels.” Ironically, one of my strongest memories from the class was not a lesson the professor intended. During a series of presentations toward the end of the semester, one student—instead of following the assignment to use historical-critical research methods—used the opportunity to denounce everything we had learned that semester as heretical and concluded by quoting Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. … [Read more...]

Beyoncé, Black Panthers, & W.E.B. Du Bois: Developing “Double Consciousness”

W.E.B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963) was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University. He was one of the co-founders of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And he was a fierce activist for racial equality for many decades. If you want to learn more about Du Bois, there is an excellent new book by Gary Dorrien titled The New Abolition W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel (Yale University Press, 2015). But perhaps the best entry … [Read more...]

Celebrating Darwin Day: “Perpetual Curiosity, Scientific Thinking, & Hunger for Truth”

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. In recent years, his birthday has become known as International Darwin Day, an annual opportunity to remember his life and be inspired to act on the principles of “perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth” that he represents. But even more than 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s landmark book On the Origin of Species, there remain large parts of humanity unconvinced of Darwin’s genius. Polls here in the U.S. consist … [Read more...]

The Spirituality of Doubt

One famous definition of faith from the Christian tradition is Hebrews 11:1, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Etymologically, the root of the word faith is related to trust. Faith trusts that something is (or will be) the case even though there is not verifiable proof. In many cases, the evidence for faith-based claims is internal, subjective, and unpredictable — as opposed to external, objective, and easily repeatable in laboratory conditions, whic … [Read more...]

Rewatching “Groundhog Day” as a Spiritual Practice

The comedic icon Harold Ramis died a little less than two years ago at the far too young age of 69. My introduction to Ramis was in the eighties, through his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in the two Ghostbusters movies, which he co-wrote. He is also remembered fondly by many as the writer-director of Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993), and Analyze This (1999). But critics agree that it is Groundhog Day that stands outs as his “masterpiece.”  Starring Bill Mur … [Read more...]

The Radical Martin Luther King, Jr.: Why We Need a Third Reconstruction in America

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only thirty-nine years old when he was murdered. If King were alive today, he would be celebrating his eighty-seventh birthday. His prophetic activism for peace and justice ended tragically early. Looking back, less than five years passed from King’s famous “I Have a  Dream” speech in 1963 to his assassination in 1968. Exactly one year to the day before he was killed, he preached a powerful and controversial sermon from the pulpit of Riverside Church in N … [Read more...]

How to Make & Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: Tom Rath’s “Are You Fully Charged?”

Do you know the work of the social scientist and author Tom Rath? I first heard about him about ten years ago through his bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket? There’s also a great children’s version of that book. Over the past decade, he has written six New York Times bestsellers, which have cumulatively sold more than 6 million copies. “He serves as a senior scientist for and advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent thirteen years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, streng … [Read more...]

In the Face of Despair — Choosing Hope, Community, & Meaning: Reflections on Richard Rorty

One trillion, trillion, trillion years from now, the accelerating expansion of the universe will have disintegrated the fabric of matter itself, terminating the possibility of embodiment. Every star in the universe will have burnt out, plunging the cosmos into a state of absolute darkness and leaving behind nothing but spent husks of collapsed matter. All free matter, whether on planetary surfaces or in interstellar space, will have decayed, eradicating any remnants of life…. [T]he stellar c … [Read more...]

Best of 2015: Books, Music, TV, & Podcasts

A compilation of my recent “Top 10″ and “Best of” posts for 2015: Top 10 Best Books Read in 2015 Top 10 Best Albums Listened to in 2015  Best TV Streamed in 2015 Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2015  Enjoy! Thanks for reading, and happy new year to you and yours! Related Posts Best of 2014: Books, Music, Film, & Podcasts Best of 2013: Books, Music, Film, and More The Best of 2012: Books, Music, Film, and More The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. graduate of San … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2015

The following are the podcasts I’ve enjoyed listening to the most consistently since this time last year. This list is also in alphabetical order because agonizing over a precise order would take out all the fun: 1. Amicus: “The Supreme Court and the laws it interprets for the United States.” 2. Buddhist Geeks – “after a few years, and well over a million downloads of the show, it became clear that Buddhist Geeks was something closer to a movement or community, rather than just a podcast.” Thei … [Read more...]