Why I Teach (With Help From Parker Palmer)

I’m back in the teaching game after a sabbatical. In some ways, it’s hard to gear up–I was getting used to a leisurely life of research, writing, and coffee drinking. But in many other ways, it’s good to be back. It’s certainly caused me to reflect a bit on the teaching craft–and why I do [Read More...]

“Holy Innocents” and the Birth of Jesus

Jesus was born into a world of violence. A world where demented people kill innocent children. It’s right there in the infancy narrative of the first gospel (in the order in your Bibles). It’s easy to miss, because we don’t often focus on it in our telling of the Christmas story–understandably so. Matthew 2:16-18 tells [Read More...]

Unspeakable Things

My heart is heavy and my prayers go out to those touched by the horrific events of today. Earlier today, I posted a bibliography of sources related to “perspectives on evil and suffering.” Then I learned about the tragedy in Connecticut. As one headline accurately read, “there are no words.” These are unspeakable things. The [Read More...]

Evil and Suffering: A Select Bibliography

This next quarter, I will be teaching one of my favorite courses: Perspectives on Evil and Suffering.  Here is a select bibliography that I will be offering to my students. These essays and books do not constitute, necessarily, the best on the topic, but the entire list is meant to provide a range of perspectives on a variety [Read More...]

Get a Free Book! (The Holy Nomad)

Not too long ago I participated in a Patheos book club discussion of The Holy Nomad, by Matt Litton. In my reflection, I noted that Litton’s book, in which he jolts us to find a little more joy for the journey, reminded me of the quest approach to the Christian faith: To me, that’s a natural (or [Read More...]

Got a Ph.D. in Theology? Go Work for a Church

What to do with all these worthless Ph.D.’s in the humanities? The Chronicle of Higher Ed relays a speech given by Michael F. Bérubé to the Council of Graduate School, called “The Future of Graduate Education in the Humanities.” He offers up, in the words of the article’s title, a “sobering critique” of the state of the [Read More...]

Parachurch Craziness: Freedom at Tufts and Equality in Louisville

My Facebook feed is a-twitter with exclamations about the recent decision at Tufts University to allow an on-campus Christian group (Tufts Christian Fellowship) to “discriminate,” so to speak, in selecting its leaders. Back in October, Tufts’ Community Union Judiciary had implemented an “all comers” policy, which stated that any university-sponsored campus group could not discriminate, [Read More...]

Advent Shock: Jesus, the Crucified Peoples

Advent season formally begins this Sunday. I love this period of intentional reflection on the meanings of the “coming of God,” in Jesus of Nazareth. The incarnation. Emmanuel–God with us! Theologian Letty Russell wrote of “advent shock,” a poignant phrase that suggests that the current state of history and the “way things are” is being [Read More...]

Black Friday, Good Friday, and the Eucharist: Being Consumed, Part II

Black Friday is receding into Thanksgiving. A U.S. News articlereports that Wal-Mart, Sears and Toys-R-Us will have flung wide their gates at 8 pm on Thursday. Target is exercising remarkable restraint, waiting an hour later to begin the madness. I’ve been reflecting on this phenomenon in the context of reading William Cavanaugh’s Being Consumed, where he [Read More...]

A Thanksgiving Prayer from Kierkegaard

“Father in heaven! You hold all the good gifts in your gentle hand. Your abundance is richer than can be grasped by human understanding. You are very willing to give, and your goodness is beyond the understanding of a human heart, because you fulfill every prayer and give what we pray for or what is [Read More...]