Do I Really Hate Donald Trump?

Flannery O’Connor once wrote that “the human being is always something under construction.” I am frequently reminded of just how true this is, even for someone who has been under construction for more than six decades. My most recent reminder happened two days ago. As I watched the fifth episode of Ken Burns’ documentary “The Vietnam War” on PBS, I was also scrolling down my Facebook wall to see if there was anything interesting there (I don’t mind multitasking on… Read more

Flesh and Blood

What is bothering me incessantly is the question of what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience—and that means the time of religion in general. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters from Prison One day a couple of springs ago, I spent a day as an outside reviewer for the Liberal… Read more

Chasing the Fog

What we call doubt is often simply dullness of mind and spirit, not the absence of faith at all, but faith latent in the lives we are not quite living, God dormant in the world to which we are not quite giving our best selves.  Christopher Wiman The other day while at the grocery store I was surveying the vast array of Keurig coffee possibilities on display. Among the offerings was something from a San Francisco based company called “Fog… Read more

Mary and Martha Go on Sabbatical

The stereotype of the Type A personality has become an entrenched part of cultural lore. Originally described by two cardiologists in the 1950s as the type of person who is most likely to experience cardiac arrest, Type As are familiar to everyone. Competitive, short-fused, action oriented, no nonsense, humorless, deadline driven, boundless in energy—these are people who not only don’t stop to smell the roses, but tend not even to notice the existence of the roses as they plow through… Read more

What I Want, When I Want It

I was born into a world in which preference-expression was a highly evolved art form with the most important stakes imaginable. This high-stakes art form is called prayer. It has always been a mystery to me. I have always claimed that a college professor’s teaching and research should feed each other and have tried to live that out, with occasional success. That teaching and research can be mutually supporting is a challenging enough idea for many academics. But supposing that the… Read more

Soul and Body

This semester I have the privilege of teaching Philosophy of Knowledge, a favorite course that for various reasons I have not had the opportunity to teach for several years. Last week we began studying Plato, perhaps the greatest philosopher in the Western tradition. Alfred North Whitehead famously suggested that the Western tradition in philosophy “consists of a series of footnotes to Plato”–this is nowhere more true than with Plato’s understanding of the human person. Indeed, Plato’s model of human nature not… Read more

Tired of Hating People: Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9/11

One year ago I posted the essay below on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. Never forget. Everyone beyond a certain age can remember clearly what they were doing fifteen years ago tomorrow when they heard the news. I was in my college’s main cafeteria getting coffee and noticed something weird happening on the Today Show broadcast on a television hanging from the ceiling in the corner. At that point all they knew was that one of the Twin Towers was on fire,… Read more

All Things Shall Be Well?

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. I don’t know when I first heard this well-known saying; it regularly pops up in various places. A teaching colleague commented on it in her lecture a few semesters ago on Julian of Norwich, the medieval Christian mystic to whom the saying is attributed. T. S. Eliot includes it in “Little Gidding,” the last poem in Four Quartets. My friend Marsue says “all… Read more

When the Well Runs Dry

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12 In his collection of essays Breakfast at the Victory, James Carse writes about the spiritual lessons he learned when the water at his family’s rural New England cabin started tasting funny one summer. It turned out that the wooden cover over the cabin’s well had collapsed under the weight of a deer or a bear, and was polluting the water that fed the well. Carse’s essay explores, with some… Read more

We Are Not Alone

In last Sunday’s gospel reading, Jesus tells us that those who wish to follow him should be prepared to “take up their cross.” In other words, those who follow Jesus can expect darkness, suffering, and pain to be part of the journey. In his homily, my friend and our rector Mitch made reference to the destruction of large parts of Coventry, England during a Nazi air raid in World War II; the destruction included Coventry’s centuries-old cathedral. I used the… Read more

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