Keeping and remembering everything

In a discussion of memory, the internet, and our impulse to document every moment of our lives (are we really going to look back at all of the photographs on our cell phones?), novelist Dara Horn tells about a medieval synagogue that, in its refusal to throw away any mention of the Name of God, kept everything its members wrote down for 900 years. [Read more…]

“So what’s your name and preferred gender pronoun?”

According to a new code of etiquette, it’s not enough to ask someone’s name.  You also need to ask, “what’s your PGP?”  That is, your “preferred gender pronoun.”  The choices may be “he” or “she” or “they” or the newly-coined “ze.” [Read more…]

The contemporary theologian we need?

Oswald Bayer,  emeritus professor of theology at the University of Tübingen, is a widely-respected thinker who engages with contemporary thought on a very sophisticated level.  As we’ve blogged, he is sometimes associated with the Radical Orthodox movement and he is considered a rather cutting-edged theologian.  But his emphasis is the Gospel and the Word of God. [Read more…]

Birds as Bloggers

Researchers often tag birds and other animals so that their movements and activities can be traced and studied.  A website entitled Blogging Birds takes data about kites (a kind of hawk) in Scotland and applies language algorithms, translating it all into a narrative of the bird’s day. [Read more…]

The Lutheran roots of Radical Orthodoxy

Not long ago we posted about the theological and philosophical movement known as Radical Orthodoxy, asking whether Lutherans could have a seat at that table.  Well, in another context, my friend George Strieter put me on to Johann Georg Hamann, a devout Lutheran who was friends with Kant and Hegel but who critiqued their philosophies with some extremely innovative philosophy of his own.   It turns out, Hamann’s thought is said to be a major influence on ” Oswald Bayer, John Milbank and David Bentley Hart.”  The latter two are the most prominent figures in Radical Orthodoxy.  And that Oswald Bayer , perhaps the favorite contemporary German theologian at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, is mentioned here puts him in the company of the radically orthodox. [Read more…]

A word-based management style

Nervous Washington Post employees are wondering what life will be like under their new boss, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com.  So some of the newspaper’s reporters did a bit of investigative journalism on what Bezos is like to work for.  The article is worth reading for his exploration of the distinctive management style of the man Warren Buffett calls “the ablest CEO in America.”

After discussing such things as Bezos’ long-term thinking, his willingness to experiment, his disdain for bureaucracy, his demand for efficiency, and his high standards for performance (which allow for productive failures), reporters Craig Timberg and Jia Lynn Yang tell about this ultimate book-seller’s  belief in the “power of words.”

They warm the cockles of this English professor’s heart when they describe how Bezos doesn’t allow PowerPoint, thinking the bullet-point approach leads to simplistic thinking, making his workers write papers instead, since the very act of writing forces them to focus their thinking and to explore their ideas. [Read more…]


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