Labor & Leisure

Labor Day heralds the end of summer vocations.  Now the Fall begins and it’s back to work.  For students and teachers like me, it has always meant getting serious again and going back to the classrooms for another school year.

This year, for me, the holiday is hitting me in a completely different way since I am retiring.  All summer I have been madly busy finishing up my job, so Labor Day is heralding the beginning of my not laboring, at least in the same way I have all of my life. [Read more…]

Sanctified by marriage and children

Rev. Bruce Timm reflects on how his wife and children have made him a better person.  That is, how they have contributed to his sanctification by acting as “law” in his life.  His thoughts are about the vocations of marriage and parenthood, but they have wider implications for how the Law functions within vocation and how God uses our multiple callings to form us according to His will. [Read more…]

Vocation and dissidence

“You do not become a ‘dissident’ just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances….It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.”  Vaclav Havel

Quoted by Matthew H. Young, Lessons in Revolution from the Republic of Professors | First Things. [Read more…]

Who really played the music

If you grew up in the 1960’s or 1970’s, if you love the music of that time, and if you listen to the oldies stations to this very day, you have got to see the documentary  The Wrecking Crew.  (Shot back in 2008 but just released this year, the film is available for instant view on Netflix.)

It turns out that a single group of studio musicians known as “the Wrecking Crew” played on virtually all of the hit records that came out of California during that time period.  It didn’t matter whose name was on the record or what the style of music was–rock ‘n’ roll, surf, soul, pop, jazz, standards, ad jingles, movie scores, TV themes, or whatever–these musicians were playing it. [Read more…]

Jesus walking on the water

We had a great sermon last Sunday on Jesus walking on the water (Mark 6:45-56), bringing in the ups and downs of the spiritual life, Christ’s presence in the ordinary, vocation, the Word, law, gospel. . . . [Read more…]

The World Beyond Your Head

Matthew Crawford, a philosopher who has found wisdom in being a motorcycle mechanic, is the author of an excellent book on vocation entitled Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.  He now has another book that shows how the Enlightenment has given us a very distorted view of the self, one which insulates the inner mind from outside reality.  The new book has the felicitous title  The World Beyond Your Head.

After the jump, I excerpt and link to an extremely thoughtful and perceptive review of the book, one that interacts with Crawford’s ideas with great learning and insight.  I was stunned to see that the reviewer is Gracy Olmstead, a recent student of mine!  I can see Patrick Henry College’s classical liberal arts curriculum underlying her essay, as she draws on the “great books” that we have read and takes part in the “great conversation” of the history of ideas.  Note too the depth of her thinking and how she compares to other recent graduates that you might have encountered.  Sorry–I’m just proud of her, that’s all. [Read more…]


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