Put up your tree and look to the future

I rolled out of bed this morning (but not before checking Facebook on my phone with one eye open to make sure no one was being stupid) and I made myself a hot cup of caffeine-free honeybush pumpkin tea of the loose leaf variety. I sat myself down in my papasan chair and opened my [Read More…]

Anabaptist Politics in 21st Century USA – Sermon from 11/6/2016

I am grateful to Emmaus Road Mennonite Fellowship in Berne, IN for asking me to deliver a message the Sunday before Election Day 2016. This is the first sermon I’ve ever written or delivered. There is more where this came from, but I wanted to keep it to about 20 minutes. Some have asked that I [Read More…]

The Prison Sentence of the American Student

I think, when students complain of having to be in school, as if it’s a prison sentence (which it is), it will be good to remind them that this was written from a jail cell. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we [Read More…]

Tom Bombadil in the Science Classroom

I am a substitute teacher. It’s not what I envisioned as my teaching career when I was a teenager and it’s not what I had in mind when I was in undergrad, but colleges don’t tell you that their education departments are filled with paper pushing, data mining, pseudo-academics who couldn’t outwit a Vogon; and I’ll [Read More…]

Some Thoughts on Trump vs. Clinton from an Anabaptist-Mennonite Perspective

Last night I went to a talk by Dr. Mads Gilbert, an anesthesiologist who did volunteer medical work during the 2014 attack on Gaza by Israel. He also volunteered his medical services during the attacks in 2006, 2008, and 2012. It was a graphic presentation. He showed us private photographs of dead and wounded Palestinian [Read More…]

A Culture in the Dark: MacIntyre and Hayek’s Brave New World

Last week my pastor Anita asked me to write a sermon about bridging the gap between liberals and conservatives. It’s scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6th. I’m shooting for 15 minutes. I’m not sure what shape it’s going to take, but to prep I’ve been re-reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, as well as listening to some philosophy podcasts, and it’s such [Read More…]

Donald Trump and the mysticism of money

One of the Republican nominee’s more recent affronts to conventional politics was his statement in an interview that the United States should only honor its treaty obligations to Nato if it is in American interests to do so, and if Americans are properly “remunerated” for their trouble. Treaties, Trump says, are “deals.” This, of course, evokes [Read More…]

Preaching to the choir?

If my last post betrayed a certain frustration with this year’s experience at Acton U, it’s because I felt this year more strongly than last that many of the speakers were largely preaching to the choir while presenting their ideas as if they were new and surprising. I noticed it more strongly this year because, having [Read More…]

Acton 2016: continuing my economic education

One of the reasons I attend Acton U is to improve my highly sketchy understanding of economics. I bear in mind that the folks at Acton don’t represent all economists by any means, but they claim that their positions are rooted in sound economics, and to understand (and either accept or refute them) these positions [Read More…]

Maritain vs. MacIntyre

On Wednesday morning, my first session was a lecture on two important Catholic philosophers: Jacques Maritain and Alastair MacIntyre. Both were former Communists who adopted a philosophical position deeply influenced by Aquinas. Both have been very influential in Catholic circles. Yet they are very different figures. The speaker, Carrie Gress, described Maritain’s approach as the [Read More…]