Valentine’s Day and Fifty Shades of Love

Author’s note: The movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” has been strongly critiqued for its portrayal of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. This should be duly noted. See for example the review in Relevant Magazine. In no way do I wish to endorse such abuse, but am referencing the movie as an illustration of our culture’s obsession with various novel notions of love and romance. Movie theaters and retailers of various kinds are cashing in on people’s fascination with the film Fifty… Read more

Lincoln’s Birthday, Black History and Church Growth

Today is President Lincoln’s 206th birthday. One of Lincoln’s greatest achievements was the Emancipation Proclamation. Although Lincoln is hailed as one of the United States’ greatest Presidents, there were (are) many who viewed Lincoln as an enemy of state rights, especially in the South. The debate continues in certain circles on the real reason for the Civil War: slavery, state rights…? The purpose of this post is not to engage this debate, but to extend the discussion analogically to church… Read more

Interstellar, Space-Time and Jesus

Beware of spoilers and black holes! Space and time are not absolute, as Galileo and Newton claimed. They are “personal” and intimately connected, as Einstein argued, according to Kip Thorne, the astrophysicist behind the movie Interstellar. Our time flows at different rates, according to Thorne (See his interview titled “What Is Space-Time?”). The movie Interstellar draws on Einstein’s insight that time passes more slowly when the gravitational pull is stronger. See the following article: “The Science of ‘Interstellar’ Explained.”  An… Read more

“Blessed are the merciful”—not those who look out for number 1

The Beatitudes are filled with paradoxes. For example, the kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit, not those with spiritual bravado. The meek will inherit the earth, not those who are easily provoked. Following these and other beatitudes, Jesus goes on to say, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7; ESV). John Calvin writes of this beatitude: Happy are the merciful[:] This paradox, too, contradicts the judgment of men. [367] The world reckons those men to… Read more

Sea Otters, Trophic Cascades, and Gentrification

John Muir claimed, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”[1] I find evidence for Muir’s statement in what is called a “trophic cascade.” What is a trophic cascade? Encyclopædia Britannica defines a “trophic cascade” as follows: a “trophic cascade” is “an ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and” involves “reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predator and prey through a food chain,… Read more

Sitting Bull and Food Inequity in America Today

Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux Chief Tatanka-Iyotanka—“Sitting Bull” (1831-1890)— was reported as saying, “The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it.” Toward the end of his life, the great chief joined the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show. During his brief tenure with the show, he often commented on the state of poor white children. It is said of Sitting Bull that while poor, “he saves nothing of what he earns. He is… Read more

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”—not those who crave fast food justice

Much of what passes for fast food never really satisfies. It leaves a hunger hole where one craves more. According to an article published in the Daily Mail, Research shows that unhealthy fats found in dairy products, burgers and milk shakes quickly make their way to the brain, where they shut off the alarm system that tells us when we’ve had enough to eat. As a result our hunger is not satisfied, and we eat more and more. The effect… Read more

“Food Fight—A Civil Dialogue over Our Daily Bread”

Have you ever witnessed or participated in a food fight? Whether one is referring to a fun food fight (like the scene in the movie Hook), or to a contentious battle over food in politics and business, all too often a food fight leaves a great big mess.[1] Hopefully, the upcoming conference titled “Food Fight—A Civil Dialogue over Our Daily Bread” will help clean up a few messes in our thinking and practices regarding the quality, cost, preparation, distribution, and… Read more

“Blessed are the meek”—not those who are easily provoked

Alert: This post may contain spoilers of the movie, Selma. The biblical content referenced here may also spoil our desire to rule over others. Those who take themselves too seriously are easily slighted; they are not meek. Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5; ESV). The meek are not easily provoked. Following on from the preceding beatitudes in Matthew 5, those who are poor in spirit mourn their sinful, fragile, and broken state;… Read more

Trinity Academy: A Prophetic Complement to Public School Education

This blog post is part of a series of entries on education in contemporary society. Education is essential to human formation and flourishing. So, too, are mentorship and friendship. In fact, the best kind of education includes mentorship and friendship in various ways. In view of such education, human society forms and flourishes best. Trinity Academy in Northeast Portland seeks to embody these qualities in its approach to education. Trinity is a classical Christian middle and high school open to people… Read more