The Origin of Knowing & Doing

As I left Pittsburgh the other day, I decided to leave slowly, lingering through some of its neighborhoods on my way back to Virginia– so I got off the parkway, and drove through Oakland one more time, stopping near the Cathedral of Learning. For several years I worked and studied here, entering into the PhD years [Read More…]

Our Moral Responsibility to Pay Attention

Pay attention. I have been teaching for a long time, and I confess that while I am always hoping that my words find a home in astudent’s heart, I never know. As the rabbi Jesus said at the beginning of his teaching, “If you have ears to hear, then hear.” That is as deep a wisdom [Read More…]

When Peacemaking is Unpopular

Commonwealth is an unusual word in the modern world. Still used in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Massachusetts for the word “state,” it is a way of seeing life together, a political community founded for the common good. I thought of this a while back while listening to an Israeli, a Palestinian and a Jordanian, each one committed [Read More…]

Scrooge’s Question to Us

“If these shadows remain unaltered by the future….” Of all the scenes in A Christmas Carol, the visit of Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present with the Cratchit family, is perhaps the tenderest. It is, after all, where we hear Tiny Tim say, inimitably, “God bless us, everyone!” So very human, full of hopes and heartaches [Read More…]

Who Are We, Anyway?

“What are the Japanese peasants looking for in me? These people who live and work and die like beasts find for the first time in our teaching a path in which they can cast away the fetters that bind them…. for a long time they have lived in resignation to such a fate.” The Washington [Read More…]

Mad Men and Reality

Falling, falling, falling…. and finally, he fell. When the clock struck 9:30 pm or so, with our bowl of popcorn between us, we spent many evenings looking in on the strangely sad life of “Mad Men,” the storied series about Donald Draper and his fellows, men and women who populated the advertising world of Madison [Read More…]

M&M’s and Moral Capitalism

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Consumerism Gone Wild. Read other perspectives here. Can business ever be just about business? or politics just about politics? or the arts just about the arts? or education just about education? The wisest wisdom has always said no. Life is too complex, for [Read More…]

Conversations with Consequences

Conversations with consequences. A few weeks ago I was staying up on Lookout Mountain, a rangy ridge that runs through the southeast, bordering Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. For fifty years the northern tip, looking over Chattanooga, has been the home to Covenant College, a liberal arts school brought into being by Presbyterians, Scottish Calvinists with a [Read More…]


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