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…]

Three Words We Should Care More About

Cult. Cultivate. Culture. About a month ago in Bratislava, Slovakia, at the conference, “Visions for the Marketplace,” in one lecture I talked about these three words. They are not only etymologically connected, but philosophically too. They define each other, each in their own ways growing out of the other. They push-and-shove each other, moving back-and-forth on [Read More…]

A Conversation with a Stranger and Common Grace

“It was such a dark time.” A couple weeks ago I was on a train from Prague to Bratislava, from the Czech Republic to Slovakia, which for most of the 20th-century were one nation, Czechoslovakia. Surrounded by countries we know— Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, the Ukraine —these peoples have fought for their identity over centuries. On [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…]

The Way the World’s Supposed to Be

The way the world’s supposed to be. Is there a world like that? Do we know? How would we? What does it mean? These are the greatest questions of life, and ones that we answer very differently, given our deepest commitments about the meaning of life, our beliefs about God, the human condition, and history. [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…]

Far as the Curse is Found

All of us have antennae. We watch for things, hoping that what we see and hear is more truthful than not. And when we sense that something is being said that is not quite true, we cringe; we may even cry out in dismay or disgust. I am that way about Christmas. While I love [Read More…]


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