April 27, 2017

When Bill Nye became the co-chair of the March for Science it brought on controversy due to his being a white male. That is really a shame. The real controversy should have been over the fact that Nye is not a scientist. He’s an entertainer with one earned degree, a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He tries to act like a scientist, but often fails miserably to pull it off. As a scholar, I am used to non-academics butchering terms. I... Read more

April 8, 2017

The long awaited book “The Benedict Option” book is finally out and I am looking forward to reading it. When I do, I plan to perform a solid review of it. Although, I have not read the book, I have read some of the commentaries on it and Dreher’s discussion of the Benedict Option. Therefore, I want to react to some of the ideas floating around about the book. Some argue that Dreher is advocating that Christians surrender all political... Read more

August 31, 2016

To say that this has been a difficult political year for most people is an understatement. I honestly think that both Democrats and Republicans elected the worst person they possibly could to run for president. But here we have it: Clinton versus Trump. In some ways this odd election has forced me to consider my own political allegiances, or lack thereof. You see, I am a political independent – sometimes voting Democrat and sometimes voting Republican. And this election has... Read more

April 29, 2016

This is the fourth blog in a series of posts about Critical Realism and research methods. Please register for my upcoming webinar on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 12 noon EDT. You can access the first, second, & third blogs here. As part of my interest in using critical realism to teach sociological research methods, I drafted the following syllabus ideas. Although I haven’t yet taught this class, I’m sharing it with others who may be looking for ways to adapt... Read more

April 28, 2016

As I have stated in an earlier post, I will from time to time put on of my Stream op-eds here. I do not answer comments at the Stream but do sometimes answer my comments here. However all comments need to conform to my policy. Hope you enjoy the post. I bow to nobody as a protector of religious freedom and a critic of Christianophobia in our society. But I have done so with two caveats. First, I do not... Read more

April 18, 2016

This is the third of three blogs in which I list 23 readings we could use to teach about the methodological implications of CR. Don’t forget to register for my webinar in CR & Research Methods on May 3, 2016, at 12 noon EDT (you can see the recording even if you can’t be there live). And click here to see the first blog in this series. Click here to see the second blog in this series. And click here to see the fourth. ... Read more

April 17, 2016

In preparation for my upcoming webinar on CR & Research Methods on May 3, 2016, at 12 noon EDT, I wrote a recent blog post about my five favorite books on showing why critical realism matters for social science research. This post is about my five favorite articles that explicitly use critical realism as a meta-theoretical framework. The third blog in this series is about incorporating critical realism into research methods classes. And the fourth is a syllabus that shows how these readings can... Read more

April 16, 2016

As part of an upcoming webinar on Critical Realism and Sociological Research Methods that I’m leading on May 3, 2016 at 12 noon, this is the first of 3 blogs with some resources on how critical realism can influence social science research methods (click here for blog #2 on CR & Methods, click here for blog #3 on CR & Methods, and click here for blog #4 on CR & Methods). Although I’m a sociologist, I’ve included books from other disciplines as... Read more

April 13, 2016

On April 28, 2016, at 12 Noon EDT, I’ll be giving a free webinar on Critical Realism and Sociological Research Methods. Every good researcher is to some extent a good theoretician. Yet, typical approaches to teaching and writing about sociological research methods emphasize data collection techniques, often to the detriment of exploring the ontological assumptions made in any research project. Critical realism consistently points to the epistemological implications of implicit ontological commitments in sociological research. Recently, critical realist scholars have... Read more

April 1, 2016

How do people seek the sacred? For a recent project, I interviewed 26 young adults in 10 different states about hardships they had faced. I asked how those hardships influenced their close relationships and their beliefs in God. I was surprised by how many spiritual experiences I heard about that were outside of traditional religious practices. Even people who weren’t sure they believed in God, who had stopped going to church, or who had never attended church, talked about feeling a presence... Read more

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