August 8, 2020

The Sunday gospel readings this summer have recently provided us with some of Jesus’ greatest hits. Last Sunday’s reading was Matthew’s account of the feeding of the five thousand, the only pre-resurrection miracle that is recorded in all four of the canonical gospels. This week’s miracle on tap is Jesus walking on the water, an event that arguably ranks equally in fame with last week’s feeding as among Jesus’ best-known miracles, although Luke doesn’t bother to include the walking on… Read more

August 6, 2020

Classes start on my college campus three weeks from this coming Monday. Let’s just say that things are up in the air at my college, as they are in various ways at all institutions of higher learning across the country. On a daily basis we get updated information about how many students are returning to campus and how many will be taking their classes remotely, how many professors are choosing to teach their classes remotely, as well as who will… Read more

August 4, 2020

Summer is a time for catching up on my non-philosophy reading and finding new authors. I’m a great lover of mysteries; this summer, my new find is Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mystery series. Set in the Norfolk area of England, the series focuses on Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist who lectures at the local university, and Harry Nelson, a DCI in the local police force. Griffiths is a fine writer, high on atmosphere and character development, relatively restrained when it… Read more

August 2, 2020

My youngest son was always the inquisitive sort, the kind of kid who, from the moment he began to speak, fashioned most of his communication into questions starting with the word “Why?” The setting for one of his favorite stories is the beat-up car I was driving when he was little; I was running errands and his three-or-four-year-old self was strapped into the car seat next to me on the passenger’s side facing the front. This was, as my good… Read more

July 30, 2020

One of the few bright spots during the past months of COVID-19 seclusion and insanity has been observing how non-human nature has continued its usual course through spring and summer, either blissfully ignorant of what we humans are going through or intentionally celebrating a few months free from human interference and damage. So, it was jarring when a college administrator sent an email to the college community a week or so ago indicating that, among the thirteen trees on campus… Read more

July 28, 2020

By now, most everyone is aware of how proud Donald Trump is of passing a cognitive awareness test. If you are not aware, you are perhaps one of those astonishingly wise people who, on principle, has chosen not to watch television or pay attention to media during the pandemic. In case you missed it, here—in the president’s own words—is what he had to say about the test and why he is so proud of himself. Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV…. Read more

July 26, 2020

I am currently working my way through Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s brand new book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. It’s a scholarly account of how white evangelical Christians not only supported, but continues to support the least Christian president in American history. The author investigates this phenomenon, not as a “one off” aberration, but rather as the culmination of many decades of repackaging and reinventing the Christian gospel, successfully fusing it… Read more

July 23, 2020

When we first moved to Rhode Island in the middle 1990s for my new teaching position at Providence College, Jeanne landed a position as the office manager in the Admissions office at PC. She bonded with her boss, the Director of Admissions immediately. This was not surprising, since Bill was a New Yorker through and through just as Jeanne is. Bill had little tolerance for inefficiency or indirectness. One of Jeanne’s favorite Bill quotes: “If I ask you what time… Read more

July 21, 2020

Last Wednesday, after three delays (one our fault, two their fault), our house got a new hat. We have known for a couple of years that our roof needed to be replaced. We bought the house 24 years ago; the roof had been replaced the year before we purchased the house, so this was a first-time experience for us. Upon hearing about the event, a friend posted on Facebook that getting a new roof is like getting new tires on… Read more

July 19, 2020

How is your optimism doing these days? I am an optimist by nature, not inclined to worrying, and unlikely to stress unnecessarily over things I can’t control. But even for people such as I, it’s becoming more and more difficult to sustain optimism in these challenging times. COVID-19, Donald Trump (what if he gets re-elected?), people for whom wearing a mask is too inconvenient to consider, global warming, white evangelical Christians, having no idea how I will be delivering my… Read more

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