November 15, 2018

The stereotype of the Type A personality has become an entrenched part of cultural lore. Originally described by two cardiologists in the 1950s as the type of person who is most likely to experience cardiac arrest, Type As are familiar to everyone. Competitive, short-fused, action oriented, no nonsense, humorless, deadline driven, boundless in energy—these are people who not only don’t stop to smell the roses, but tend not even to notice the existence of the roses as they plow through… Read more

November 13, 2018

One of my favorite features of liturgical worship is encountering familiar and favorite texts during the lectionary cycle. One recent Sunday, for instance, I read as lector from Proverbs, a selection that included the verses that I used to dedicate my first published book to my mother: “She opens her mouth with wisdom . . . her children rise up and call her blessed.” The assigned Psalm last Sunday was Psalm 127, which includes the passage I used when dedicating my second book… Read more

November 11, 2018

I began Election Day last Tuesday at the gym, riding the stationary bike for an hour. The only way I can get through the tedium of working out on an aerobic machine is to read—last Tuesday, I read the opening pages of Anne Lamott’s newest book, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. I love Anne Lamott’s work—her honesty, fearlessness, humor, and insight always resonate deeply. The best comment anyone ever made about my writing was that my blog reminded him of… Read more

November 9, 2018

Thanks to the caravan of refugees moving north, President Trump’s choice to stoke up fears about their impending “invasion” in the days before Tuesday’s midterm elections, and the results of those elections, “Who is my neighbor?” continues to be on my mind as it has been for my last two posts. Just to be clear–any apparent political agenda accompanying what I say below is simply an unintended (but real) result of my understanding of my commitment to my Christian faith…. Read more

November 6, 2018

If everybody is your neighbor, then nobody is. Rod Dreher Next semester, a colleague and good friend from the history department and I will be co-teaching an interdisciplinary colloquium for the fourth time in the past six years. The colloquium is “‘Love Never Fails’: Grace, Truth and Freedom in the Nazi Era,” a course that is one of my top two or three favorite courses that I have taught in my three decades in the college classroom. On this midterm… Read more

November 4, 2018

A couple of months ago, Jeanne and I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, the documentary about Fred Rogers that has already become the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all time. We tend to judge the movies we see based on the quality of conversation that we have about it on the way home. My first comment was “If Jesus came back to earth today, he would be Fred Rogers.” There are moral standards, and then there is Mister Rogers. The… Read more

November 2, 2018

Last week, my blog post about what atheists and persons of faith can agree on caused a bit of a stir from both the faith and atheism sides of the spectrum. Most of the pushback came in comments on my blog’s Facebook page, where an evangelical Christian and an atheist got into an argument that, before long, was about as civil and intelligent as your typical argument between a Trump-loving conservative and a progressive liberal. I appreciated that at least… Read more

October 31, 2018

One Sunday, toward the end of a particularly lively and deep seminar with my “Living Stones” adult Christian education group after the morning service, I asked the group “so what makes us think that we are anything special, that Episcopalians have a better angle on God than anyone else? What makes us think that our way is any better than anyone else’s, Christian or otherwise, other than that it is our way?” Very quickly one person replied “it isn’t any better.” And everyone… Read more

October 30, 2018

Tomorrow is Halloween!–one of my least favorite holidays of the year. I know that offends many people, but so be it. Still, the onset of Halloween brings back memories–many of them religion and church related. Maybe that’s why I don’t like the holiday! As a 62-year-old guy with no small children in my life, I don’t do Halloween. Often Jeanne and I celebrate the day by going to a late afternoon movie, followed by dinner, so we can be conveniently away… Read more

October 28, 2018

The first lectionary reading at church the past three Sundays have been from one of my two favorite texts from the Hebrew scriptures—the Book of Job (the Book of Ruth is my other favorite). As a philosophy professor and a person of faith, for me Job is a literary masterpiece, an exquisite and powerful dramatic treatment of the problem of innocent suffering and the larger problem of evil. Earlier this semester, Job was a seminar text in an Honors interdisciplinary,… Read more

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