July 29, 2021

During Tuesday’s initial hearing of the Congressional select committee tasked with investigating the January 6th insurrection, Capitol police officer Harry Dunn described in detail the racial epithets that members of the mob hurled at him and other Black officers that day. “Is this America?” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal) asked him. Dunn replied The fact that we had our race attacked and just because of the way we look, you know … To answer your question, frankly, I guess it is… Read more

July 27, 2021

After getting sucked into an discussion on Twitter a few days ago in which it was clear that most of the participants did not know the difference between communism, socialism, fascism, oligarchy, tyranny, democracy, and a hole in the ground, I was reminded of the importance of being informed about a topic before jumping into a discussion about it. I also was reminded that I will be spending some time with Karl Marx and a bunch of Honors sophomores this… Read more

July 24, 2021

The summer Sunday gospel readings annually are full of Jesus’ greatest hits–this year is no exception. This Sunday’s reading contains John’s account of two of Jesus’ most notable miracles–feeding the five thousand and walking on water. The feeding of the five thousand is the only pre-resurrection miracle that is recorded in all four of the canonical gospels; Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee is in all of the gospels except Luke (maybe Luke wasn’t there?). What makes the walking… Read more

July 22, 2021

Who gets to call themselves “Christian”? A few months ago on this blog, I suggested that Christianity might be thought of as a large circus tent, within which dozens of various groups stake out various areas, fortify these areas with doctrines of exclusivity, then claim that only those within those narrow boundaries are real Christians. Living On the Edges of the Christian Circus Tent I ran into this phenomenon just the other day. In the middle of a mostly unfruitful… Read more

July 20, 2021

In “Slander,” from her latest collection of essays, What Are We Doing Here?, Marilynne Robinson writes that when she applied for the faculty position at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa where she spent her teaching career until her retirement in 2016, the job description said that candidates should be able to teach the Bible as literature. And so she did—something that I also have the privilege of doing as a professor at Providence College. She notes, though,… Read more

July 18, 2021

 I have the privilege of giving the sermone at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pawtuxet, RI this morning. Here’s what I will say. If you are able, everyone stand up! Really—good to get a bit of exercise at the beginning of a sermon! If you suspect or know for sure that you are an extrovert, sit down. Now, if you suspect or know that you are an introvert, sit down. Those of you still standing are part of the balanced few…. Read more

July 16, 2021

I don’t often post an essay on this blog that has no discernable connection to either philosophy or the life of faith. Today’s essay is an exception. Every once in a while, I find myself compelled to weigh in on a pressing contemporary social/political issue–this is one of those times. As you’ll read, there’s a personal connection here. I also believe that there are plenty of philosophy and faith connections to be made; I’ll leave it to you to let… Read more

July 14, 2021

One of the many positive things that happened to me during the months of pandemic shutdown was discovering podcasts. I began listening to them as I rode my bike in the basement during the winter months when I couldn’t ride outside–I now have at least twenty podcasts in my Spotify “favorites.” One of the best is a podcast called “Renegades,” a series of seven or eight hour-long conversations between Barack Obama and Bruce Stringsteen. In one of the episodes, Springsteen… Read more

July 12, 2021

Some have entertained angels unawares Hebrews 11:2 I’ve never known what to make of angels. I was bombarded with stories involving them as a youngster, from the angel chasing Adam and Eve out of Eden, to the one who wrestles with Jacob, to the one who brings bizarre news to Zechariah and Mary and the one who sits having a morning coffee on top of the stone that’s been rolled away from the empty tomb on Easter morning. But my favorite… Read more

July 10, 2021

In a recent episode of “The Chosen,” a multi-year cinematic treatment of the life of Jesus that is almost finished with its second season, Jesus has a private conversation with his relative John the Baptist (known to Jesus’ disciples as “Creepy John”). They clearly have known each other since they were boys; they not only are friends, but also have a strong sense of each other’s calling. John, appropriately scraggly as one would expect a guy who eats locusts and… Read more

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