November 4, 2019

I’m going out on a limb here—way out. I like time changes. This year Daylight Savings time began on March 10, shifting the clock to provide an extra hour of light in the evening and ended yesterday, with the shift providing an extra hour of light in the morning. I have lived most of my life in the northern latitudes where, once DST ends and we change to standard time, it starts getting dark before 5:00, with nightfall earlier each… Read more

November 3, 2019

“White evangelical Protestants (WEPs) are fully disrobed,” writes Michael Gerson, concluding that “the older generation betrays civilizing values in full sight of its children. Many evangelical leaders now lie drunk, naked and exposed.” He references Noah—no, not the obedient Noah, but the drunken Noah lying exposed in his tent after the familiar part of the story is over, the one whose embarrassed sons cover his naked ass to limit his (and their) shame. Read more

November 1, 2019

Today is “All Saints Day,” followed by “All Souls Day” tomorrow. I come from a hardcore Protestant world, a world in which we did not do “saints.” Even though I have spent much of my adult life, first as a graduate student, then as a professor, in Catholic higher education, I am still somewhat confused by and uncomfortable with the very notion of “sainthood.” I resonate positively with one of the main characters in Albert Camus’ The Plague who, when described as a “saint”… Read more

October 31, 2019

It’s 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 63-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 during… Read more

October 29, 2019

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 27, 2019

Over the past several days, I posted a couple of essays engaging with the atheist side of the atheist/Christian tight rope that I regularly walk on this blog. As usual, these essays attracted a lot of response and comments–all of which I welcome (and struggle to find time to manage during a typical 60-70 hour during-the-semester week that college profs deal with). A person of non-faith, who has been a regular  and perceptive commenter since my blog moved to Patheos… Read more

October 24, 2019

Every once in a while–it seems like about once every six months or so–I post an essay here that attracts a bunch of interested and motivated atheists who read, then comment. A lot. I enjoy conversing with atheists, usually a great deal more than I enjoy conversing with conservative Christians. But I frequently find myself pushing back against their assumptions. It usually takes several exchanges before the atheist realizes that they are conversing with a Christian who does not fit… Read more

October 22, 2019

Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. This, promises the obscure prophet Joel in the Hebrew Scriptures, will be one of the signs that God has “poured out [his] Spirit upon all flesh.” Exactly what I would expect a prophet to say. Unsaid, however, is that in the meantime “your old women, your young women, and your middle-aged men and women will roll up their sleeves and get shit done.” The tension between visionaries… Read more

October 20, 2019

This past week I started a unit in my General Ethics students called “Does God Have Anything To Do With Ethics?” Among other things, I am exposing my predominantly Catholic students to essays by atheists; they will be amazed to find how much they share in common with these folks. One of the texts we will be considering is from a series of interviews published by The New York Times a few years ago on its “Opinionator” blog.  In these interviews Gary… Read more

October 17, 2019

If we remembered that water takes its color from the vessel containing it, we would not interfere with the beliefs of others, but would perceive God in every form of belief.  James Carse Once a number of years ago, in the early days of a four-month sabbatical at an ecumenical institute, I presented an overview of my sabbatical project to my fellow institute resident scholars during our weekly scheduled seminar. In its early stages, my project was an intended exploration… Read more

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