October 24, 2023

My two sabbatical book projects have, without my explicitly planning it, turned out to be in rhythms that compliment each other well. The first draft of my teaching memoir is in the hands of two trusted colleague friends, probabably for the next two or three week at the very least. My attention has turned to my other book project, one that I have mentioned less often on this blog. Tentatively titled The Freelance Christian’s Guide to the Liturgical Year, this book... Read more

October 22, 2023

Last weekend Jeanne and I made a quick trip to Minneapolis to attend the annual Evolving Faith conference—their first in-person event since 2019. It was a quick event, Friday evening to Saturday evening; the speaker lineup was packed with authors and podcasters whom we both have loved for some time, including Nadia Bolz-Weber, Krista Tippett, Amy Kenny, and Sarah Bessey (co-founder of Evolving Faith in 2017 with the late Rachel Held Evans). All of the above were excellent, but one... Read more

October 19, 2023

Today around lunchtime there will be a reception on campus celebrating the tenth anniversary of the dedication of the Ruane Center for the Humanities–the reception will be held in the center’s Great Room, my favorite spot on campus. I’m on sabbatical and avoiding campus as much as possible, but I’ll be dropping by. It’s my building, after all. At least that’s how I’ve always thought of it. As the director ten years ago of the interdisciplinary, team-tuaght program that this... Read more

October 17, 2023

In our “Faith and Doubt” colloquium last spring, my Dominican priest colleague and I filled the syllabus with authors who have shaped our own perspectives on and continuing lives of faith. Many such authors on my list have made regular appearances in this blog over the past decade; Anne Lamott, Michel de Montaigne, Simone Weil, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Iris Murdoch, and Rachel Held Evans all made important appearances during the semester. My colleague’s influences included several who also are on my... Read more

October 15, 2023

The last text of the Spring 2021 semester–the last Covid-19 affected semester on my campus–in my “Apocalypse” colloquium was Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven. The apocalypse in question is the “Georgia flu,” a fast-spreading virus that kills over 99% of the human population. The story skips nimbly back and forth between the pre-and post-pandemic world; one of the many fascinating features of the novel is tracking how a person’s seemingly benign attitudes and beliefs take on... Read more

October 12, 2023

This summer’s blockbuster movie “Oppenheimer” has caused me to return to matters that used to be front and center in my professional life. Twenty-five years ago my professional writing and research interests were largely focused on the philosophical implications of various interesting and important issues in the sciences, particularly the theory of natural selection in biology and philosophy’s contributions to cognitive science (an interdisciplinary investigation of consciousness and the brain involving biology, neuroscience, physics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and several other... Read more

October 10, 2023

It was just beginning to turn dimly light when I began to wake up. I laid as still as I could in the hope of catching a bit more sleep, knowing that Bovina’s radar is set for any early morning motion that might indicate it’s time for her walk. Then I heard something entirely unexpected. Woman 1: So in contrast to all of that statistical language, a word that seems to have felt so true to you early on is... Read more

October 7, 2023

The Ten Commandments from the book of Exodus is the lectionary reading from the Jewish scriptures tomorrow morning which, oddly enough, gets me to thinking about one of the most important Protestant theologians of the 20th century. Walter Rauschenbusch was an important voicee in the social gospel movement of the early 20th century, a movement within Protestantism that applied Christian ethics to social problems, particularly issues of social justice such as economic inequality, poverty, alcoholism, crime, racial tensions, unclean environment,... Read more

October 5, 2023

For most sports fans, this time of year is exciting. The baseball playoffs just started, the NFL season is only four weeks old . . . there are wall-to-wall opportunities to binge watch just about every day of the week. Not for me this fall, though. My beloved Red Sox missed the playoffs by finishing last in their division for the third time in four years, and my almost-as-beloved Patriots have started the season 1-3, including being blown out in... Read more

October 3, 2023

Today is the third day of October, and that’s a very good thing. I took Bovina for a walk on campus just before sunrise and was reminded of why I love this time of year. It felt like fall, no one was around (except lots of squirrels), and I was reminded of the many reasons why utumn is my favorite season and, for any number of reasons, October is my favorite month. This goes well beyond the beauty of autumn... Read more

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