June 9, 2020

It’s Jeanne’s birthday today! It is my blog custom on her birthday to post a reflection on how we met and how lucky I am. Some of you have read this one–if so, enjoy it again! If not, meet my beautiful partner! Please join me in celebrating my favorite person’s natal day! A staple of my early years was the “Peanuts” comic strip. That doesn’t make me unusual—I don’t recall anyone in my circle of family and friends unaware of… Read more

June 7, 2020

It’s Trinity Sunday. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to explain that very strange Christian doctrine—the one that has caused non-Christians over the centuries to occasionally accuse Christians, who claim to be monotheists, of being polytheists. In my youth, none of the things I was supposed to believe as a budding Christian was more confusing than the Trinity. I was familiar with “3-in-One Oil,” but this seemed different. “Think about an egg,” my Sunday School teacher suggested. “The egg… Read more

June 5, 2020

The building looked like the love child of a logic problem and a crossword puzzle. Richard Powers, Orfeo Summer is the time that I catch up on non-work-related reading. My usual procedure is, first, to find out whether any of my two dozen or so favorite novelists have published anything recently. I’ve met with some success this week (and have accordingly placed some orders on Amazon), but was disappointed to discover that Richard Powers hasn’t published anything new in the… Read more

June 2, 2020

A number of years ago, during a public forum on my campus focused on steps we might take toward addressing the fact that we had a blindingly white student body, faculty, and administration, one of my senior faculty colleagues raised his hand and asked the question that a number of people in the room were probably wondering, but didn’t have the guts to ask: Why do we want to have a diverse campus? Despite its serious violation of all standards of… Read more

June 1, 2020

On Facebook a couple of days ago, I posted this: It’s times like these that help me understand what was going on in Yahweh’s mind when he, on several occasions in the Jewish scriptures, planned to wipe out humanity (or a problematic group of humans) and start over again. I really wish I was in the middle of a semester right now. The confluence of Covid-19, the murder of George Floyd, and the subsequent protests and riots throughout the country… Read more

May 30, 2020

Pentecost celebrates one of the high points in the Christian liturgical calendar, the coming of the Holy Spirt “as a mighty wind,” accompanied by tongues of fire and various miracles, that is commonly referred to as “the birth of the church.” For Christians, it arguably ranks just after Easter and Christmas in terms of historical markers of the divine’s interaction with humanity. But this year, Pentecost is different—as everything else has been different for the past many weeks. When I… Read more

May 27, 2020

I am currently in the middle of reading Sue Monk Kidd’s new novel, The Book of Longings. I purchased it for Jeanne for Mother’s Day, and it was a home run as a gift. Jeanne devoured it in just a few days, regularly commenting on what a great book it is and how much I would love it. The premise of the novel is simple, and might be shocking to the more theologically conservative: What if Jesus was married? The… Read more

May 26, 2020

I recently finished reading Hilary Mantel’s long-awaited The Mirror and the Light, the final entry in a trilogy of novels about Thomas Cromwell, the consigliere and fixer for Henry VIII. Cromwell is the son of a blacksmith, a violent and abusive father whom Cromwell flees as a young teenager. Over many years as a soldier, a merchant, and ultimately a self-made lawyer, Cromwell begins to make his presence known at court through his sharp insights and practical wisdom. Those of… Read more

May 23, 2020

Memorial Day is a day for solemn remembrance, a time that this year must also include collective remembrance of the more than 95,000 fellow Americans who have died of Covid-19. Because of required sequestering and isolation, it has not been possible for there to be proper collective grief and mourning for those who have died—let’s make it a point to remember them as part of our Memorial Day thoughts and prayers. Memorial Day is also a day when many Americans… Read more

May 20, 2020

One of the central units in my General Ethics class is titled “Does ethics have anything do to with God?” Although the question of how a good and powerful God—a “perfect” God, in other words—can allow the suffering, violence, and pain that human beings and other living things are subject to in our world is not a question that fits seamlessly on the syllabus of an ethics class, the question always comes up. It’s difficult to avoid the problem of… Read more

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