December 1, 2020

When George H.W. Bush died, he was publicly lamented as “the last WASP president,” a Republican committed to decency, in a party (and a world) gone mad. John McCain got much the same treatment when he passed away. The implication, of course, is that the modern Republican Party, especially since the rise of Donald Trump, has become an anti-liberal institution opposed to norms, normalcy, and the politic of civility and respect required a functioning political party. Joe Biden ran against… Read more

November 23, 2020

I find myself in an uneasy situation. I don’t love either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. With asthma and Crohn’s Disease, I see no reason to risk my health by going out more than occasionally, and even then only briefly; at the same time, I feel little anger at those chafing under whatever patchwork of lockdowns and restrictions we have had and will have again soon enough. This seems a deeply human response to me. Still, my family is small… Read more

November 13, 2020

I spent the last couple of weeks preparing for my new podcast (Gerizim—check it out once it’s ready). I found this pursuit interrupted by a stay at the hospital on account of a long-overdue asthma attack. C’est la vie. Even before this, it had been some time since I had written, something for which I hope you reader, if you’re still out there, can forgive me. Fittingly, time in bed surrounded by COVID coughs, reading books on the American Religious… Read more

July 11, 2020

The Hagia Sophia is back in the news—this time because Turkey’s Supreme Court ruled that the church, turned mosque, turned museum, could once again be used as a mosque. This is—ostensibly anyway—a religion blog, or at least one mostly concerned with religion. The takes of the religious though, in my opinion, have missed the significance of this decision. The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed dismay. Many Christians I know see it as a victory for Islam over a beleaguered and… Read more

May 7, 2020

On Wednesday, two customers in an Oklahoma City McDonald’s shot at employees. They were not practicing social distancing properly; those working under the golden arches told them so, and so—shots fired: The suspects got angry and took out a gun when they were asked to leave due to coronavirus restrictions that were in place, Oklahoma City Police Lt. Michelle Henderson told CNN. Two workers were shot and a third was injured, Henderson said, during “the melee that ensued.” Police told… Read more

May 4, 2020

As with many things we talk about, American discussions of COVID-19 seem limited, limited to a set of dull, partisan binaries. Either one stands for reopening things swiftly (if not immediately) or one prizes the lockdown. The former will say the latter are unrealistic—”we must reopen eventually. Get your head out of the sand!” To those in favor of the lockdown, the prophets of return are at worst hicks and at best calculating businesspeople whose imaginations can imagine sacrificing children… Read more

April 7, 2020

Teaching has brought me back to Nietzsche once again. This is always a revivifying process, a challenge to my faith, my intuited convictions (if that’s not an oxymoron), and every other belief I attest or bear out in my actions. It has, however, led me to consider the extremes possible in this time of rampant extremes. Where there is isolation, there is time for thinking (or its suppression). Perhaps this is all nonsense afforded by too many days spent domestically… Read more

February 14, 2020

A student followed me out of class the other day; he couldn’t believe that I, a Christian, could find Nietzsche edifying, let alone that I kept a painting of him catty-corner from my icons. Around the same time, a Twitter friend asked me much the same question: why look to Nietzsche for faith? My answer is necessarily a personal one—that’s all it can be. What has Friedrich Nietzsche to do with Jesus Christ? The pairing seems impossible, and yet, for… Read more

February 7, 2020

America Magazine is reporting a victory for religious liberty. In essence, an appeals court ruled that religious universities must be left alone; coercion by the state is not allowed, since schools do not receive various federal grants. This is supposed to be a “live and let live” situation, giving religious colleges an opportunity to govern themselves in ways consistent with their traditions: The corollary to this arrangement (no public support) is that the government will leave private institutions alone in… Read more

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