November 8, 2020

Never in recent history have we had the instinctive communal outbursts of jubilation after an election result was announced that we saw yesterday when it became clear–as official as it could be prior to the electors doing their jobs–that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States and Kamala Harris the next vice president. For some these were their top choice all along. For many who felt deep relief what was paramount was not who won but… Read more

November 7, 2020

Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote that it makes no sense to hear the sound of fire trucks and pray that it not be your home that is on fire. At that point a home is already burning. What would a prayer that it not be your house mean, especially if that prayer could be answered? That the flames be miraculously relocated to another house, and the memories of the fire department rewritten as the destination to which they are dispatched is… Read more

November 6, 2020

The phrase “do your research” gets bandied about online a lot. For most people this doesn’t mean the pursuit of advanced degrees, development of advanced skills relevant to a task, or long hours in the lab. What it means instead is Googling something. There have been a number of memes created about this, but they haven’t stemmed the tide of this phenomenon. What is often missed is that people who claim to have “done their research” and ask you to… Read more

November 5, 2020

  A Facebook friend shared the above meme which features this quotation:  “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K. Trenfor I was just going to chime in in response to add “or hear” alongside not telling people what to see when directing them where to look, since the person who shared the quote is a composer and music professor.   But almost immediately in response to the… Read more

November 4, 2020

All across the United States there are people who wonder how anyone could possibly support Donald Trump, and people who wonder how anyone could possibly support Joe Biden. It is easy–much too easy–to assume in accordance with one’s own self-perception that the answer is simple: we’re good and they’re evil. That diagnosis of the way things are may or may not be ultimately correct, but I want to argue here that there is much more to it than that. Evil… Read more

November 3, 2020

I hope that those who appreciate puns as much as I do will like the title of this post, and that those who consider spelling of paramount importance will forgive me for it. At a time when our society is divided between those two camps, I am nailing my pun-making colors to the mast (and am by no means the first to make this pun). But as you have probably guessed, that isn’t the contemporary divide that I want to… Read more

November 2, 2020

Halloween provides another example of what I have come to realize is a standard tactic of conservative Evangelicalism. Someone quoted a small snippet of Ephesians 5 and applied it to the October 31st holiday. They don’t celebrate it, they said, and Christians shouldn’t celebrate it, because we are to have nothing to do with the “deeds of darkness.” So typical. Whatever it may or may not have been for small numbers of people in the distant past, Halloween today is… Read more

November 1, 2020

The title of this post says it all: Fundamentalism is fundamentally unbiblical. Now, before you ask, I obviously don’t mean that Christian fundamentalists do not quote the Bible in support of their views, beliefs and practices. They do. Of course, they consistently condemn others for “picking and choosing” and yet that is what they themselves are doing, but that’s not the subject of today’s post. Just about anyone who wishes to can be “biblical” in the sense of finding verses that support their… Read more

October 31, 2020

When I made my syllabus for my course on Religion and Science Fiction, I did not intentionally schedule the discussion of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories for the class meeting immediately prior to election day 2020. But it worked out perfectly. We spent the class making lists of ways that the world could end. It was a very helpful exercise. When we list and categorize things it usually makes things clearer, even if what needs to become clear is that things… Read more

October 30, 2020

I am long overdue to blog about the return of Star Trek: Discovery. I would have done so sooner if it had been clear that the first episode, called “That Hope Is You, Part 1,” was not really the first episode of a two-parter in the traditional sense. The second episode of the season, “Far From Home,” is simply the introduction to the season from a different perspective, with both in essence picking up where the previous season ended. I… Read more

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