February 19, 2016

Today as student asked me a question that I’ve reflected on every time I teach. The question itself and the response I gave are so important to me that I thought I’d write them down. My student asked a version of this: “What do you want from your non-Christian students in your class?” She wanted to know how they were supposed to look at a text, what I expected from them in that most practical way. How are they supposed... Read more

February 17, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of time. And history. And truth. Most of all, I’ve been thinking about tradition. Tradition is where most of my recent work has centered and it is therefore a recurring theme when I look at almost anything. My fixation tends to be on tradition as a kind of “memory” or “remembering,” and I do this for various reasons, mainly relating to the kinds of questions I’m asking. I want to know about tradition’s consistency... Read more

February 15, 2016

“How does it feel, knowing that your emotions limit you while your mind is capable of much more?” I glanced at my therapist and attempted a sarcastic “AMAZING,” but all that came out was a shaky “Frustrating.” I do have a therapist. It’s not at all like confession. It’s not a replacement for religion. I find it helpful, and that’s really all there is to it. I’m troubled by things like PTSD, anxiety, depression, so I find that I need a... Read more

February 14, 2016

“Trees aren’t made of stone,” a student said with a frown, “and stone doesn’t grow. I’m in science; this just doesn’t work like that.” I valiantly resisted dropping my head to the table and growling. We were reading a damn poem, just a poem. Which, apparently, should have been scientifically accurate. A freaking poem. Agh. Scientists in the liberal arts: ants at a picnic. One of the reasons I had us looking at a poem was to push the very question,... Read more

February 5, 2016

I am afraid of God. I don’t know where else to begin except where I am, and this is where I am. Afraid of God. I don’t mean “fear of the Lord” fear, the awe rooted in the true law of God. I mean something like the terror that snaps a mouth shut: “They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mk 16:8). It’s something of an irony, since I’ve given everything I could to God – including a... Read more

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