college life

How To Achieve Syllabus Efficiency

On a typical day, I prepare to teach three different texts for the three courses I’m currently teaching: Shakespeare, Early British Literature, and introductory creative writing. This seems inefficient, don’t you think? What if I could prepare only one reading for all three courses?
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October 27, 2018
spirituality

Dwelling: A Scriptural Survey

Some quick work with online tools surprised me: the Bible is full of dwelling, from the Pentateuch to Revelation—at least in English. It turns out that dwell is one of those rich, Anglo-Saxon words that composts together several related concepts into a fertile loam.
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October 13, 2018
cultural commentary

The Weight of This Sad Time

Shakespeare is right to show us that there is no guarantee of reward for choosing integrity and mercy. Over against the example of his sources, Shakespeare eschewed a reparative ending. In Shakespeare’s final scenes, the noble among the younger generation pay a heavy price for…
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September 29, 2018
artsspirituality

O Rejoice in All Your Works

The red planet and seed pods: an odd juxtaposition. But as I padded quietly through the gallery, it seemed to me that what the two exhibits have in common is the way they, like those two scripture passages, invite us into altered perspective.
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September 15, 2018
cultural commentaryspirituality

True Forms

Part of my fascination, I suppose, is that we are talking about a face here. The article nicely rehearses the significance of the human face while visually explicating the devastating destruction of Katie’s. What’s compelling here is the idea of coming face-to-face, so to speak,…
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September 1, 2018
memoirnature

Pitcher’s Thistle

What is the value of a thistle? We don’t entirely know. I suppose God does. I suppose the little prickler gives praise to God in its own thistly way, just by being itself in cooperation with other nearby creatures being themselves. Is that enough for…
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August 18, 2018
naturereview

Climate Fiction: Three Vectors

As you spend a few last hours this summer in your Adirondack chair under a shady canopy of leaves—with that feeling of autumn’s imminence causing you to contemplate decline, aging, and the end of civilization—you might consider distracting yourself with some “climate fiction.” Sometimes short-handed…
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August 4, 2018
spirituality

One Day on the Mount

But amid all your advice about clothes and food, I notice you’re saying absolutely nothing about government corruption and malpractice, ongoing racial hatred, mass incarceration, resurgent misogyny, torqued-up geopolitical tensions.
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July 21, 2018
cultural commentarypolitics

The Semiotics of Protest: A New Primer

Since we have entered the Age of Resistance, it’s important to keep one’s protest muscles well-toned. With all the marching, kneeling, standing, sitting, walking out, gesturing, and pumping of hand-lettered placards up and down—not to mention furious typing on Twitter—ordinary citizenship in the United States…
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May 26, 2018
memoir

Birdsong

Suddenly I’ve realized how stupid I am. I’ve lived in this climate and latitude most of my life, surrounded by these fellow creatures going about their quick, fluttery lives, and I know almost nothing about them, not even how to recognize their voices.
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May 12, 2018
review

The Privilege of an Inner Life

I’ve always understood that my education, beginning with my mother’s early tutelage, was a privilege. This week my gratitude—and perspective—deepened significantly as I read, along with a class of college senior English majors, Michelle Kuo’s wise and generous memoir, Reading with Patrick.
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April 28, 2018
memoirspirituality

High-Performance Christians

We know what it’s like to be on display all the time, to be ever the responsible example, to be always leading and mentoring and discipling, striving never to fail anyone in the quest to model spiritual excellence. It’s a blessed life, of course—a privilege…
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March 3, 2018
spirituality

Supersubstantial Bread

Now that I know about this tradition of interpretation, though, I would like to recover it for us children of the Reformation. I mean, why choose? The term epiousios is multivalent and spacious, wide enough to embrace both meanings, maybe made up precisely to do…
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January 20, 2018