Category: Blog Posts

Using Public Schools as Battlegrounds is Immoral

If state legislators were in the legal position of employers, teachers in many states could sue for creating a hostile work environment. And students could sue for legislators doing nothing to ameliorate and much to inflame a hostile learning environment. A good teacher is a gem. A great teacher is priceless. And yet they are […]

Read More

Destined to Be, and Still Is, an Experiment

Scholars who study religion as a form of human expression talk about exemplars: individuals who are not the founders of a religion but whose lives are icons of that religion, who incarnate the beliefs, practices, and virtues of that religion. An exemplar both reflects the glory of the religion and provides a window of insight […]

Read More

The (S)melting Pot

If you have never read the play, The Melting Pot, and you care about what kind of nation, what kind of moral community, the United States should be, I encourage you to read it. Thanks to the Gutenberg Project, the play is available free and online. For many years, I’ve dismissed the metaphor of America […]

Read More

Mortared with Lies

In a PhD seminar, Dr. Brian Gerrish led the class through understanding where various Reformation leaders stood on the meaning and consequences of sin. John Calvin, he said, believed human beings are so captured by sin that we sin “and we like it.” Given the breadth of depth of telling lies in public these days, […]

Read More

States are Not Denominations

One expects to be welcomed in different ways and to have different permissions as one visits religious congregations of various Christian denominations and other religions. But should a similar experience await you state-to-state? If I attend worship at a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church or a Catholic congregation, I would not expect to take communion, which […]

Read More

Conservative and Liberal are Meaningless Labels

What do the terms “conservative” and “liberal” mean? After much reflection, I think they mean too many things to be meaningful words. Using the words to categorize and accept or dismiss others, as is often the case, is like throwing a bucket of paint on the side of a barn rather than touching up a […]

Read More

Becoming Human Is Hard

It takes a lot of work to become and remain a human being. If we think of “human” normatively, in an ethical sense of what our species could or should be, then I’d argue it takes a lot of intentional work to become and remain human. This is so because there is a great deal […]

Read More

One Cannot Open the Future with the Past’s Blood-rusted Key

“The sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) Does this order also apply to texts? Are texts made for people and not people for texts? This is, obviously for any one paying attention to national debates, a live question. So-called “literal” approaches to texts claim the authority of some past […]

Read More

Stink and Grace

Life stinks. I’m not using the word “stinks” as a value judgment. I don’t mean to invoke the scene of a child who dropped their ice cream on the ground: “Oh, Honey, that really stinks!” Or the baseball fan’s epithet when he thinks an umpire blew the call: “You stink, Ump!!” No, I’m talking about […]

Read More

Loyalty May Be Virtue or Vice

Faithful adherence to the sovereign or lawful government; spec. of government employees. Also, in later use, enthusiastic reverence for the person and family of the sovereign. Definition of “loyalty” from the Oxford English Dictionary The meaning of the word “loyalty” has vexed me recently. At home, we watched the classic movie, All the President’s Men, […]

Read More