Essay / Culture

Because of Fairies

Recently, I spent twelve hours discussing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with sophomores in the Torrey Honors Institute. (What a job!) I love this play more and more. It’s easy to miss its richness–it’s such a romp! Here’s the thing that struck me in reading

Essay / Avant-Garde

Conversation on Theology & California

Here’s a one-hour video about theology and California, or, more specifically, Theology and California, the book of essays that Jason Sexton and I edited (Ashgate, 2014). You can view it at Open Biola (which includes several video and audio options), or stream the embedded version here

Essay / Art

Christmas Playlist 2014: Monophonic

So much Christmas music is an overproduced mess. This year for our annual Christmas mix we decided to cleanse the palate by finding a set of songs at the other end of the production spectrum. We’ve got buzzing, droning, hissing and popping.  We’ve got yowling

Essay / Culture

“Something to Do With Something Else”

Before the camera shut off, the police officer who had put the lethal choke hold on Eric Garner looked directly into the lens and explained, “this wasn’t about the fight. This had something to do with something else.” It seems  he meant to obfuscate, but

Essay / Culture

A Real Advent

According to St. Benedict of Nursia the Christian life should be a continuous Lent. And according to Sts. Wal-Mart, Target, and Starbucks the fall should be a continuous Christmas. Holiday decorations have gone up earlier this year in stores and on city lampposts. Throughout much

Essay / Culture

Theology and California: The Book

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a strange, new book: Theology and California: Theological Refractions on California’s Culture (Ashgate, 2014), edited by Jason Sexton and me. It’s available in hardcover for your libraries, softcover with a gorgeous cover photo, and e-book for portability. As

Essay / Culture

A Much-Needed Gap

Recently I read a witty novel written entirely in the form of letters of recommendation. It reminded me of some spoofs I’ve seen in various places, which I would describe a satires of the genre of recommendation letter. These things have floated around in photocopied

Essay / Blog

Remembering Chris Mitchell

On Thursday night, my dear friend Chris died of a heart attack. We in the Torrey Honors Institute were—are—in complete shock. There were no warning signs, nothing indicating that his health was in decline. (An undetected heart disease proved to be the cause.) Chris and

Essay / Culture

I Believe in the Communion of (Global) Saints: Writing World Christianity

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice,“Salvation belongs

Essay / Culture

A Graduation Speech for the Torrey Honors Institute

On Friday, we watched as the Class of 2014 in the Torrey Honors Institute graduated. Most of the students I have worked closely with in the last four years graduated, and I got the chance to speak to them. How do you give a graduation

Essay / Culture

Neuroscience Talk May Be Literally Re-Wiring Your Brain

Brain-talk is everywhere these days. And while I love a good functional MRI as much as the next citizen, lately I’ve become alert to the way all of this brain-and-neuron rhetoric functions. It has a conjuring power, giving an aura of sciencey power to absolutely any

Essay / Blog

On Being Faithful Citizens

The last of Torrey’s 2013-14 distinguished lectures has just become available online, so it seems appropriate to take a look back at the series and consider what our speakers had to teach us about the theme, faithful citizenship. There’s much that could be said; all