Do or Die by December 15

December 15 is my deadline for my book manuscript to be submitted to Wipf and Stock. This is a deadline I have set for myself. My publisher tells me they have a lot of flexibility. But I cannot handle the flexibility. I will keep pushing the deadline back. So it is time to declare my deadline to the world and let the fear of publish shame motivate me to finish this thing.  Continue reading “Do or Die by December 15”

Funding My Theology Habit

It is never a good idea to announce online where you work. People get fired for saying stupid things about their places of employment. So I will not tell you the name of the university. But if you were to guess, “Vanderbilt,” you would be right.

I am staff, not faculty. I do not teach at Vanderbilt the university. I am an educational consultant for a department that offers services to support academically gifted students. What that means is that I help put the classes together. There is a large technology component to my job too, which happened somewhat by accident. Continue reading “Funding My Theology Habit”

On Being a “Vulgar” Theologian in the Orthodox Church

My parish priest recently announced that he was retiring, and my immediate thought was, “Oh crap!” I love my priest. We do not always see eye-to-eye, but I respect and appreciate him. I know I have not made his life very easy sometimes. Every so often, I will say something online which will send the trolls to the interwebs to try to figure out where I go to church, who my priest is, and how many ways they can report me. Like I said, my priest and I often do not see eye-to-eye, but he also understands that there is a difference between theological opinions he disagrees with and heresies that deserve excommunication. I know for a fact that there are some priests who would have withheld communion until I shouted the error of my ways from the rooftop. I have wondered what I would do when faced with that kind of a decision, and I honestly am grateful that I have never really had to think too hard about it. That may change. Continue reading “On Being a “Vulgar” Theologian in the Orthodox Church”

About This Blog

This website was intended to be a log of my life and a lab for theological thought experiments. I was going to save more developed ideas for the Huffington Post and other publications. That ended up not happening for various reasons, but I think I am ready to return to Plan A. The Huffington Post is making blog submissions a bit more efficient, and I am tired of feeling ashamed of being an independent scholar. Continue reading “About This Blog”

Concerns about the Great and Holy Council

The First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea

Soon the Orthodox Church will convoke a Great and Holy Council, the first such council in over a millennium. Though by no means ecumenical in any official sense (at least not yet), it is a historic meeting, for which I have felt a deep and abiding ambivalence.

I am a convert to the Orthodox Church. Unlike many converts, I did not see the deep and rich traditions of the Orthodox Church as providing me with resources to be more fundamentalistic than I was before (such as I hear creationists citing Basil as proof of a young earth). I was never a fundamentalist. What attracted me to Orthodoxy was the ambiguity of it all, which is another way of saying Mystery. Jaroslav Pelikan, another convert, described Orthodoxy as the church of the seven councils that we deem ecumenical. We have a lot of other canons, synods, traditions, and opinions, but they are not finally and firmly authoritative in the same way that those minimum of dogmas are.

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Why Do I Still Go to Church?

Woman in Church at St. George'sWhy do I still go to church? This is a question I ask myself pretty much every Sunday morning, at least. At one level I think this is the wrong question. I remember this one Evangelical woman I knew. Whenever she would talk to me about church, she spoke in terms of “getting fed” or getting her needs met. I try not to think that way. If God is the Good itself, then worshipping God is self-evidently good. The answer to the question, “Why go to church?” is the same as for “Why climb a mountain?” Because it’s there. Still, my question is more introspective. It is not why I should go to church. It is more practical, more human: Why do I keep going?

Continue reading “Why Do I Still Go to Church?”