I Love Too Many Things

Where have I been? I promise that these hands have not been idle. The short answer is that I have been writing. I have been chipping away at long delayed projects, which means that this blog, which I love a lot, has taken a back seat to other things that I love a lot.

The truth is that I am over-committed. But unlike a lot of people, my problem is not that I can’t say “No.” It’s that I say, “YES!!!” Enthusiastically! Joyfully! If I don’t want to do something, I will politely bow out. There is just not a lot that I do not want to do. What’s worse, when I do anything, I believe that I have to give it 110%. I have never been good at half-assing anything.

But lately I have realized that if I want to do anything well, then I cannot do everything. I have been doing too much, and I need to sort my life out a bit. Really. I’m not trying to be dramatic or anything. I just feel like I owe you an explanation. I’ve been quiet because I need to think, and I appreciate your patience as I stay quiet just a little bit longer.

Make Your Own Note-Taking “App” in Three Easy Steps

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 4.36.35 AMHave you ever been working feverishly to finish a paper only to be held up by that one quote you read on that one page in some book? I do not normally ever do “productivity” type posts, but I think this is relevant to anyone out there who considers herself a scholar (paid or otherwise). I have experimented with different note-taking systems over the years, with varying degrees of success. I am not talking about detailed reactions to a passage. I have used word processors, and now Evernote, for that. But Evernote is too clunky to be a quick-reference system. What I wanted was a way to search and sort by particular words, phrases, and topics when I write. Most importantly, I want to be able to find them in the book later.

Enter Google Forms! It allows you to create an online form, like a survey. But I have used it a bit like an “app” on my smartphone. That way, I take quick notes on the go and (because I am anal retentive) keep track of my reading each day. All of my entries are recorded on a spreadsheet that I can export, search, and sort for writing.

Google has upgraded some features on its Forms to look better on a smartphone. I have also decided to improve my own “app” to incorporate some new fields experience has taught me I needed. So I thought I would share the process. It’s pretty easy. Here’s how you do it: Continue reading “Make Your Own Note-Taking “App” in Three Easy Steps”

The Real Santa: Three Ways We Teach our Kids that Christmas is about Giving, not Getting



via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Santa Claus Day! We Americans derive our Santa Claus from immigrants’ celebrations of St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6). (I have heard that we call him Santa Claus because we misheard how Italians pronounced “Santo Nicholas;” I don’t know if that is true, but it’s as good a story as any.) St. Nicholas was a fourth century bishop in Turkey. A couple of legends make him the patron saint of children and sailors, but in our house he is the patron saint of gift giving.

Jesus said that we should give so that our left hand does not know what our right hand is doing,

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:4).

St. Nicholas exemplified this kind of giving. Continue reading “The Real Santa: Three Ways We Teach our Kids that Christmas is about Giving, not Getting”

Lessons from Silence: Culture-Wars Orthodoxy

I announced last month that I would be taking a short hiatus from the blog because I learned that some of the heat I occasionally get has been singeing other people. (You can read the full post here.) I was planning on a much shorter break, but I got bogged down with an essay I was submitting for an academic journal. Over the course of what turned into a month, I did learn some lessons. Continue reading “Lessons from Silence: Culture-Wars Orthodoxy”

Breathing Deep

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Dear Reader,

I have a few guiding principles when I do “public theology” (i.e. when I write for non-academics). The two most relevant for this post are:

  1. I will avoid controversy for its own sake; I will not make my career by being mean to people.
  2. I will not avoid controversy out of fear or personal inconvenience; after listening to others, my church, and my conscience, I will (respectfully) speak my mind.

I am willing to take grief from others for what I say. I am less willing for others to take grief because of me. It recently came to my attention that that has happened. Continue reading “Breathing Deep”

My Year as a Pro-Gay “Orthodox” Heretic



By Bilerico Project (California Marriage Equality – San Francisco)

When people call you a blasphemer, Christ-denier, a defender of tyranny, and an apologist for Babel, who cares more about impressing liberal academics than listening to the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church, the best response is almost always silence. My general practice is to avoid confrontations with anyone who believes him/herself capable of knowing me in 1500 words or less. But, for Fr. Johannes Jacobse and some of his readers, I am going to make an exception. Fr. Jacobse is involved with a call-in radio show I will appear on this Sunday (June 17). Even though his article did not speak for the show or its station, I thought it might be wise to offer potential listeners/callers a short “intellectual memoir” of my involvement in the gay marriage debate over the past year. I do not intend to change anyone’s mind. I only hope that offering a little insight into my intentions and motives might help us have a more substantive conversation – one focused more on the issues than speculations about my character. Continue reading “My Year as a Pro-Gay “Orthodox” Heretic”