I was trying to write a provocative article for a readership that includes many people who a) oppose the death penalty for faith-based reasons, and b) take for granted that replacing it with LWOP is a fairly straightforward good. But I should have done more to anticipate how others might see a one-sided article where I saw a narrowly focused one.
For months, at the urging of my spiritual director, I have been praying to find my heart’s desire, to find that thing (not a person—I have those) that inspires me, energizes me; my flow. But you pray for something long enough, and the prayer goes unanswered, and eventually you stop praying for the thing.
There’s more than a year to go before the presidential election, and, already, I am weary of the campaign. When I can manage simply to view the candidates as performers, some talented and others not so much, and hear their speeches as scripts in an over-the-top television series, the political news is entertaining.
“Is there a back door out of hell?” I asked the students seated across the table from me. The question hung there for a minute as they considered it. If they said yes, what would that mean about how they had always thought about hell? If they said no, what would that mean about how they had always thought about God?
In fall 2014, I had the opportunity to teach Contemporary Religious Thought.
If you know me or have heard me speak, you’ve probably heard this story. I have told it hundreds of times. I grew up Southern Baptist and attended Moody Bible Institute. I felt a call to go into ministry, but I was frustrated because the only ministries that seemed open to me were teaching the women’s Bible study or playing the organ.
Not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if I chose the wrong profession. Friends who went to graduate school for disciplines other than theology—law, business, or medicine—pull in six figures; their lifestyles make me a bit envious. I heard a story on the radio recently of a CEO who makes $13,000 an hour (not, it turns out, an unusual CEO pay rate) and my first thought was, “I’m young … I could still do that.”