While I was finishing my Ph.D. I took a job as an adjunct
professor at a small, state-run college. The experience was a lesson in
humility. Most of the time, fancy graduate degree or not, I was treated like a
cog in a machine--and a suspicious cog at that.
The common good is taking a beating. Economic inequality has accelerated dramatically since the early 1980s, and many think nothing can be done about it. But that verdict is a nonstarter for Christian morality.
Tuesday on the CBC interview show Q, Jian
Ghomeshi talked to actor Ed Begley Jr., Hollywood's leading environmental
activist and green-lifestyle enthusiast. Discussing Living With Ed, the reality TV show in which Begley
and wife Rachelle Carson clash over his carbon-footprint obsession, Begley
observed that Carson is the sort of person who cares about the earth but
doesn't go to extremes.
It's great to see David Beckmann convince Mark Bittman to join the fast against attempts to cut federal programs
that help the poor and the hungry. Bittman's dismissal of the religious element
of the effort by Bread for the World and others--"I doubt God will intervene
here"--betrays his unfamiliarity with Christian thought. (I'm tempted to send him
one of my ELCA "God's work, our hands" fridge magnets.) But thanks to Bittman's
involvement, now even the Nation is
giving the progressive evangelical effort positive coverage.
As a child Richard Feynman once asked his father why a ball went to the back of a wagon when he pulled the wagon forward. His father said it was inertia. When Feynman asked what inertia was, his father said it is the name scientists give to the movement of a ball to the back of a wagon, but in truth no one really knows what it is. Feynman went on to get degrees at MIT and Princeton, and he won a Nobel Prize in physics. He attributed his success in science to the curiosity engendered by that conversation with his father. The simplest questions can carry us to the edge of knowledge, and that’s where he wanted to play (TED Radio Hour, June 12).