I'm embarrassed to admit it, embarrassed because it took graduate school to teach me something it's hard to imagine I didn't learn much earlier. I don't want to blame my teachers. I don't think of them as nincompoops. If I didn't learn what I should, I probably wasn't listening. But I'll never forget working on some graduate school research paper—probably something about John Milton—and stumbling on history so elementary I was embarrassed I didn't know it.
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I have three fantastic student interns this year who are learning about the hard work of welcoming. At our college’s Presbyterian House we host a “Dinner and Devotion” program every Sunday that we advertise as “All Students Welcome.” Of course, not all students feel welcome attending a religious and spiritual life program, unless you work hard to let them know that you mean it—that they really are all welcome.
The recent furor about the closure of the religious studies department at the University of Stirling in Scotland made me think again about the value of studying theology at university. In response to something a friend posted about this on Facebook, I remarked that it was not for nothing that theology was called “the Queen of the Sciences,” and it probably does a better job of equipping people for management than an MBA.
They can’t pay you enough money to do a job you hate. I have a lot of lasting memories of my grandfather—homegrown tomatoes, “Heart and Soul” duets on the piano—but that’s the primary piece of wisdom I remember him passing along to me. And it’s a good one.
Two of my frequent routes include an arcade of trees. Neither is very long—one just a block, the other maybe a quarter-mile. But even when the branches are bare, the trees form this graceful archway that we drive through. As I went though one the other day, I started wondering about the person or persons who planted those trees.
I’ve seen a few people on Facebook share an image from theologian Benjamin Corey and I have to say that it bothers me.
I plopped the baby on the ground beside me, mail already scattered across the grass like clumsy confetti. He lunged for the letters; I snatched them up and sighed. A long, muggy summer afternoon; too-hot kids whining about everything under the sultry sun and still hours to go before dinner. The baby grabbed the envelopes again. I gave in. Junk mail; who cares, he was happy. So I reached for the magazine instead.