In Praise of the Archbishop of Doubt

In a click-obsessed world it’s not surprising that the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, drew some gasping headlines last week. But for me, the truly noteworthy story would have occurred if Welby responded, “No, never have I ever doubted.

Dreaming of an Artists’ Pub (in Fargo)

Reflections on my search (in vain) for a true artists’ pub in Fargo.

Choosing What’s Best for College

As college begins, student faces hundreds of new choices. But what if we opened ourselves to the uncomfortable notion that you don’t always have to choose. Life’s moments have a funny way of choosing you.

Sabbath for Professors…and Students?

As the school year begins, I’m considering an “email Sabbath” clause for my syllabi. But does that mean students, too, should take a day to rest?

Sundry Summer Celebrations

I’m not sure what constitutes the official “end of summer” these days, but I think it’s here for me. Faculty workshops have replaced writing time. Syllabus prep has replaced reading time. New, longer lists of to-dos have replaced my unfinished lists of summer projects. Ready or not, it’s back to school…

Religion & Social Change: Imagining Experiential Learning

Have you had a positive (or negative) experience with service learning, and/or community-based writing assignments? What should I consider as my religion and social change course planning begins?

Can a Church Split Truly Be Gracious?

I’m grateful to report that Religion Dispatches published an essay of mine! In the piece, “Can a Church Split Truly Be Gracious?” I describe and reflect upon my experience leading a commission (officially a “Presbytery Engagement Team”) to investigate a church seeking to leave my presbytery, the Presbytery of Northern Plains. The process was fraught, troubling, and yet […]

Visualizing Recent PC(USA) Sexuality & Marriage Decisions

Have you ever wondered: what would happen if I built a digital representation of important PC(USA) ordination stands, sexuality, and marriage votes from 1996 forward? Of course, not. That’s ridiculous. What sort of nerdy, tech-curious, Presbyterian pastor and professor-type would want to do such a thing? Ummm…. Ok, well, this summer I did [click here now to jump […]

“Hannah, Delivered” a review

Hannah, Delivered is a fine new novel by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew. Elizabeth and I met two summers ago at the Collegeville Institute, and re-met last spring at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. When I received my copy, Elizabeth included a kind note that read, in part,“I’d love for Hannah to speak […]

What is Digital Humanities? (in 400 words or less)

For my last blog post for Texts, Maps, Networks: Digital Methods in the Humanities, I’d like to respond to a question I get fairly often. “What is digital humanities?” Since those who ask it come from all walks of life—churchy, professory, friendy—I’m going to attempt to go both deep and wide in, well, exactly 400 words. Here goes nothing…