Working too much for the earth’s own good

What do a sociologist who wins prizes from economists, a Trappist monk, a former Princeton University school of public affairs Dean, and a best-selling cookbook author have in common? Their work all concerns the dangerous, unsustainable, even violent nature of busyness and overwork.

5 Stodgy, Ridiculous, Unrealistic Ways to Fix College

These ideas are “stodgy” because in many ways I see them as going back to practices of the past. Like, #1: no college credit for high school courses…

Designing a new course, “Word to the Wise,” Want to help?

Next semester, I’m planning to teach “Word to the Wise: Writing for Religious and Social Change.” I’m posting my thoughts on the course design thus far with the hope that you, dear Internets, will suggest tweaks, correct horrendous ideas, and/or send me more boxes of books to read.

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 […]