Learner Beware: Why I’m Starting a PhD Program in the Humanities and Why I Recommend Against It

“Do what I say, not what I do.” I recently began a PhD program in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment, bad odds, and the esoteric. Also, I’m a sucker for academic virtues and the love of learning. But, learner beware: a PhD in the humanities is probably a bad idea.

Church-related or Christian. What of college affiliation?

Is there a difference between a “Christian College” and a “church-related” college? What is the best working connection between faith and learning in higher education?

What Makes a Great Coffee Shop?

I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I go to coffee shops to read and write. For work, I regularly meet students and colleagues in coffee shops. I even got engaged in a coffee shop. I’m a coffee shop connoisseur, a java junkie, a free wireless wonk. Here, then, are my top coffee shop quality indicators.

The Wrath of God, the PCUSA & a New Hymnal

Why is an evangelical Divinity School Dean and Glenn Beck’s website “The Blaze” writing about God’s wrath and the Presbyterian Church? Answer: copyright law and a decision by our hymnal committee. I guess I’m not surprised that in a news environment itching for the latest click bait, the absence of one hymn in the new Presbyterian Hymnal is being cited as evidence for people’s previously-held theories of the denomination.

Completely Unsolicited Advice to Parents

Too many millennials have reflected on their faith saying, in part….“I just went through the church motions until college. So, to parents out there, a word of encouragement: talk to your children about faith!

Be Very Afraid. Again? A Christian Response to NSA

I long for another cultural frame with which to approach the NSA revelations. I’m tired of fear. I’m sick of worry. I hate labeling any other—be it general unknown, the government, or that “foreign outsider”—a threat in the name of vigilance. I read my Bible and, over and over again, the phrase “fear not” provokes me.

Cobber Superlatives: Reflections On My First Year Teaching

The Concordia College class of 2013 graduated this afternoon. With the 2012-13 school year now in the books, here are some quick reflections from my first year as a professor. Biggest surprise: how fast the 70 minutes of class flew by each MWF….

Vocation Meets Graduation: 7 Questions for College Seniors

Sadly, our usual questions for graduating college seniors buy into the notion that the measure of a college degree is its ability to get the degree-holder a job. Instead of repeating, “What are your plans after graduation?” I’m seeking kinder—even more faithful?—alternative questions.

Improve Mission Trips: Less Service, More Learning

I recently returned from a mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico with students from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. The trip took place over our spring break, and in Ensenada we worked with Lantern Hill, a small US-based non-profit with whom the college has partnered for several years. When I returned to campus, I met with […]