Showing posts from May, 2016

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Revenge and Civil Disobedience

"If we took the precept of non-resistance as an ethical blueprint for general application, we should indeed be indulging in idealistic dreams; we should be dreaming of a utopia with laws which the world would never obey.  To make non-resistance a principle for secular life is to deny God, by undermining his gracious ordinance foe the preservation of the world.  But Jesus is no draughtsman of political blueprints; he is the one who vanquished evil through suffering.  It looked as though evil triumphed on the cross, but the real victory belonged to Jesus.  And the cross is the only justification for the precept of nonviolence, for it alone can kindle a faith in the victory over evil which will enable men to obey that precept.  And only such obedience is blessed with the promise that we shall be partakers of Christ's victory as well as of his sufferings."

Buried on page 144 of his book, I don't know how many people have actually gotten to this passage, but it seems pret…

Employability skills and higher education

 A must read if you teach college, especially if you teach liberal arts curriculum!


Most of these are the poorly named "soft skills" which are essential skills.  Some of them are skills, some are character traits (ownership, which is a euphemism for sense of responsibility).

As the chair of a communication department that just got a bachelor's degree approved, I am very concerned about this.

The Grand Theory of Everything

My son got me listening to podcasts of Timothy Keller, which I do when I am walking the dog (but I need to use the earbuds.)

So I have been reading some of his website material.  One was a series of talks he did about evolution and Genesis.  It was thought-provoking but I will withhold judgment here.

He explains (asserts?) that Genesis 1 is a poetic rendering of what happens in Genesis 2, and therefore the poetic language is not to be taken literally.  He also says that evolution as a biological process could have been used by God, since that is what the physical evidence seems to show, but that the process is a tool and not "the grand theory of everything."

This might be helpful to some as a distinction.  The problem with evolution theory (well, one of them) is that it has become the explanatory myth of the age, the metanarrative, and it therefore is used to  define all of our behavior, our existence, our meaning, our purpose.  Why do I love my husband and children?  Evolut…

Agnosticism, Doubt, Faith, Thinking

This article in CT has definitely "stuck in my craw" for a number of reasons.  I recommend it if you want to be bothered.


First, a-gnosticism is a word created rather recently (1800s), and it's rather unusual. The "a" means not, of course, so it would seem to be "not gnosticism" and therefore some sort of orthodoxy or at least not new agey, and that is not at all the case.  More like "not knowledge" but it means, in our usage, "not faith."  Which automatically brings into question the relationship between knowledge and faith, what we know and what we believe.

Second, this article is about faith/antifaith but more about marriage.  In fact, as someone whose husband does not attend church with me any more (but is still a believer), I have sympathy and empathy--empathy for sharing in the lack of church attendance with my spouse and being so tired of sitting by myself in church, and sympathy for her having a spouse who no …

Writing Life

 I began writing fiction seriously in the early 2000s.  My first draft was an embarrassing 160,000 words (or more) and I actually had two sweet friends who read the monstrosity.  But as bad as it was, it was on paper.  Eventually I pared it down to about 100,000 words or so, and submitted it to two clearinghouses that were available at the time for "Christian" fiction, a word I don't like but figured would be a start.  This was before (but not long) Amazon began to make a fortune off of people self-publishing on Kindle and it was still a huge accomplishment to get one's book in print.

It was "discovered" by Ramona Tucker and Jeff Nesbitt of OakTara and I was one of their first writers, for which I will be forever grateful.  In 2008 Traveling Through was published, and in 2012 republished with a different cover and some edits prior to the release of its two sequels. 

The book is about a young woman and her husband who find themselves in an impossible situat…

Leadership in one picture


Movie connections to Donald Trump

Interesting essay on how four famous movies connect to Donald Trump and politics.  If you had asked me to name four, I would have immediately thought of #2 and #3 on this list, but #1 makes the most sense.  I don't know movie #4.

Link to my novels

They are available elsewhere.  In fact, I will sell you copies at cost if you contact me (but there will be shipping, and some of the used prices are better than what I can do.) I just have to put in this plug occasionally.  I don't make any money from them; it all goes to charity.

As my administrative job is coming to an end soon, I am turning to writing again.  I have at least ten book ideas.  I will self-publish and create a body of work.  Perhaps scale will get some attention!

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen: A review

Driving my dog to her vet appointment (which set me back $170) I listened to an NPR interviewer talk to Kate Beckinsale, the British actress, about her role in a new Jane Austen-based movie, Love and Friendship.  I was a little surprised because I had read a review of this on Christianity Today a while back, several months, and had read the book upon which is is based on Kindle in the meantime.

"Book" is a sort of misnomer.  Actually, I think the movie is based on two novellas, Lady Susan and Love and Friendship, which I haven't read yet.   Lady Susan is a novella, and an epistolary one no less, which I understand was not uncommon at that time. It took a bit of time to figure out the characters in this genre, but after a few letters it began to even out and I enjoyed the short read.  I am not a fast reader (too hyper to sit for long periods) so it took me a while, but for most it would be three hours maybe.

Compared to other Jane Austen's, especially Pride and Prejud…

Two big questions to ask oneself everyday

What would you do if you weren't afraid?
(and what are you afraid of?)


Why does it matter?

Russell Moore is my hero

Just wanted to say that. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Women

I have written here before two thoughts about The Cost of Discipleship:  that people don't really read it even though they quote it, and that it was very much a product of its time and culture, especially of a country with a state church.  This is what I told my son recently when he saw I was reading it.  While much of it is profound and transformative and I think it is worth reading for historical context if nothing else, I have up-and-down reactions to it.

Definitely a down one when I came to his chapter entitled "Women."  The chapter was about lust and adultery, not women.  It should have been named that because it had nothing to do with women, and as an educated older woman with a pretty holistic and historic view, I found the whole chapter more than disturbing.  Modern editors should change the title of the chapter so he doesn't come across like such a misogynist.

From this chapter I conclude that he totally saw no place for women in leadership in the church, th…

StrengthsQuest and Anti-Strengths

In preparation for a week-long institute in Los Angeles sponsored by the AAC&U, I have been asked to read the Gallup's Strengths-Based Leadership book and to revisit my strengths.  I took the test originally about four years ago and I can't say that taking it again would change anything, really.

I totally subscribe to their philosophy of focusing on strengths and not spending all one's time trying to remediate weaknesses.  I also like the idea that no leader will have all the strengths but that he/she should build a team around him/her that does represent all or most of them.

I think this is clearly in line with the Scriptural view of spiritual gifts and how they are given for the church for the mutual benefit, and that all have a gift for mutual edifying. My understanding is that Gallup is a very pro-faith-based organization and I have read other research they do with churches.

Our institution even requires all freshmen to take the test.  So let no one think I am ar…

The Twilight of Atheism, by Alistair McGrath: Review

A colleague who teaches philosophy and logic, and who has been a Presbyterian pastor for many years, recommended this book to me.I had read McGrath’s biography of Calvin and enjoyed it.So after reading my colleague’s copy for a weekend, I bought a copy. It is a good resource but . . . The history of religion and of course atheism (which as he points out pretty much positions itself in response or counterpoint to Christianity) is a far too complicated subject to deal with in one book, so I consider this a perspective on the topic, a taking of massive amounts of data and literature and culling it down to a “less than academic” work that is in service to an argument that atheism did not take over the world but is in the decline. Of course the book was written over ten years ago, so some of it is dated.That’s why I can’t take his conclusions all that seriously, however interesting the journey.Not that I disagree totally, only that there are huge gaps along with the “good stuff.” When I…

Getting Older

One sign of getting older is when you see someone your age on TV or a movie, you say, "She looks good," or "He looks awful."  Or even worse, "Is she still alive?"'

Case in point (and example of sexism).  When Harrison Ford and Chewy showed up in Star Wars, everyone applauded and cheered.  When Carrie Fisher did, the response was, "Wow.  So that's what she looks like now." 

I am thankful for good health, although it's not perfect.  Something hurts all the time.  Weigh does not go away.  Energy levels are still high but I can't do the long hauls (such as driving) like I used to.  Sigh. 

The worst part of getting older is that so many family members are in eternity.  This will be our first Mother's Day without both our mothers.  I keep thinking I should order flowers but there is no one to order flowers for.

Short reflection on truth

"It makes all the difference in the world whether we put truth in the first place or in the second place."

This was the quotation in my Franklin Covey Planner this morning, and I find it quite inspiring.

It does no good to put "love" in first place.  One will lose all reason for loving, one's moral compass, one's true north.

"Speak the truth in love,"Eph. 4:15.  Not "speak love in truth."

"I am the way, the truth, and the life."

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (Unlike the Nazis, who said "Arbeit macht frei" (Work makes you free).

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

Go to and find these and others.  My point is first an a…

I Don't Have to Do Anything

For those who say I now have to vote for the lesser of two evils, I will let my mentor-by-distance, Russell Moore, reply.

Just like I do not have to go to Target to prove I am loving (I plan to avoid them, more for other policies than the bathroom thing), I don't have to vote for the Republican nominee to prove . . . anything.  Don't tell me what I have to do.  Yes, that sounds childish.  Your arguments sound Machiavellian.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, on relationship and worship

In this passage, DB says nothing but what Christ has said, and it has made me marvel how much we disobey in this regard.

"When a man gets angry at his brother and swears at him, when he publicly insults or slanders him, he is guilty of murder and forfeits his relation to God.  He erects a barrier between himself and God.  He no longer has access to him; his sacrifice, worship and prayer are not acceptable in his sight. For the Christian, worship cannot be divorced from the service of the brethren, as it was with the rabbis.  If we despise our brother our worship is unreal . . . . We are both individually and as a congregation worshiping an idol. . . . He who loves God and hates his brother is a liar." (I have omitted some really good things from pps. 128-9.)

My first response is to say, "I don't hate anyone," but.  I stop there.  Contempt is often shown by ignorance, by calumny (a great word, look it up), by meanness. 

The Babylon Bee

If you want to waste some time and laugh pretty hard, try this website:

The articles are funny but just reading the titles of these Onion-like, faux news-style pieces is enough.

Local Woman Searches Bible in Vain for Beloved "Footprints in the Sand" poem

Deny Your Conscience, Take up Your Guns, and Follows Trump, Urges Jerry Falwell, Jr.

King of Saudi Arabia Gets Kick out of Apple lecturing North Carolina (this is my favorite and a must read.  I doubt I will spend much future money on Apple products.)

Jaws of Life Needed to remove Worship Leader's Skinny Jeans

Southern Baptists Announce Plans to Silently Judge Trump

Pastor Admits Doing Life Together Just an Excuse for Doing Whatever.

There are many, many more.