God the Most Joyous Being in the Universe

imagesWe humans are a bit cranky. We upset easily. To share some painful examples from my recent past: I pick the wrong line in the grocery story causing me to become impatient and resentful. An unexpected meeting invades my plan for the day. Anxiety fills my heart. I feel unjustly attacked and return the favor by being rude to some undeserving victim. There is a daily struggle in my heart, a tug-of-war between self-assertment and surrender to Another. I long for wholeness. I long for the “fullness of joy” in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11). More often, my heart wanders from God, seeking solace in small things, created things, which will not ultimately satisfy.

Two Questions about Story

Unknown-3Story draws us in. When life becomes too difficult or we need a break from its monotony, we escape to some other story (hence the strength and all-pervasiveness of the entertainment industry). For me, it is a real treat, after a long day of teaching, relating, studying, and writing, when I pick up a book or Ipad and lose myself in Gilead, Iowa (Marilynne Robinson), medieval Germany (Novalis), or modern day Gotham (following the exploits of a younger James Gordon and Bruce Wayne). These are the cities and towns I currently walk through story. Next week, no doubt, I will have moved on to other times and places, losing myself in tales of adventure, intrigue, injustice, hope, longing, and love.

How To Cultivate a Quiet Soul in a Busy World

images-1Busyness masks our insecurities. We rush. We want the quickest line in the grocery story, instant access to our news and movies, information at our fingertips, and food served hot and fast. We hurry to accomplish things and when we do, we don’t have time to savor the triumph because we’ve got to hurry to prove ourselves again. (I particularly relate to this with respect to academic publishing. By the time an article publishes I’m already researching the next project, needing to demonstrate again my prowess as a philosopher).

Why a Theology of Food Beats a New Year’s Resolution

images-1Barely two weeks into the new year and I blew it. Ugh! I hate dieting. As my wife and family will attest, I have a huge sweet tooth. When the sum total of my intake for the day is a green smoothie, a couple apples, and some crackers, it is hard to resist the temptation to binge when the late afternoon hunger hits. Rules don’t help: “watch what you eat, count your calories, exercise daily, blah, blah, blah.”

My Favorite Books of 2015

images-1Developing intellectual virtue in an Internet age challenges me. The beep, swish or yelp of an incoming email, Facebook message, or the favoriting of a Tweet constantly pull my eyes, and with it, my heart, into the mediated world of the smart phone.