In a recent “Skeptic’s Collection” column, I used the “Vergangenheit” episode of the critically acclaimed Netflix series The Crown as a springboard to a broader discussion of the relationship, within the Christian tradition, of forgiveness and trust. Implicit in my discussion was a critique of the conception of this relationship among, not all, but broad segments of the progressive-Christian community, which seems to often believe that the two are, if not strictly synonymous, then at least closely related. I argued to the contrary: that trust is always, at best, conditional, even on those occasions when forgiveness is absolutely required. My question is this: if we transpose that transaction between the Queen and the former King (now Duke) from a human to a theological key, is the Qu
Prof. Molly Worthen’s recent reflection on the paucity of emphasis on memorizing poetry resonated with me very strongly, though for reasons she did not account for in her recent op-ed piece in the New York Times. Based on my own experience spanning an academic lifetime, I would suggest a different approach that could render memorizing poetry more relevant and even more pleasurable. My methodology is very simple and straightforward to describe and, perhaps for that reason, quite effective: instead of emphasizing rote memorization of poetry, instill a love of the text itself. Learn to love Hamlet, love it to the point that you read it over and over again during a lifetime, and memorizing the great soliloquy will most likely take care of itself. Above all, learn to reflect on your life e
This will probably sound strange coming from me. But … here goes … I miss God.
Well … even that is not quite accurate. If by the term “God” you understand the traditional, orthodox conception of God as basically “a really, really, really big Person writ large,” then … no … I do not miss that God, the kind of God Samuel Taylor Coleridge, somewhere or other, referred to when he said that the average Englishman’s conception of God is as “of an immense Clergyman”; the kind of God Whose eye is on the sparrow; the kind of God Who numbers the very hairs of my head (in my case, a task easy even for human beings, let alone God); the God Who browbeat poor, innocent Job. In other words, I do not miss the kind of God who Sees Things And Runs Things, the Great Cosmic National Security Agency,