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
The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a
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,