Why America’s Growing Unaffiliated May Mean We Need More Grief Counselors

In July I wrote an article (“Losing Faith in Religious Higher Education“) for the Chronicle of Higher Education on leaving Christianity and my resulting choice to leave my position as a professor in a seminary. It was well-received, which was a relief.

I have many ideas for follow-ups to that piece, each dealing with different aspects of leaving faith, from the personal and observational to the intellectual reasons that brought me there. The first of these is now out and since it isn’t about higher education I pitched it to The Guardian’s opinion section.

In “When we give up a faith, we grieve for the community we leave behind,” I look at the types of grief individuals go through when departing a faith. Continue reading…


My Author Copy of “Ecumenical Edwards” Arrived

The-Ecumenical-EdwardsI received my author copy of The Ecumenical Edwards: Jonathan Edwards and the Theologians (Ashgate, 2015), today, which has my chapter “The Erotic Side of Divine Participation: Jonathan Edwards, Gregory of Nyssa, and Origen of Alexandria on Song of Songs 1:1-4.” I wrote this almost three years ago, so it is nice to see it finally in print. It comes out on August 28.

In this short chapter, I take a look at the interpretive steps taken by Edwards, Origen, and Nyssa in avoiding a reading of Song of Songs in an erotic sense, which I refer to as “an exegetical cold shower.” Continue reading…


On Reactions to my Chronicle of Higher Ed Article

On July 7 my article “Losing Faith in Religious Higher Education: What happens when a seminary professor joins the religiously ‘unaffiliated’?” came out in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This was my “coming out” piece as a secular humanist and it discussed the ramifications of that decision for my position as a seminary professor.

While I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I did wonder about the amount of hate mail I might get. Fortunately, the responses from both sides of that conversation (evangelical and humanist) were predominantly positive. Continue reading…

Chalk Board

When Faith And Disbelief Collide

When I was a kid, I sat in Bible studies at our church and listened to adults talk about their recent conversion to Christianity. Reactions from family and close friends were common concerns they had. Yes, becoming a Christian meant returning to the religion of their family for many, but for others it meant turmoil and being different.

For the latter, their parents, siblings, or close friends often worried about the new faith they embraced. Did they join a cult? Would this mean that they’d have to listen to preaching at every family Thanksgiving or Christmas?

I bring this up because I realize I’m in a similar situation for the first time in my life and I’m just now to the point where I’m capable of talking about it. In my case, I’ve not converted to a new religion, rather, I’ve departed from it entirely. Continue reading…