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Inside Higher Ed: Lessons on Leaving My Full-Time Faculty Position

My first piece (“Know When to Walk Away”) for Inside Higher Ed is up this week. If you read this blog, you know that on July 31, 2014 I left my full-time faculty position. It was a decision that I think was right and was the result of both personal reflection and conclusions I came to after writing a Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education.

My article at IHE offers three questions every faculty member should ask when trouble breaks out at an institution. Surprisingly, I don’t think many actually ask these, but they could save you a world of heartache.

For an Evangelical school, the statement of faith is the first job qualification. A search committee may have the perfect candidate, but ultimately, if the person cannot sign the faith statement, he or she is disqualified. This faith distinction is often what’s behind news reports of faculty at Evangelical schools losing their positions over views of LGBTQ rights and identity or creationism.

When stories like these hit the news, non-academics often ask me: if these faculty aren’t a good fit, why don’t they just leave and pitch their tents elsewhere? It’s a valid question.

But it’s also extremely complicated. As a professor who just voluntarily gave up his faculty position at a Christian seminary, primarily over a faith statement, I can explain why it is so difficult to leave. Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed….

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What Happens When the Bible is Read Like Any Other Book?

I have an article at On Faith this month entitled, “How Could Anyone Reject the Bible? Because Reasons: Believing in the Bible’s divinity can be pretty tough once you learn a thing or two.” I can imagine the various ways this article might be read, so there are at least three things I should note about this piece. Continue reading…

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Center for Inquiry on the Future of Science

This last weekend I covered (for ToledoFAVS.com) the conference “Science Peers into the Future,” put on by the Cleveland chapter of the Center for Inquiry. I don’t normally just report on things, since most of what I write is opinion, but this was a good chance a trying my hand at it. The group was very welcoming and the speakers were interesting. The story (“Brighter future through science, not religion, says Cleveland chapter of Center for Inquiry“) appears over at Toledo Faith & Values.

“…The promotion of science has been part of the Center for Inquiry’s mission since its inception,” says Mark Tiborsky, VP of Programming for the Cleveland chapter.

“Historically, much of CFI’s work in this area has involved the debunking of pseudoscience,” he adds. But the Cleveland chapter, which has about 130 members, decided to take a different approach this year.

Focusing on debunking can “have an element of ‘preaching to the choir’,” says Tiborsky. “We are hoping that conference attendees come away having learned a lot about the state of their respective areas of science today; in addition, we hope attendees are provided with an educated glimpse into the future of science itself.”… Read the full article at Toledo Faith & Values…

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Finding that Middle Grade Wonder

When I was a kid, my imagination plundered middle grade fiction. I had a wild imagination. My father likes to tell the story of when my teacher asked he and my mother if there was a way to keep me from talking in class. He suggested she move me away from the other student encouraging the talking.

“That’s the problem,” she replied, “he’s talking to himself.”

Apparently, I had a thing for pretending my pencil was a rocket—including making noises related to said rocket—and that does not mix well with math lessons. Continue reading…

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Consider No Evil Book Event Featured at Toledo Faith & Values

Over the weekend I did a small event for Toledo Faith & Values at Barry Bagels to discuss Menachem Wecker’s and my book, Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education. Over at ToledoFAVS.com there is a write up about it. Here’s an excerpt:

Academic freedom, considered a vital protection for faculty and students in our country and our culture, doesn’t necessarily apply in seminaries and religious institutions…. Read the full article over at ToledoFAVS.com

Continue reading…