Rebecca Stead’s Smart Middle Grade Fiction

I love middle grade fiction and one of my favorite writers is that of Kate DiCamillo, who I’ve done a deep-read of in the past. Her themes engage real life issues—from death to childlessness—without sacrificing the pleasure of the imagination.

Likewise, I finished a deep-read of Rebecca Stead’s books and really can’t praise them too much. Like DiCamillo, there is a sense of grounding the story in real-life issues while also embracing the imagination. At times (though not always) her plotting involves great twists and an appropriate level of science fiction.

As I was thinking about her work this week, Continue reading…


Consider No Evil: Nothing Like Having a Hardcover Copy of Your Own Book

A hardcover copy of my book, Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education, came in the mail today. There it is below.Withrow-Wecker-CNE-Harcover
This is the second book of mine that is in hardcover. The first one—a new edition of a rare book by Peter van Mastricht, which I edited and did the introduction for—was not only my first hardcover, but also my first book.

My publisher’s academic imprint, Cascade Books, has a publishing model that is intended to keep books in print, so they have kept that imprint primarily as paperback, and additionally, though not always, for Kindle. But this time around they decided to selectively put out hardcovers. So it’s nice to have another book of mine in a hardy hardcover.

Hmmm…is the audiobook edition next?


New Chapter Contribution of Mine on Jonathan Edwards Due This Year

Life after full-time teaching is keeping me busy (more here). I’m expecting a hardcover copy of Consider No Evil to show up any day now, so that makes the first book of mine to be available for kindle, on paperback, and hardcover. I’m working on a couple projects—one academic, one middle grade—and I’m continuing to teach a little at The University of Findlay this year.

And, oh yeah, a chapter I began writing for a book back in 2012 is finally going to see the light of day this year (due August). Continue reading…


Does Science Have Anything to Say About the Soul?

I have a short article up at On Faith this week (“What Does Science Tell Us About the Soul?”) that introduces some of the problems posed by brain science to the traditional idea of the soul. The short version of it: “everything we associate with the human soul may just be happening in our heads.” I go into a little more background to it over at The Discarded Image, but if you want to cut straight to the article, here you go:

“….Last year, a Harris poll discovered that 64 percent of Americans believe in the survival of the soul after death, with 68 percent convinced of a heaven and 58 percent of hell. Many beliefs are discarded over time, but the existence of the soul isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon. There are good reasons, however, to think it should….

…When philosopher René Descartes said, “I think, therefore, I am,” he probably hadn’t considered the development of Brain Control Interfaces (BCI). For a while now, scientists have worked to create brain-to brain-interfaces, with initial success coming in the form of a remotely connected human moving a rat’s tail. That was quickly followed by other research, with the most recent being two remotely connected human brains, with one playing a videogame through the hand of another person…” Read the full article at On Faith.