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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…

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Consider No Evil: What Happens After Faculty Are Dismissed Over Theology?

My recent book (co-authored with Menachem Wecker), Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education, covers several stories of faculty removed from their positions at Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries. While some faculty find themselves moving into post-academic work after a dismissal, others—especially those with years of experience—do manage to find positions elsewhere.

Christopher Rollston

One of those stories (which appear in the book) is that of Christopher Rollston, Continue reading…

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Moo Over Old Life, Here’s the New

Last July I left my life as a full-time professor and began a new life with new projects, a lot of which is continuing on in the writing side of things. In embracing this life, I bought new business cards from Moo.com. First, Moo did not pay me for this post; I’m simply loving their stuff enough to post some pictures. If you need to create new business cards, definitely check out their Luxe line. These cards are done in layers, which you can see below involves a red layer between the front information and back design, and the paper is tactile and hefty. I also purchased the leather and brushed steel holder to match my color scheme.

This is what arrived in the mail today.
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Continue reading…

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On Faith: Does the Bible and Fantasy Fiction Have Something in Common?

My newest article, “Why Your Bible Feels Like Fantasy Fiction: Six ways in which the Bible makes more sense if read as a work of fantasy,” is up at On Faith. 

Scholars approach the Bible from many different directions. They read its individual books as complete narratives or as collected sources. Many assert that one’s interpretation is framed by the order of the canon, and that we might see the Bible differently if the canon order was changed or if we included some early texts, like Clement of Rome’s epistle. Some embrace it with a wooden literalness, while others approach the Bible as mythological or symbolic or ripe for the garbage can.

In this article, I engage in a bit of reader-response criticism and compare the Bible to fantasy fiction, showing six different ways its world is far more like fantasy than the world we know.

…..3. Supernatural transportation in the sky!
While most mortals are earth-bound, some get to slip its surly bonds. There are flying chariots of fire (2 Kings 2:11), tall ziggurats one can climb to heaven (Genesis 11:4-9), teleportation (Genesis 5:24; 2 Corinthians 12:2), ladders (Genesis 28:10-19), and ethereal lifts (Acts 1:9)…..

…..And yet, as otherworldly as this biblical world is, it also has a distinct earth-boundedness to it. Our human brains, as scientists have noted, enable us to “imagine other worlds” and to create mythological creatures that do not exist in nature. That’s why we gravitate to stories that transcend the mundane. And that’s why — whether we accept it as divine or not — we should try to experience the Bible as fantasy fiction. In doing so, you might discover yourself in the text — and just how human a fantasy world can be…..Read the full article at On Faith…

Image: From Jacob’s Dream by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum, London): See full image at Wikipedia.

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Toledo City Paper: September 20th Talk on “Consider No Evil”

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From Toledo City Paper.

Today’s Toledo City Paper mentions my upcoming talk for Toledo Faith & Values on my new book with Menachem Wecker, Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education

If you live in the greater Toledo area and want coffee and bagels, consider stopping by Barry Bagels at 10 am on September 20th. If your organization would like to have me come speak, contact me.