Category Archives: Christianity

June 2, 2008, 1:16 pm

Simul kids et adults

I’m working on updating some of my professional documents, including my curriculum vitae and my Statement of Teaching Philosophy (SOTP). Both of these are badly out of date; I don’t think I’ve touched either one since I was up for tenure in 2005. That’s too bad, especially the SOTP; it seems like professors ought to be constantly re-examining their core philosophies behind teaching and having a critical look at what really characterizes what they do in the classroom.

The new SOTP is absorbing some flavor of recent developments in my personal life on the faith front. Since joining the Lutheran church, I’ve become more exposed to — and more appreciative of — the concept of holding paradoxical pairs of ideas in tension with each other and having a real truth emerge out of the dialectic between the two. In Lutheran theology, for example, we have the idea of simul justus et peccator — the…

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April 18, 2008, 10:26 am

The Pope's message to academia

Some quotes from the Inside Higher Ed article:

“At times, however, the value of the Church’s contribution to the public forum is questioned. It is important therefore to recall that the truths of faith and of reason never contradict one another. The Church’s mission, in fact, involves her in humanity’s struggle to arrive at truth. In articulating revealed truth she serves all members of society by purifying reason, ensuring that it remains open to the consideration of ultimate truths. Drawing upon divine wisdom, she sheds light on the foundation of human morality and ethics, and reminds all groups in society that it is not praxis that creates truth but truth that should serve as the basis of praxis.”

“Truth,” he continued a little later in his speech, “means more than knowledge: knowing the truth leads us to discover the good. Truth speaks to the individual in his or her…

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April 5, 2008, 9:53 am

Spring break report

My busier-than-usual Spring Break is all but over with. Here’s a brief update.

The ICMC went off much better than it looked like it was going to. This was my first of a three-year stint as Student Activities Director for the Indiana section of the MAA, and while my predecessor was really great an answering my questions about how to organize the ICMC, he could only answer the questions I could think of, and the un-thought-of questions were starting to pile up at an exponential pace the week before the contest. But with the generous help of Mike Axtell, who — sadly — is leaving the Indiana section for a new position in Minnesota, all the logistics went off just fine and we had no major incidents. Kudos to the Purdue, Rose-Hulman, and Taylor teams who finished first, second, and third respectively.

That was last weekend. On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I had a very nice time at

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January 25, 2008, 6:14 am

Friday random 10

1. Lady Marian (Clannad, Pastpresent)
2. Five Long Years (Eddie Boyd, Essential Chicago Blues)
3. I Feel So Good (Muddy Waters, His Best: 1956-1964)
4. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen, Classic Queen)
5. The Red Rooster (Howlin’ Wolf, His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary)
6. People Watching (Jack Johnson, Curious George soundtrack)
7. Donald Macgillavry (The Fight with the Blackfeet) (various, Lewis & Clark soundtrack)
8. On the Silent Wings of Freedom (Yes, Tormato)
9. Pleiades (King’s X, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska)
10. San Jacinto (Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree)

Gretchen Goes to Nebraska by King’s X (#9) is a landmark for me in my personal musical history. It came out in 1989, just after I started college and was in a storm of contention between my religious background and the academic climate I had just entered.

Just when I had started thinking that Christianity and I just weren’t meant to be -…

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December 31, 2007, 12:56 pm

An Advent lesson about being a teacher

advent-wreath.jpgThe last twelve days for me have been particularly eye-opening for two reasons. First, I’ve been almost totally removed from my usually setting as a higher ed person/math prof/tech geek and instead have been a stay-at-home dad to my 2- and 4-year old daughters as they’ve been out of preschool. Second, my family’s recent foray into the Lutheran church kindled in me a desire to follow the church calendar, particularly during the Advent season which has just ended. It’s given me a great deal of perspective on my usual role as math prof — particularly in the area of my vocation as an educator. (The whole idea of vocation is central to the Lutheran approach, and it’s really brought home, literally, in being around my kids so much.)

One particular advent reading has left a big imprint on the way I think about my vocation. I was using a prayer book to do devotionals during Advent, and the…

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