When Super Bowl LI commences at 6:30 p.m. this evening (Sunday, February 5, 2017), millions of viewers will tune in to watch the New England Patriots play the Atlanta Falcons. For some fans, it is an opportunity to pull for the “underdog” Falcons against the “Evil Empire” Patriots. For others, it is a chance to [ Read More ]
Culture and Education
Recently, the University of Oregon suspended a white female faculty member for dressing up as a black man at a costume party, even though her intention was to honor a black author, Damon Tweedy. The University concluded that her costume was a type of “speech” that constituted harassment and created a hostile environment. Even though [ Read More ]
One of the great privileges of my life has been the opportunity to teach History of Ideas at The College at Southeastern. Under the leadership of noted author and philosopher James K. Dew, the college requires its undergraduate students to take four courses in the History of Ideas. The first History of Ideas course is a lecture-style grand [ Read More ]
Building a “Great Commission” Seminary (3 Core Convictions, 5 Academic Competencies, 5 Faculty Expectations)
[Note: This post provides a glimpse into the life of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I serve as Provost and Professor of Theology & Culture. Written as the opening presentation of our 2013 Faculty Workshop, it gives voice to Southeastern’s aspiration to be a “Great Commission Seminary.” The first portion of the essay articulates 3 core convictions [ Read More ]
Any person with a pulse and even a modicum of cultural awareness knows there is a movement afoot to stifle free speech on college campuses. Controversies related to free speech have rocked the campuses of many universities, including Yale, Scripps, Oberlin, and Wesleyan. A number of colleges are authorizing “safe spaces,” “speech codes,” and “trigger [ Read More ]
Navigating the Waters of Evangelical Higher Ed during a Time of Uncertainty (3 Imperatives, 4 Types of Opposition, 9 Projected Challenges)
[Note: This post is a slightly modified version of an essay I wrote for the August 2015 faculty workshop at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I serve as Provost and professor. Written just after Obergefell was legislated from the SCOTUS bench, I try to chart a course of Christian fidelity in light of the social, [ Read More ]
How to Corrupt the Youth: 5 Imperatives for Shaping Students’ Hearts & Minds in Opposition to False Ideologies
[Note: This post represents a peek into what I do in my role as Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Each year for Faculty Workshop, I write an essay which encapsulates the overall theme of the workshop. “How to Corrupt the Youth: 5 Imperatives for Shaping Students’ Hearts & Minds in [ Read More ]
It is no secret that something is deeply wrong with American politics and public life. We are alarmed by the unrest and violence that surrounds us. We are disturbed by the toxic nature of public conversation about matters that are important to our common life together.
We sense that we are being hoodwinked by the people we elected to office. Politicians often say one thing to get elected and do another thing once they enter office (I think it was William Buckley who once said that a politician is a person of his most recent word). More significantly, they lie to us on matters of the greatest significance (as the great political philosopher Dennis Miller once said, “Washington, DC is to lying what Wisconsin is to cheese).
We sense that our past political witness has, in some ways, failed.
In addition to these sorts of concerns held by many or most Americans, conservative evangelicals are disillusioned with the fact that the past few decades’ worth of political activism seem not to have paid off. Worse, it seems to have backfired.
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This week, my family and I leave for a one-week vacation. In addition to relaxing at the beach with my family (if “relaxing” is what one does with children ages 6, 5, and 3) and keeping up with the Republican National Convention, I intend to do some reading. For starters, I will finish reading two fine books, Os Guinness’ Impossible People and Anthony Bradley’s Black and Tired.
While my mind is on vacation—and therefore on reading—I thought I’d write a brief post about the rewards of reading. In earlier posts on reading, I gave 5 Tips for Determining Which Books to Read (and Which Not to Read) and 4 Tips on How to Get the Most from Your (Non-Fiction) Reading. But in this post, I want to focus on some of the benefits accrued from building a life-long habit of reading. Among the many rewards, here are seven:
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It seems like our country is burning down right in front of our faces. If not burning down, it is at least deeply divided and dripping with blood.
In the aftermath of this week’s breaking news about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—black men being shot to death by white police officers—many black Americans are not only frustrated and angry but also afraid. They are afraid that “justice and equality for all” doesn’t apply to their sons. They are afraid to let their sons go outside at night for fear that a routine traffic stop could spell the end of their life. They are emotionally exhausted. They are black and tired.
At the same time, in the wake of other breaking news about five Dallas police officers killed in the line of duty—white officers shot to death by a black sniper—many law enforcement personnel are not only afraid, but angry. They are frustrated and hurt that some of the very citizens they seek to protect now treat them with suspicion or resentment. Law enforcement officers have to make split-second decisions and they do their best, they say, but it doesn’t always go as planned. If they’ve said it once, they’ve said it a hundred times. They are blue in the face. [ Read More ]