Oliver Sacks: Extraordinary and Ordinary

I have been very moved by the illness and death of Oliver Sacks. I first began reading his books with their wonderful narrative accounts of his patients when my children were young. He is a compassionate and insightful interpreter of people and how they, with their brains, make meaning. As I read about extreme neurological … read more

The End of Higher Education

Over the summer I took my oldest son on his first set of college visits.  All of my emotions about sending him off to school were mixed with the analytical interests of an educator.  I want to see him end up at a school that is able to nurture his gifts, skills, and interests and […]

God’s Word Sings Among the Ashes

The biblical expression of history is not so much like a line moving steadily from the past into the present and on into the future as it is like a length of fabric that a seamstress rolls out and then folds over on itself once, twice, three times, over and over again. The Exodus from […]

The Promise and Power of Place

Ten years out and the scars left by Hurricane Katrina are still visible on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Much attention has been rightfully directed to New Orleans during this time of remembrance.  It was the most populated city to suffer the effects of the storm due to poor levee design.  The loss of life and […]

Nourishing Diversity

“[W]e need to nurture commitment to the multicultural community of Christian churches… so as to make sure that the voice of our culture has not drowned out the voice of Jesus Christ.” –Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace Differences can be scary. Our brains are hard-wired, for lots of reasons, to feel safer around people who […]

Jesus Christ, Karl Marx, and Michael Brown

Human labor is not a commodity.  Recent articles on “Ferguson, One Year Out,” which I was reading alongside commentary on the Greek economic showdown, brought this central Marxist insight back to mind. When I read economic and political journalism, I do so not with the insights and perspectives of an economist or a political scientist, but rather as […]

Jerusalem From the Outside

This summer I concluded a year of studying about Judaism as lived in contemporary Israel. I was privileged to be part of a program, the Christian Leadership Initiative, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the Shalom Hartman Institute. I was among fifteen other seminary professors and denominational leaders who learned and lived together in […]

A Walk in Oxford: or, Remembering about Self-Care

It is sixty-one degrees outside today in Oxford, England, where I am teaching at Christ Church College for the summer. As some of you know, I try to get away from the Austin heat every summer, and I’ve certainly managed that here in Oxford. It has been an amazing opportunity, but like much of the […]


In many ways Berlin is a combination of two of my favorite places—Austin and Manhattan—stirred into one big sloppy stew: endless possibilities, wonderful cultural offerings, plenty of weird things, great restaurants, lots of young, creative people working hard, enjoying life, being hopeful. But, more than any other city I know, Berlin also is a place […]

Distinct Appearances and Different Angles

Writing a summer blog post in July in Wellington New Zealand presents an additional challenge because it is the middle of winter. Living in the middle of middle earth that means day time temperatures between 50° and 60°, a lot of rain and in Wellington a lot of wind. According to Maps of the World […]