Sign in

Avid reader, compulsive writer | Tolstoy, Hauerwas, & D. B. Hart | “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

An Examination of the Disease Rotting a Religion & Threatening a Democracy

Because I know that this is an intersection of contentious topics (religion, politics, and Trump — the three anti-dinner table topics) I want to start with a few disclaimers to try and avoid misunderstandings up front.

First, I know that not all American Christians are supporters of Trump or the GOP. Of course it’s never “all white evangelicals,” or “all American Christians”. But according to the polls, around 85% of white evangelicals are supporters of Trump (or at least have the honesty to admit to it), and many in the remaining 15% are enablers. …

This includes news from your “team”.

Polarization is a problem. I think all of us can agree on that. Unfortunately, our collective agreement hasn’t translated into collective (or effective) action against it. This lack of action is, at least partly, due to our society’s cultural gatekeepers having a vested interest in keeping us angry. Obviously, that’s neither a new nor an original observation, but maybe my idea for addressing this problem is a little of both. Some people will tell you to engage more with just a certain type of media; others will tell you to try and balance your “media diet”. No, don’t do either…

Leopoldo Méndez (1902–1969). Posada en su taller [Posada in His Workshop], 1953. Linocut.

A brief explanation as to why my writing is changing.

I wanted to address the change in my content that’s been occurring steadily over the past couple of months and explain why I am moving away from using most of my writing to analyze or prognosticate about current events. The first reason is simple: there are other writers who do that far better than I, and analysis of the electoral college or Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposals are something that (if I’m honest) I don’t bring anything unique to the table for. The past year has been an extremely momentous roller-coaster. One of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t…

These are important issues that Christians should listen humbly and speak intelligently about. Unfortunately, we’re not.

As I’m writing this, my wife and I are anticipating learning the sex of our coming baby. We still have a little while to go before that monumental ultrasound appointment (our insurance won’t cover the earlier-in-pregnancy genetic screening), and we are both tremendously excited to learn whether we will be having a boy or girl. There are all kinds of reasons for this excitement — with the knowledge of the sex comes clarity on how to decorate the baby’s room and what clothes to buy, as well as a general sense of what to anticipate in childhood.

And of course…

What we all can learn from an Austrian Philosopher and the Quakers

So many of our problems that cause unhappiness are the result of not being able to let others know what we mean clearly enough. We have trouble communicating what we mean, and because one of the primary purposes oof language is to allow others to more deeply know us and to more deeply know others, this communication problem we all have (to some extent) results in alienation and atomization as well as the more general unhappiness that can result from miscommunication.

I believe that much of this problem can be mitigated by adapting a narrative view of the world: your…

I expected finding out I was going to be a father to reveal a lot about myself, but I didn’t expect it to reveal how hopeful I was.

It’s cliché, but finding out I was going to be a dad was one of the most mind-blowing moments of my life — it felt like the entire universe was simultaneously expanding infinitely beyond what I could already not comprehend and contracting into a super-dense focus around the in utero baby. Again, it’s cliché, but my whole worldview has changed, like the ultrasound image has been superimposed over my eyes and mind. The past few months have been revelatory for me, and one thing that’s been revealed is how incredibly hopeful I am.

This time of our own personal advent…

What are They, How are They Different, and What are They Useful for?

Human experience is a jumble of beliefs, claims, rules, and social norms regarding how we all should live. Often times, these different requirements on us seem (and sometimes do) contradict each other, so — as anyone who hasn’t lived their life under a rock knows — it can often be hard to know what to do. To help better know what to do and when to do it, it’s important to detangle, to tease apart these various requirements and put them all in their appropriate category: as either law, morality, or ethics.

These three concepts (especially the latter two) are…

The Second Denial of Peter by James Tissot

The label is loaded with baggage, its reputation is in tatters, and and its social capital is on the decline — why can’t I give it up?

A lot of my friends who I grew up in church with and left evangelicalism around the same time I did don’t want to call themselves Christians anymore, or just really don’t see the point in separating the moral/ethical teachings from the religious/spiritual aspects of Christianity and abandoning the latter altogether.

I can’t really blame them — it’s not like the loudest Christians in the room haven’t sullied that label by entwining it with false gods and idols anyways. And it’s not like I don’t have my own history of abandoning labels when they no longer represent what I want…

The Once and Future Christian Moral Tradition

I previously wrote about Aristotelian virtue ethics, a brilliant secular moral and ethical theory that I think has been tragically left behind in the wake of The Enlightenment and the hyper-individualism and universalism that came with it. But, as a Christian, I am inherently unsatisfied with secular morality and ethics — I see the value in Aristotelian theory and I have deep respect for how its application could benefit humankind, but ultimately his answers don’t satisfy the spiritual and metaphysical longing in me.

In short, I want the Aristotelian conception of virtue but I need the centricity of Christ and…

Aristotle, Virtue Ethics, & Human Telos

Imagine someone who is perfectly balanced. They can always cool down tense situations and they’re able to deliver even the worst news gracefully. They’re incredibly confident without breeching into arrogance, they’re always brave but never reckless, and they’re known for their generosity but never accused of being extravagant. This is someone who you and others want to be like — not for shallow reasons, but because this person has seemed to master the art of, well, being a person.

Ever meeting this kind of person might sound improbable, and becoming this kind of person yourself might seem impossible. According to…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store