If you’ve met me, you probably know I enjoy reading, writing, and talking about Ludwig Wittgenstein. It’s one of those strange things where a system of thought and the personality behind it combine such that reading him becomes a matter of compulsion. Strangely enough, however, I’ve only ever had one week of reading for one class where Wittgenstein was a set reading. He’s a name that lurks in the background, popping up in introductions, in comparative studies, in his unspoken influence on recent thinkers, or in the explicit rejection of what he’s supposed to represent. But he himself rarely appears on syllabi outside of introductory surveys. Continue reading “An Amateur’s Guide to Reading Wittgenstein”
I was lucky enough to come second in The Living Church’s Student Essays in Christian Wisdom Competition. They’ve just posted my entry on the Covenant blog, which you can find here. It deals with how we can look at points of schism as providing resources for navigating the fracturing or relationship—in this case, Richard Hooker and S.T. Coleridge’s accounts of reason. Hope it’s enjoyable, and here’s the first paragraph! (p.s. For any reading who considered entering, it’s well worth doing so next year.) Continue reading “Seeking Wisdom in the Spaces of Schism (Living Church essay)”
I bought the cross I wear on a retreat to Holy Cross Monastery in April, 2014. It was a spontaneous decision made while browsing through their bookstore. A heavy rainfall eroded the glue holding the beams together about two months later, so I patched it up using superglue and a bit of red thread a housemate of mine had to hand. I’ve worn it almost every day since. Continue reading “Why Do I Wear a Cross?”
Last week, my beloved friend (and fellow former Hildan) Shancia Jarrett and I had the opportunity to preach a sermon together as part of the orientation for this year’s incoming YDS class. I cannot say how joyful an experience it was to compose and preach a sermon with another voice—to know that I was preaching words which weren’t just my own, and to experience preaching with company. Here’s the text. Continue reading “Abiding in Love and the Price of Glory: Building Community in Light of Charlottesville”
I was fortunate enough to participate in the Graduate Colloquium hosted by the Centre for Barth Studies this week. Each person gave a 20-30 minute presentation on a selected portion of Church Dogmatics, Volume 3:3, followed by 40-30 minutes discussion. The presentations were amazing, and showed just how many diverse and brilliant lines of thought can be developed through to exploration of Barth’s work. The opportunity to listen to and engage in discussion with the community that had gathered was a true gift—not least because it showed how much there is yet to be learnt. In any case, given the current events in Charlottesville, I figured I might as well post the presentation I gave (as well as some of the lines of interrogation that emerged in the discussion afterwards). I hope it’s worth reading.
This post is also published on the Oriel Theology blog.
A good while ago, I put together a post arguing for the secular nature of Biblical Literalism. I’m still fond of the post, and I stand by the argument. But one thing it lacks is an definition of what it means to be secular, beyond a crude presumption that secular phenomena originate outside of thought proceeding from God’s nature.
In any case, I just finished working through Giorgio Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory. Right at the start of the text he gives an account of secularization which I think makes sense of how Biblical Literalism is a secular phenomenon, apart from my initial presumption. So, here’s a quick post describing that account and that making sense, followed by a few other thoughts. (To be clear, I’m thinking throughout of Biblical Literalism as I have encountered it in person, not as it may or may not have been worked out in the academy.) Continue reading “How is Biblical Literalism a Secular Phenomenon?”
The prayer for homily last week was about being many and one—so, it was set up to motivate an appreciation of diversity in unity. Since Wittgenstein’s approach to this is one of my main philosophical interests, I tried to give a homily that managed to communicate some of the more practically important conclusions that can be gleaned from his writing in a way that 60 middle schoolers might enjoy at 8:30 in the morning. I figured the attempt would be interesting, and at the least provide an answer to the question, ‘why should we care about conceptual analysis of theology?’ In any case, it’s basically an attempt to apply several aspects of my account of Wittgenstein’s religious philosophy. Enjoy! (The actual homily was obviously a bit different, but it stuck to the text for the main part.) Continue reading “Wittgenstein in Middle-School: Homily”