the best christians are atheists

October 28, 2009

This is a controversial topic that has been gaining ground lately. They’re even having a full-blown conference about this in London.

Despite the fact that this notion is just…well…weird and ivory tower-esque, it seems to be finding all kinds of (unintentional?) support from emergent church folks, including Peter Rollins.

I’m planning on listening to the podcast….

it’s not a hill, it’s a mountain

October 26, 2009

I’m glad I got to see them. There’s no way they can do these crazy-long tours for too many more years. I hope my kids “get” this stuff🙂

take that miracle whip!

October 18, 2009


pride goeth before a fall

October 14, 2009

Ten years ago (next month) I lost my job as an ODoT archaeologist. In part, it was a result of Ohio electing Bob Taft III as governor. Taft froze all hiring in all state agencies (including mine) and eliminated several sectors of government as “inefficient.” Like librarians. And road crews. And archaeologists.

But I could have stayed on, albeit at a lower paying position, if I had stayed a student at Ohio State. Being in school to get a Ph.D. with the intent of using that education in your government job allowed one to be classified differently. That classification was really just limbo because you were a kind of “trainee.” Once “trained,” they would have to give you a different position (one that had been eliminated). So it was really just a way to delay the pain and, in my 25-year-old-mind, not worth it.

But the reason I was leaving OSU had something to do with me being no longer a “trainee” as well.

Oh! the hubris of youth. Having comps and a dissertation proposal defense at the same time would make a sane person quite nervous. I had no idea how it would work, and I didn’t ask many questions. Given comparisons to my classmates, my “cohort,” I thought my writing would be my best asset. I spent time studying for our four-field comps, but didn’t put more than a couple of days into my dissertation proposal. I didn’t read anyone else’s proposals (past or present). I didn’t talk to my cohort about what they were doing. I didn’t consult with the people I worked with at ODoT, all of whom had gone through the OSU program. I didn’t talk with my good friend Jason, who was going through precisely the same thing (after my experience, he wisely delayed his tests a year). I didn’t even bother to talk with my advisor. This was likely the worst mistake–almost deliberate ignorance I now recognize–but I justified it because he was, and I’m not exaggerating, an awkward old man probably with turrets syndrome. But I was so certain my brilliance would carry me through, I didn’t bother to consult with anyone. In fact, I remember working a lot, sleeping little, and playing Final Fantasy VII in between.

To make a long story shorter, my dissertation proposal wasn’t accepted. In fact, it was barely commented on. Except by one Dr. Zaharlick. She hated my project, didn’t know why OSU should be bothered to fund it, and generally questioned my intellectual abilities. All of which were probably legitimate reactions. But they totally threw me off for the rest of my examination. For the better part of two hours, I looked like an idiot (I even thought so at the time). After their exceedingly long deliberations, they decided that I could “return” (I didn’t know I had left!) the next quarter, but I would be at the bottom of any funding pools and would have to come up with a totally different project. Or I could just take a masters’ and leave to make my way in the world. Guess which one I chose…. It was a crushing embarrassment, one that, though it was by no means the end of any worlds, felt like an utter derailment of any future plans in academia.

The hubris has been hopefully a bit more under control over the past decade. But every once in a while, when I get to thinking too highly of myself, God somehow reminds me of the Humbling of ’99.

Today, for instance, I received a used copy of George Stocking’s Race, Culture, and Evolution–a significant book that I will be using to teach a class next semester and probably consult several times over the course of my (if it starts at all) academic career. Whose name should appear inscribed in flowing but professional script inside the front cover? None other than A. Zaharlick, Ohio State University.

anyone wanna see U2 in europe?

September 29, 2009

if so, I have a pre-sale access code for you!

make my stomach stop hurting

September 29, 2009

Another home run.

And for a more serious analysis of our whole healthcare debacle, see this.

And Bill Moyers is peerless.

fill up your info cup

September 28, 2009

I can’t possibly keep up with the pace of posting over here–especially not if we’re supposed to be able to have a conversation on these topics–but it’s all quite high quality writing/thinking. Take a gander.


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