Why My Dog Is Not a Humanist: God Talk and Kurt Vonnegut

My father in law was an intimidating man. He was unreasonably tall, an Episcopal priest, and my wife adored him, so maybe it’s not weird that I needed some way to humanize him, a bit. Maybe that’s why I called him Father Dad.

For the record, he was not a fan. There may have been a glare and a raised shaggy eyebrow, and I may have pretended I didn’t see it; I don’t remember. I do remember, however, that the very first time we met, we talked about the philosopher Wittgenstein.

Now, if that does not sound like absolutely gripping dinnertime conversation to you, you can rest assured that the rest of the table agreed with you. Father Dad and I, however, were thrilled. Continue reading “Why My Dog Is Not a Humanist: God Talk and Kurt Vonnegut”

Cosmos and Parables: A visit with Carl Sagan and Octavia Butler

Earth, from Cassini
Earth, as seen from Saturn. Courtesy of the Cassini spacecraft.

Looking around, it’s as if the world is coming back to life as it greens around the edges, and the air is finally warm enough that I can hang up that winter jacket. Yes, it looks like it finally happened — spring has arrived. Ahhh, Spring. That time of year when we remember how everything we see, and feel, taste, smell, and hear is billions of years old.

What. You don’t do that? How do you do it? Continue reading “Cosmos and Parables: A visit with Carl Sagan and Octavia Butler”

Toxic Masculinity


Today’s sermon was going to be rather different. I wanted to talk about men shrugging off the chains of societal pressure and daring to live a more authentic, more meaningful, life. I wanted to explore a healthier masculinity, discuss how I almost missed my kids’ entire childhood, and explore at least one path back into right relationship with community. It had Friederich Nietzsche and an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. It would have been a great sermon. Very uplifting. You all would have been amazed. Next time.

But the events in Parkland, with 17 more students and teachers dead, have left me with a hole in my heart and I just can’t stop poking at it, so I hope you’ll pardon my slight change in direction this morning. Continue reading “Toxic Masculinity”