Showing posts from 2020

Mirror Year

I am tired, I am weary I could sleep for a thousand years A thousand dreams that would awake me Different colors made of tears This is the year that we launched my book about Milo . This is also the year that Milo kicked me ( more than once ) out of his Telegram chat.* This is the year that my stepfather died (December 10, may he rest in peace and rise in glory). This is also the year that I got to spend six weeks living with my mother and brother, taking walks around her neighborhood and staying up late into the night talking about meaning and patterns with my irl bro.  This is the year that my dog Joy died . This is also the year that I got to spend every day for the eight months before she died playing with her for hours out in our backyard since I was not having to go into campus during that time. This is the year that my teaching in Spring got thrown onto Zoom . This is also the year that I launched my own series of videos about Tolkien on . This is the year that

Signs of Joy

When the fullness of time came God sent his Son, his eternal wisdom, the substance of his own glory, into this world, who took the nature of humanity from the substance of a woman, a virgin, by means of the Holy Ghost. And so was born the “just seed of David,” the “Angel of the great counsel of God,” the very Messiah promised, whom we confess and acknowledge to be Emmanuel, true God and true man, two perfect natures united and joined in one person.  —The Scots Confession (1560), chapter VI  Thus saith the Lord: Heaven is my throne, and the earth my footstool: what is this house that you will build to me? and what is this place of my rest? 2 My hand made all these things, and all these things were made, saith the Lord. But to whom shall I have respect, but to him that is poor and little, and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my words? 3 He that sacrificeth an ox, is as if he slew a man: he that killeth a sheep in sacrifice, as if he should brain a dog: he that offereth an obl

Alt History of the World Fairs

Almost every day that I allow myself online (a.k.a. daily), I end up in an argument about my credibility as a historian. As Owen’s alter ego Ira might put it (with appropriate snark), “How dare you claim to be a historian when you believe [fill in the blank some detail about whatever topic is under discussion]?”* Well, quite possibly because as a historian, I am used to having to revise my understand of “what actually happened” based on re-evaluation of what we accept as historical sources.  For example, Bede’s history of the English church. You have all heard of Bede, right ? “The Venemous Bede” as 1066 and All That put it. Bede is one of our most important historians for the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, intimately interested (you might say) in the mission of Augustine to Canterbury and the subsequent conversion of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes to Christ. Bede had at his disposal a great library (for the early eighth century) which the founding abbot of his monast

To Mask or Not to Mask

I have a confession to make: I don’t think wearing masks has anything to do with keeping us “safe” from a virus. I do, however, think it has to do with keeping us “safe”— but from what?   I am on academic leave this term (Autumn 2020) and next (Winter 2021), so I am not scheduled to be in the classroom on campus again until Spring 2021, by which point I am confident that it will have become clear that masks are irrelevant to fighting the so-called pandemic that shut down 2020. I’ll wait. I know, it’s ridiculous. Do you remember March 2020, when we were told the lockdown was going to last for two weeks, so as to flatten the curve and enable the hospitals to set up sufficient emergency wards for patients with the “novel” coronavirus that had descended upon us like a bat? That was a lifetime and more ago , and we are still trying to “flatten” the curve.  Except that the curve flattened, the emergency rooms stood empty, and everybody is still wearing masks, including those who were never

The Myth of the Flat Earth

Once upon a time, everyone with a proper education knew that once upon a time everyone believed the Earth was flat because they didn’t have “science.”  Fact.  My colleagues in academia say it all the time. Here is my University of Chicago colleague Rocky Kolb , the Arthur Holly Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, saying it in his 2006 Aims of Education Address to our entering first-years: The fact that you have been admitted to an elite university is evidence that you know a lot. Although you know a lot, hidden among the things you think you know are things that ain’t so. It’s the same for us all. I can’t say what you know that ain’t so, anymore than I can say what I know that ain’t so. I only know we all have unknown knowns. I’m sorry, we all do.  For example, it was once known that Earth is flat, it was once known that Earth is the center of our solar system, it was once known that the solar system is the center of our galaxy, and it was once known tha