Sunday, 2/7/16

  1. In Nothing We Trust
  2. Religious Haiku
  3. “Same God” kerfuffle continues


Jeff Greenfield closed Friday’s PBS New Hour with an essay that could have been (and may have been) titled “In Nothing We Trust.”

Much of it was a collection of statistics on how trust in every institution — church, government, public schools, news media — has dropped dramatically over 40 years.


But then he got my attention: How hard it is for any candidate to make the case that he (or she) should be trusted.  And what fertile ground for a candidate to who demagogues recklessly, not plausibly seeking trust at all, on destroying untrustworthy stuff.

I thought that might fit at least one recently high-flying campaign.


In whimsy, I assume, Rod Dreher posted a “Episcopalian Haiku Bleg,” with a couple of Haiku he’d read (one reader, steeped in the lore of Haiku, threw cold water on them as true Haiku) and one he created:

As Palamas said:
‘Barlaam, you Scholastic fool,
Hesychasm rocks!’

Thus primed, the fun began in the comment boxes. Here’s one I could have related to 19-20 years ago, as I was quietly in transition to Orthodoxy:

The band starts to play
Oh, please no, not “Awesome God”
Life has no meaning


Solomon’s wisdom
Should be taught to the children
But his song should wait

A playful 2016 Orthodox Haiku:

Lent is late this year.
The groundhog saw his shadow:
Six more weeks of meat!

Finally, my own original contribution (composed in my bathtub last night), with which I’m well pleased:

St. Andrew of Crete
Loaded his Canon with Types
Volleys of mercy

Here’s the background.


78 Wheaton College professors have signed a statement of support for Professor Larycia Hawkins, the Professor who got in trouble for affirming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. (On the substance of that equivocal question, I’ve weighed in and see no reason to recant what I wrote.)

Coincidentally or not, Hawkins is African-American. (I say “coincidentally or not” because racial bias can be very subtle and unconscious. There’s an insufficiently famous Bible verse that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”)

That she also donned hijab in solidarity with Muslim women who wear it is a red herring (of that, I’m convinced; but see the former parenthetical) that mainstream media cannot resist putting in the first sentence of every story.

Anyway, here’s the statement:

We have carefully examined the written theological statement that Professor Larycia Hawkins submitted to the Wheaton College administration on December 17, 2015. Our judgment is that Professor Hawkins has not failed to affirm or model the Wheaton College Statement of Faith or Community Covenant.

We therefore ask Provost Jones to revoke Dr. Hawkins’ administrative leave and withdraw his recommendation for Dr. Hawkins’ termination-for-cause.

Included were at least a half-dozen theology or Bible Professors. Here’s Dr. Hawkins’ statement. It’s nearly four decades since I was unequivocally Evangelical, but I’m having trouble seeing anything out of bounds there.

I could play “if this, then that,” but the bottom line is that Wheaton isn’t big enough to afford having 78 disgruntled profs. Countervailing consideration: in this age when many are quite unhinged about Islam, how many donors are disgruntled?

I’d hate to think that John Brown University 1969 (scared witless by a 20-year-old Conscientious Objector) = “the Evangelical Harvard” Wheaton 2015 (scared witless by Islam?).

UPDATE: Reports Sunday morning that Professor Hawkins will not be disciplined, with rumors of a backroom deal where she’ll leave anyway. I wish I had recorded my hunch that this would be the outcome.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.