These are some of my favorite reads over the past few months. If you’re still snowed in the lands of endless winter, enjoy the cozy & thought-provoking reading time!
A glut of PhDs means long odds of getting jobs by Brenda Iasevoli. (aka the reason I returned to public school teaching)
Adjuncts and other nontenured faculty now make up three-quarters of college and university teachers. As this shift has taken place, there have been growing complaints that they work for lower wages than their tenured counterparts, and and that they lack access to health care and other benefits.
The tall task of unifying part time professors by Kate Jenkins
In a generation growing up glued to screens, acting out the heroics of animated, one-dimensional men and plastic women, I want our boys to learn what it feels like to be a hero, rather than just to play one. I want my daughter to wear her beauty on the inside and all three to build with their hands and not just pixelated blocks.
Admiring our children may temporarily lift our self-esteem by signaling to those around us what fantastic parents we are and what terrific kids we have — but it isn’t doing much for a child’s sense of self. In trying so hard to be different from our parents, we’re actually doing much the same thing — doling out empty praise the way an earlier generation doled out thoughtless criticism.
To my children, called in childhood by Laura Kelly Fanucci
“she reminded me that my calling as a mother is to introduce you to the wide world and the God who created it, so that I can help each of you learn how you are called in turn.”
11 things I love about the Episcopalian church by Ben Irwin
At the altar, we all kneel, as Lindsey Harts put it. We all receive what we cannot do for ourselves. We all confess our weakness—that even the gifts we bring were God’s gifts to us in the first place. We all receive the same body and blood.
We need to do a lot better at cultivating and embracing diversity in our midst…but the altar is as good a place as any to start.
The universe and my aquarium by Philip Yancey
I keep the aquarium as a reminder. When writer’s loneliness sets in, or suffering hits too close, or the gray of Chicago’s sky and buildings invades to color my mind and moods, I turn and gaze. There are no mountains out my window, and the nearest blue whale is half a world away, but I do have this small rectangle to remind me of the larger world outside. Half a million species of beetles, ten thousand wild butterfly designs, a billion fish just like mine poking around in coral reef—a lot of beauty is going on out there, often unobserved by human eyes. My aquarium reminds me.
We attend an Episcopal church. Twenty years ago, most of the Christians I knew thought there was little true faith to be found in the Episcopal church, what with its rote prayers and female priests and politically liberal congregations. I understood, too, because I’m a mother, and I am beginning to see how impossibly fraught with emotion and responsibility and prayer and vulnerability it is to watch over your child’s spiritual formation.
Bell’s been doing something braver than most of the pastors overseeing churches in this country would ever do, yet the same thing that so many in their congregations wish they would do. He’s admitting the real questions that surface in the excavation of deep faith. He’s looking to separate what in this religion is of God and what is of us. He’s asking why we believe what we believe, and asking believers to do the same.
How real people make shades of real love by Ann Voskamp
None of us ever know whom we marry. And falling in love never made anyone angels… it’s only made it clear how far we’ve fallen. Who we say ‘I do’ to — is not who we roll over to touch twenty years later. The challenge for the vows is to fall in love with the stranger to whom you find yourself married.
Picturing Love: The stories behind 8 indellible images by Jessie Wender Stunning photos from National Geographic photographers that capture love.
The proper weight of fear by Rachel Pieh Jones
“In August 23, 2012, before reporter Austin Tice disappeared in Syria, he wrote for The Washington Post, “No, I don’t have a death wish—I have a life wish. So I’m living, in a place, at a time and with a people where life means more than anywhere I’ve ever been—because every single day people here lay down their own for the sake of others. Coming here to Syria is the greatest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s the greatest feeling of my life.” We had a similar life wish, and it propelled us forward.”
Known as an intensely private man who loved to chop wood and drive his second-hand Toyota Yaris around the Vermont town of Brattleboro, Read didn’t strike locals as the type of guy who had a lot of money to throw around. When the 92-year-old passed away in June, most Brattleboro residents were shocked to learn his estate donated $4.8 million to the local hospital and $1.2 million to the town’s Brooks Memorial Library.
Why we need to slow down our lives by Pico Iyer
As I travel the world, one of the greatest surprises I have encountered has been that the people who seem wisest about the necessity of placing limits on the newest technologies are, often, precisely the ones who helped develop those technologies, which have bulldozed over so many of the limits of old. The very people, in short, who have worked to speed up the world are the same ones most sensitive to the virtue of slowing down.
The most ignored commandment by Nancy Sleeth
Our generation is the first in 2,000 years of church history that is on the go 24/7. But this experiment in Sabbath-less living is taking a huge toll. It’s called time debt. We overcommit. We multi-task. We stay so busy we don’t have enough time for relationships with family and friends, let alone God.
Thoughts from a recovering racist by Josh Throneburg
“Please, please, please don’t say things like, “Race doesn’t matter – we are all just human” or “Race isn’t the issue here”. Race matters. Race is the issue. Being black is the issue. Being white is the issue Skin color is the issue. And to suggest that these don’t matter devalues the life experience of racial minorities as well as makes you someone they know doesn’t understand – and they can’t trust.”
The rise of biblical counseling by Kathryn Joyce
On Christian blogs and websites, complaints about biblical counseling are starting to accumulate: of abused women counseled to discover their role in their husband’s domestic violence; of molested children declared healed after a one-time, 45-minute counseling session. Biblical counseling has also been cited as a contributing factor to scandals at several prominent conservative Christian colleges.
“There is perhaps nothing we modern people need more than to be genuinely shaken up,” wrote Jesuit priest Alfred Delp in his essay The Shaking of Advent. “Where life is firm we need to sense its firmness; and where it is unstable and uncertain and has no basis, no foundation, we need to know this too and endure it.”
This – both the firm and the unstable – is what the Ferguson headlines, the #blacklivesmatter statements, and yes, even my tiring-teens reveal. Some of us have been living unshaken for far too long.
Recently, I’ve started reflecting on the ways that I’ve experienced healing and growth in the midst of the deeply broken places. As I ponder, I remember quiet lives of reconciliation lived with a steady faithfulness and unwavering commitment to heal this deeply broken piece of God’s kingdom.