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Learning to Love the Unlovable: Being Schooled by Students

Our students are often our best teachers. Their actions often expose the ungodly perspectives and habits that have accumulated on us like barnacles on a ship. I encountered two stories while coding interviews from Baylor students that reminded me that I have some barnacles from difficult experiences about loving the unlovable.   If I had been…
August 5, 2021
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How Southern Honor Corrupted American Higher Education: A Christian Critical History and Alternative to Honor Codes

Universities, including Christian ones, have become quite comfortable with what some might describe as the “virtue” of honor. Although we may instinctively classify it as a favorable trait, honor—as it exists on college campuses today—has a troubled backstory. What is more, today’s faculty and administrators who esteem honor may not know about its contentious history.…
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A National Experiment in Ignoring Fathers

Betrayed. That’s how Olga, an education official responsible for moral upbringing in the Soviet Ministry of Education, felt after the downfall of communism. In an interview five years later, she shared with me her devastation: For many years, I had been sure that I was doing exactly what is needed. I was horrified when I…
June 18, 2021
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Fallen Scholarship in the Ivory Tower: Resisting Simple Dichotomies

Last month I wrote about the Fall and what it means for Christian scholars, institutions, and the Church. Of course, the Fall also requires that we deal with bad arguments and replace them with better arguments and understandings. In a January Chronicle of Higher Education article about “Bad Religion in the Ivory Tower,” the secularist…
May 17, 2021
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The Tragic Academic Neglect of Mothers’ Impact: And a Christian Remembrance and Call for Change

We cannot count on academics to study the most important realities in our lives (versus the latest academic fad). Motherhood is one of those important realities. Noble Laureate and University of Chicago economist James J. Heckman recently made this astounding observation, “hat we don’t have—and to me, it’s an amazing deficiency—we don’t any good economic…
May 7, 2021
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Ordering Our Evils: The Chinese Genocide of the Uyghurs

Editor’s Note; In this series on academics and the Fall, I have focused on the consequences of the Fall for Christian scholars in general, Christian scholars’ view of time and liberal arts education, but in this final post, I want to talk about the consequences of the Fall for our academic agendas regarding evil.  Christian…
April 28, 2021
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Liberal Arts Hesitation: Being Honest about a Weakness with Liberal Arts Education

Editor’s Note: In this column and the two following I’m going to discuss how Christian scholar’s should have a different view of time and decision-making regarding current events. Unfortunately, scholars often confuse what events need an immediate decision or pronouncement and what needs patience and additional knowledge gathering before a decision.  As a Christian higher…
April 20, 2021
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Professional Scoffers: The Vice of Academics

Happy are those Who do not follow the advice of the wicked, Or take the path that sinners tread, Or sit in the seat of scoffers; Ps. 1:1 (NRSV) Editor’s note: the theme of my earlier blogs have related to creation and our creation-based identities as individuals (e.g., imago dei) and professionals (our need for…
April 13, 2021
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The Identity We Don’t Celebrate: Being an Excellent Enemy

And there is a second commandment, which seems to me even more incomprehensible and arouses even stronger opposition in me. It is: “Love thine enemies.”                                                                                     Sigmund FreudSigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents Trans. and Ed. James Strachey (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1961), 57. “…while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the…
April 6, 2021
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Identity Excellence and Not Identity Politics Should Be Our End

Although I am a college professor, I must confess that my most important education during college did not come from professors. As an undergraduate majoring in history, political science, and religion at Rice University, I had some great classes with outstanding professors—one even won a Professor of the Year award among faculty for the entire…
February 9, 2021
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Our Blog Team’s Top Faith-Learning Books of 2020

At the end of a busy and tiring semester, I asked blog contributors if they had a favorite faith-learning book of the year.  I received suggestions from a variety of blog authors and disciplines. A book by a professor from Rice University (go owls), Elaine Howard Ecklund, received Ruth Bancewicz and Clay Carlson’s votes for…
January 7, 2021
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Christian Scholarly Creativity: A New Year’s Assessment and Call

For the first post of the New Year on the Christ Animating Learning Blog, I think it is important to assess how far we have come with regard to Christianity and higher learning. We should certainly rejoice in the fact that, by God’s grace, Christians have created hundreds of Christian educational institutions around the world.…
January 4, 2021
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A Christian Appraisal of Academic Titles

I have been thinking about academic titles this past semester (as is evident from my blog post at the beginning of the academic year and my Ph.D. student’s post yesterday about his experience of my experiment).  How fitting, then that the semester should end with the twitter-stirring controversy sparked by an op-ed about the academic…
December 17, 2020
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Gratitude Needs Direction

For Christians, most virtue words do not actually describe virtues unless they are directed properly. To put one’s faith, hope, or love in the wrong being or thing is actually a vice and not a virtue. That’s why when attempting to measure Christian virtue, it is always hard to find appropriate psychological scales. Hope in…
November 26, 2020