A Skeptic’s Hope

As both a cynic and a skeptic, I find hope a particularly challenging commodity to find, especially in recent months. As an atheist I don’t have faith to fall back on or to justify hope. But I do find hope, against my cynicism and despite my skepticism, not because history teaches me that we are inevitably moving toward justice, not because I have faith in a divine being who will ensure it despite human failings, but because the alternative is despair, and we deserve better. My work developing a social justice major, my writing about the problem of evil, and recent events in our country have me thinking about hope a lot lately—searching for hope, really. This essay is a reflection of my thoughts on how I came to choose to hope.

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The hard realities of reduced “bandwidth”

There’s a good chance you have been feeling overwhelmed by the mounting stresses of COVID-19, the uncertainties of the next academic year, and the social unrest in the U.S. over the past few weeks. Perhaps you have said to yourself or to others, “I just don’t have the bandwidth for this.”

Cia Verschelden, author of Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization, turned her attention last week to the fact that many of our colleagues across the country are “not OK.”

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Vocation, Art, and Activism: Parker Palmer and Carrie Newcomer

Do you have students who agonize over how they can justify living-college-life-as-usual when so much is so wrong in the world? Likewise, do you find yourself conflicted about how to teach when your heart is troubled by hatred and violence directed at vulnerable groups, by the state of division in our country, and the degradation of our planet?

If so, the concert of song and spoken word by Parker J. Palmer and Carrie Newcomer at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College would have inspired and strengthened you. If you weren’t there, here are some reflections from someone who was. Continue reading