The final episode of this season’s Callings podcast features a conversation with Rainn Wilson, who is best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on The Office. Rainn is an actor, producer, writer, and cofounder of the media company SoulPancake. His most recent book is Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution.
“Live in the present moment as if there were nothing to expect beyond it.” When I first encountered Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s Abandonment to Divine Providence and his relentless insistence on attention to the present, I thought him quite impractical; as teacher and parent, I always had to consider the future. Then COVID hit. As cherished plans crumpled and the future became a blank, de Caussade’s words became as practical as sanity: This moment is the only moment we have.
At the same time, we are educators, and while John Henry Newman is right that there is a knowledge that is a treasure in itself, we are also in the business of preparing students for life after graduation. Listening for a vocation suggests hearing a call to somewhere else, to something not yet present. This post will discuss attention to the present as key to discerning that future vocation.Continue reading
A reflection on the legacy of Doug Schuurman
Do you know the kind of person who has a calming presence—they may not talk much, but their simply being in the room has a quiet effect on people, making them feel more comfortable in the group, curious about the people around them, eager to see the best in each other, willing to be vulnerable?
One of the delights of returning a few years ago to my alma mater, St. Olaf College, has been reconnecting with my faculty members. The ones who inspired me as a student still inspire me as a colleague; the ones who intimidated me still intimidate me. But that quiet presence is something that holds me more in awe now than it did then.Continue reading
Jacqueline Bussie shares her top ten insights for what makes life worth living.
If you have never met Jacqueline Bussie, then you should just skip to the video clip below so that you experience her uniquely exuberant form of wisdom. Jacqueline is the Director of the Forum on Faith and Life and a professor of Religion at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Her book Love Without Limits (Fortress, 2018) was declared a “must read” book for Christians by Publisher’s Weekly. Her book Outlaw Christian (Thomas Nelson, 2016) won a 2017 Gold Medal Illumination Award for Christian Living. She has been an active member of NetVUE for many years, including speaking as part of a panel at the pre-conference gathering at the American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego last November.
Jacqueline recently recorded a short video slip (26 minutes) in which she shared her “top ten” thoughts about what makes life worth living. The video is part of a series put together by the Living Well Center for Vocation and Purpose at Lenoir Rhyne University, where Mindy Makant is the director.Continue reading
“We hear a lot of chatter these days about the importance of resilience in higher education — now more than ever as COVID-19 continues to disrupt the lives of students. I’ve come to find it an insipid concept.” These are the opening words of a provocative short essay by Piedmont College professor Carson Webb which appeared recently on the Australian Broadcasting Portal (ABC)’s Religion and Ethics portal. Titled “Against Resilience,” Carson goes on to describe an encounter with a young man named Emilio whose life story helped him reconsider the much-touted virtue of resilience.Continue reading
I remember reading a long time ago that there were fifty different words in Eskimo languages for snow. I tried to imagine how to tease out nuances in texture, timing or other qualities that would be of significance. But I realized that the words were linked to Inuit cultural experience, and I came up short.
This exercise came to mind recently, after someone asked me if I was optimistic about the resiliency of American democracy amidst the current tidal wave of polarization and disruption. “No,” I replied, “but I am hopeful.” That set me to pondering the differences between pairs of related words. The distinctions I make are surely idiosyncratic as well as culturally bound, but some seem important.Read more