|No, this is not an image of a bear eating poo.
If you visited this blog during Lent, you could actually hear the crickets chirping.
Indeed, unplugging from social media might have helped my mental wellbeing. But my pageviews plummeted from their already modest numbers.
So now that I am back to Facebookistan, I thought that I would give a rundown of my posts over the past few weeks. This probably violates the spirit of my exercise in electronic abstinence. But I have to resume my bad habits some time. Might as well start now, and build up for Lent '18....
"In Shape, Out of Shape, and Ursine Urban Legends"
"Shape" is a ubiquitous word in the runner's lexicon.
In general, it's used to signal a state of fitness in the past, present, or future.
"When I was in college, I was in great shape."
"I wish I was in better shape right now."
"I just started a new training program. I should be in good shape soon."
Indeed, "in shape" and "out of shape" are the extreme ends of the runner's fitness continuum. Our position on this line is always changing, and entirely relative. [Continue]"Ever Heard of the Clericus Cup? Me Neither... Until Now"
The Clericus Cup. It's a soccer tournament played at the Vatican. Most of the participants are seminarians, so it's known as the "clerical equivalent of soccer's World Cup."
Yea, I've never heard of it either.
That is, until my friend Janelle Peters submitted an article about the tournament for the edited volume that I am working on, Gods, Games, and Globalization.
She also recently published a very interesting piece on the cup over at Paste. [Continue]"Football Kisses?"
Tom Herman coached football at Houston before he moved on to take over the Texas program. Back in the fall, with his star clearly on the rise, a news story grabbed my attention.
"Tom Herman kisses all his players before Houston games"
Really? I thought that there had to be a catch. Something other than a coach's lips making contact with his players heads, necks, and cheeks.
No catch. Just kisses. [Continue]"That Moment When The Philadelphia Love Run Lived Up To Its Name"
Running creates family bonds. The struggle to finish connects people from all different ages, abilities, and backgrounds. On the course, sometimes things go well and we can celebrate together. Other times stuff goes sideways. And when that happens, we are comforted by the fact that we are not alone. [Continue]"Putting a Price Tag On Service To The University?"
FEVER: A Forum Engaging Values, Education, and Responsibility is a blog run by my friends at the Society for Values in Higher Education.
Last month, they featured a lively exchange by my SFU colleagues Bill Strosnider and Denise Damico on community engagement and the liberal arts. You can read their contributions here and here.
This month, I wrote a piece that looks at how we value--and don't value--a professor's service to the university. [Continue]"Limbic Politics, Then and Now"
It all started with a news story about violent protests at a university after a cancelled talk.
"Who is this speaker?" I wondered. So I Googled the name and discovered that he is a celebrity among the "alt-right" crowd. As a self-described "provocateur," he delights in ridiculing the norms and standards of what he considers to be liberal America.
It's a strategy that has drawn him widespread attention, but has also led to his downfall. He recently resigned from Breitbart News after crossing a line that no one around him would dare to tolerate.
I watched a few videos of this fast-talking political pot-stirrer. I resolved quickly that we are mistaken if we try to find some logical consistency in his positions. He transgresses for the sake of transgression. He trades in outrage. He prods, he pokes, and he laughs a dehumanizing laugh.
In other words, this is limbic politics. [Continue]"Sin Boldly! Or Bold-ishly..."
"Sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ more boldly still," proclaimed Martin Luther.
It's one of those phrases that I have probably seen before, but is only now sticking with me. I came across this when re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship.
For Bonhoeffer, Luther was certainly not saying anything like, "Go forth and sin, because nothing that you do or don't do will secure your salvation." Nope. There's more of a challenge embedded in this injunction. It's about plainly and honestly acknowledging our shortcomings, and trusting in the power of forgiveness. [Continue]"'All people are strange in different ways'... Rest in Peace, Ed Whitlock"
My heart sunk when I learned that Ed Whitlock had died. If you are unfamiliar with this remarkable athlete, read his obituary over at Runner's World. It begins...
Ed Whitlock, the Canadian runner who rewrote the 70+ record books and forever altered conceptions of human endurance performance in older age, died on Monday in Toronto, not far from his home in Milton, Ontario. . . . Just last October, at 85, he ran 3:56:33 at the Toronto Marathon, becoming the first in his age group to break 4:00 and taking 28 minutes off the previous 85+ record.
Indeed, that marathon he ran last October put Whitlock back into the headlines. At around that same time, I drew upon Whitlock's life and example to organize an address that I gave to a group of cross country runners.
Here, then, are my 3 "Whitlockian Wisdoms" [Continue]"A Big Day for SFU Men's Basketball!"
This past Saturday, the Red Flash won a thrilling playoff game. And then they showed up on ESPN. Check out "the shot" if you haven't seen it already (it's at the 2:24 mark).
Now it's on to the NEC championship game against Mount Saint Mary's. I'm traveling to Emmitsburg tonight to watch. If SFU wins, they head to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991. So it's been a while.
But beating Mount Saint Mary's will be no small task. The Flash are 0-2 against the Mount this year. Still, we have some serious momentum headed into this game and a surprisingly good record on the road. [Continue]"Spring Break Means.... Making Tofu?"
Guess what I did? I made tofu. Really. [Continue]"On Quieting the Chatter"
It's day one of my social media fast.
I signed off last night, not before learning that my friend Doug Thompson will cross the Tiber and join me in this Lenten exercise. In his words, Doug hopes that the time away will help him to "figure out my writing practice and clear my head of the chatter."
The chatter. Yes, the chatter. [Continue]