I Am Larry David: Are You Qualified to Teach Edition

Following the comments on Adam’s recent post, “Relationship Learning,” I felt compelled to tell this story.

I long while back, shortly after I began my Ph.D. program at Drew, I had a student formally challenge my ability to teach an introduction course to the adminstration of Laughable Community College, mainly because the student was caught plagiarizing twice in my course.  The dean took this complaint from the student quite seriously–I have stories about this dean to share another time–and she went through my file.  As it happens, no one asked me to provide transcripts to prove that I in fact have a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.  So she summoned me to her office and acted as if I was in big trouble, and they were going to withhold my pay for the summer course I was then teaching until I could provide an official graduate transcript.  She assured me that this had nothing to do with quality of instruction, but “we must take concerns about the faculty’s reputation seriously.”

Fair enough, I don’t have a problem sending transcripts.

So the transcripts came a week or two later, and I was again requested to meet to her office. Read the rest of this entry »

I am Larry David: Cooking with Jean-Luc Marion Edition

To add to the announcements of awesome publications by contributors of AUFS, I just completed the foreword to my church’s 200th anniversary cookbook.  It is the surely first church cookbook to reference Marion, and I am glad to have accomplished this before anyone else.  What better way to introduce a book of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes than with a word about “the saturated phenomenon?” Read the rest of this entry »

I am Larry David: Gay Marriage and “Julia” Ad edition

I am so tired of talking about gay marriage.  Maybe it’s the crowds I surf, maybe I am a pretentious elitist with the luxury of thinking about such issues critically, maybe it’s the denominational identity I have chosen, maybe it’s the denominational heritage I have been forced out of and later abandoned myself.  But I’m so tired of the conversation.  So here I go again on it.

I was in Washington, DC, at the Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity conference when President Obama announced his safe and disengenuous endorsement of gay marriage as a response to the North Carolina amendment passed just hours before.  There was an air of excitement around the conference, who were getting texts and tweets trickling in about the news on their $300 iPhones, and a few talks in the conference were on such radical ideas as acknowledging that gay people are in your community, and if they dare to show up in your church for some reason, you should welcome their children, etc.  Instead of peeing myself with excitement or sweating on the upper lip as these Reformed mainlers and wannabe hipster emergents were doing at the conference, I do what I always do, which is listen to the crazy people who host right-wing radio to hear what the Other Side is thinking, and the immediate response was “President Obama is making a non-issue an issue.  President Obama is using this issue as a smokescreen to avoid talking about his record.”  Is this really the best conservatives can come up with, to claim that the President keeps bringing the issue up while celebrating their own legislation being passed in North Carolina?

In the last couple of months I have been in some fairly involved conversations with church based or faith based groups about gay marriage.  People don’t believe me when I say that I am honestly tired of talking about it.  Folks think I have something to hide about it by just being tired of talking about it.  Yet here I am, to repeat, talking about it more. Read the rest of this entry »

I am Larry David: Good Friday, Weddings, “Is Interim Ministry Biblical?” Edition

My spouse always says to me, “You are Larry David” because of the weird situations in which I often find myself personally, academically, professionally, ethically, vocationally, and pastorally.  I’ve decided to share some of these experiences. 

My Good Friday began with a phone call from a bride for a wedding a couple weeks from now calling to ask me to lower my wedding fee because they found someone willing to officiate their ceremony–using my liturgy, of course–for much less than my typical fee.  This isn’t the first, or even the fifth time, this has happened, it’s kind of common, and I always immediately ask who the other minister is and then remind the beautiful bride that in most cases these ministers who find brides and try to underbid their pastors aren’t legally able to sign wedding licences in Pennsylvania.  Read the rest of this entry »

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