Category Archives: Religion

Espinoza v. Montana

So, the Supreme Court is hearing a case called Espinoa v. Montana Department of Revenue. It’s about whether a state can refuse to provide religious schools with the same per pupil support (typically, seven or eight thousand per student, though … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform, Religion, Trump (Don the Con) | 3 Comments

History of Ideas: Background to Puritan and Pilgrim Protestantism in North America

For some 1,300 years, from roughly 300 to 1600 CE, the Catholic Church, headquartered for most of this time in the city of Rome, was the most powerful institution in the Western world. It was the ultimate spiritual and temporal … Continue reading

Posted in Religion, Teaching Literature and Writing | 4 Comments

How to Change a Lightbulb, an Ecumenical Guide | Bob Shepherd

Amish: What’s a lightbulb? Buddhist: The brokenness of the bulb is in the nature of things. By renouncing the desire for fixing the bulb, you can release yourself from the endless cycle of changing bulbs only to have them break, … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Religion | 1 Comment

Anachronism, Historical Fakes, Cults, and Scriptures

An anachronism is something inappropriate to the time and place being described. A momentarily famous recent example is the Starbucks coffee cup accidentally left on a table in a scene from Game of Thrones. Here are a couple others: In … Continue reading

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Bobu and the Missionaries

Three Mormon missionaries came to the hermitage of the monk Bobu. They wore clean white shirts and $10.00 ties from Walmart. Each was extremely earnest and exceedingly well scrubbed. Though no more than nineteen or twenty years old, they referred … Continue reading

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The True Gospel of Thomas the Apostle | by Bob Shepherd

Prologos This is the true book of Thomas the Apostle as spoken unto his scribe regarding those events to which he was witness in his youth. Let none be tempted by some fleeting end to take away from the words … Continue reading

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Ideas Matter, Exhibit 1: The Horrific Legacy of Christian Neo-Platonism

The Christian Church grew up mired like a fly in treacle in the utter darkness that was Platonism–the sick, world-and-life-denying doctrine of Plato, who split the universe down the middle, into an airy-fairy spirit world “up there” and a contemptible … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Dumbest Idea Ever

St. Augustine was obsessed with sex. He thought incessantly about getting laid. At the same time, he believed that his desires were sinful. In this he wasn’t much different from a lot of sanctimonious Repugnican moralists today. We know all … Continue reading

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Unlearning a Western Pathology

The philosopher Peter Van Inwagen suggests that we humans are very good at physics and very bad at metaphysics and that this might be due to the ways in which our minds are constructed–that we might simply be blind to … Continue reading

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Play and the Origins of Art

In the middle of the last century, anthropologists discovered something surprising: supposedly “primitive” hunter-gatherers like the Aborigines of Arnhem Land, in Northern Australia, and the !Kung San of the Kalahari, in Southern Africa, spent only about 20-something hours a week … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Poetry, Religion, Teaching Literature and Writing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment