I keep returning to this problem in my head over and over. I wrote this essay as a reaction to our annual academic competitions at my college. The topic was "progress." And yet, time and again, I didn't see any students ever questioning the notion of progress itself (someone may have, but I didn't see [...]
I wrote this article last year about how the biblical authors thought about conspiracies. You can read a free version of the whole article over at christianitytoday.com.
I challenged 80 The King's College freshmen to a 7-day digital fast from phones, digital media, and screens (where possible). I had them reading my book Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments (table of contents below) and writing reflections each of the 7 days. After reading 560 of their daily reflections as they detoxed [...]
At The King's College, we have a house system and each house has a namesake. Since I began teaching here in 2011, I have constantly wondered what to think and do with some of our namesakes that have mixed histories. Now, this has become a more pressing topic in our community and, of course, the [...]
I have written two books on ritual, both about what's going on with rites in the Bible and in the church (the academic book and the book for normal people). That doesn't make me an expert, but it means that this is not just another "hot take." The things I said below caused many people [...]
Go HERE to listen to this 20-minute interview with Father David Dwyer about my book Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments.
“You know, I just saw a really insightful TED talk, and I can't really remember what the guy said, it was more about how it made me feel . . .” —Butcher Boy, Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Excerpt from "When Rites Go Flimsy," in Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments: When TED [...]
According to an expansive survey of commanders across the US Army, the number one problem identified with new soldiers out of boot camp was their entitlement. This seems to be related to other complaints: "lack of obedience and poor work ethic as well as being careless with equipment, uniform and appearance." Additionally, they found that the [...]
Dr. Jonathan Pennington interviewed my colleague Dr. Erin Heim and I (for Cars, Coffee, Theology) about our roles in co-hosting the OnScript Podcast. Ironically, neither Erin or I were involved in founding the podcast (Thanks Matt B. and Matt L.). It's a great Youtube channel and fun to see Erin's annoyance at the thought of [...]
If you listen to our podcast (OnScript), then you already know some of the books I've been reading. But here are the standouts in no particular order (and note that I still haven't read 50% of the books on my desk right now): Fascinating and compelling books for normal folks: K.S. Prior, On Reading Well: Finding the [...]
(An excerpt from Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments, ch. 9 "Riting Our Wrongs") "We know that all Christians in the early church celebrated Easter, and that Jesus commanded us to celebrate other rituals like the Lord’s Supper. But the birth of Jesus was not celebrated—either by Jesus or his apostles. And [...]
If you're in New York City on February 28th and want to attend, you can sign up for tickets HERE.
Steve Martin from the National Council of Churches interviewed me about my forthcoming book with Eerdmans: Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments (available for pre-order on Amazon.com). Click HERE to listen to the interview. As someone who co-hosts an author-interview podcast (OnScript), I was very impressed with Steve. He had clearly read the book—not [...]
The Question of God's Perfection: Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud Series: Philosophy of Religion - World Religions, Volume: 8 Editors: Yoram Hazony and Dru Johnson In this new volume from Brill (edited by Yoram Hazony and me), Jewish and Christian scholars explore arguments for, against, and perpendicular to the idea that God [...]
Just prior to every semester, the excitement grew. As an undergraduate, I knew that I was going to sit in a room with an expert over fourteen weeks. I knew, no matter what the topic, that I was going to change, hearing age-old terms popularized in culture with new ears—a new grasp, with depth, of [...]
It's always a humiliating task to ask colleagues (and sometimes friends of friends) to read a book manuscript and say something nice about it. It's basically saying, "Can you read this, but don't grade it, and then celebrate me in writing?" That's not weird at all, right? I was honored by the folks around the [...]
My talk at EarthX 2018, the largest Earth Day expo in the world. It's only about 20 minutes long. https://youtu.be/vBO-knV2n5E?t=32
I'll be teaching the Pentecost term course at the Theopolis Institute at Beeson Divinity School in May. Here are the details for anyone in the Birmingham area (or willing to drive): Course Description (May 13–15, 2019): “Ritual” is a universal way of describing human activity. All endeavors—technological, scientific, familial, and so on—are concerned with who can [...]
Our student success director had a brilliant idea: get staff and faculty to talk about their failures and how they dealt with them (in a well-crafted 2-minute video). As it so happens, I keep my diplomas framed behind a wall of framed rejection letters (as you can see in the video). Every once in a [...]
Even when distractions are controlled for, laptop use might impair performance by affecting the manner and quality of in-class note taking.1 By The Rev. Dr. Dru Johnson When studied side-by-side, computer note taking is clearly inferior to handwritten class notes. For most of us, that’s really all we need to know. But for some of us, we [...]