• Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

    A blog that tries to find intelligent things to say about religion and related subjects.


  • Hallowed Be Thy Kane

    Hallowed Kane

    Watching the alien burst from Kane’s distended abdomen as he appeared to have eaten too much seemed somehow appropriate on Thanksgiving. Read more

    Posted on 23 November 2012 ENVIRONMENT
  • Holy Gobblers

    Holy Gobblers

    I wonder if this is how religions get started. Yesterday President Obama continued the lighthearted tradition of pardoning two turkeys prior to Thanksgiving. Read more

    Posted on 22 November 2012 POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Gonad Make Disciples

    Gonad Make Disciples

    The funny thing about authority is that when it counts those who have it are often afraid to use it. So yesterday the “mother church” (if that honorific still... Read more

  • Under the Influence

    Under Influence

    A news story over the weekend—when oddball stories of religion are welcomed by the media—revealed that a judge in Muskogee County, Oklahoma sentenced a youth... Read more

    Posted on 20 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • After the Gold Rush

    After Gold Rush

    The morning I flew to Chicago for the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, the headlines in the morning paper were... Read more

    Posted on 19 November 2012 POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Dreaming of a Black Xmas

    Dreaming Black Xmas

    By my best reckoning, Thanksgiving has not yet taken place this year. Since Halloween, such as it was, is now over, we must still be in November. Read more

    Posted on 18 November 2012 POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • AAR/SBL Chicago

    AAR/SBL Chicago

    On just about any playground you’ll spot the kid who’s watching from the side, instead of playing with the others. That’s me. I don’t suspect that anyone... Read more

    Posted on 17 November 2012 POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Night of the Johnstown Flood

    Night Johnstown Flood

    Floods always have a whiff of old Noah about them. I first heard of the Johnstown flood from a minister who has had a profound impact on my life. Read more

    Posted on 16 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • The Hunter


    Orion seems to have tripped in his journey across the sky last night. I can remember being told of generals falling in battle, and now I hear how they fall in... Read more

    Posted on 15 November 2012 RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY
  • Say Can You See

    Remakes of classics. It is my sense that a classic has earned its place in its own constellation for a reason. Remakes seldom attain the je ne sais quoi of the... Read more

    Posted on 14 November 2012 ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, RELIGION
  • Bedrock


    Sadly it is a rare occasion to read a truly stupendous book. There are lots of wonderful books in the libraries of the world, great and small. Read more

    Posted on 13 November 2012 BOOKS, POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Star Tract

    Star Tract

    Over the past few years my wife and I have been watching the episodes of Star Trek (original series; please, we are connoisseurs). Read more

    Posted on 12 November 2012 ENTERTAINMENT
  • True Colors

    True Colors

    I’ve been on the losing side of my share of elections (although it feels like far more than my share), but I’m amazed at the character of the GOP that has come... Read more

    Posted on 11 November 2012 POLITICS, SOCIETY
  • Gitche Gumee

    Gitche Gumee

    Up on the rugged western shore of Lake Superior the lamp atop Split Rock Lighthouse will be illuminated for the only time this year tonight. Read more

    Posted on 10 November 2012 CULTURE, HISTORY, SOCIETY
  • November’s Vampires

    November’s Vampires

    It may have been the year without a Halloween here in the northeast coastal region of the United States, but it looks like some of the spirit has persisted... Read more

    Posted on 09 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • True Myth

    True Myth

    A friend of mine, I am glad to see, has started a blog. I’ve mentioned K. Marvin Bruce (“Marvin”) before on my blog, but his situation is such that job and... Read more

    Posted on 08 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Substance of Faith

    Substance Faith

    Every once in a very great while, faith is rewarded. I’m not talking about the faith that is bound up in black leather, inaccessible to realists who struggle... Read more

    Posted on 07 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Vote!


    “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Election day is upon us and my mind goes to V for Vendetta. The movie is about oppressive regimes and, more... Read more

    Posted on 06 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Hard to Digest

    Hard Digest

    Sweeny Todd has never been one of my favorite shows, but the dark humor and gratuitous bloodshed made it seem somehow appropriate as a November movie after a... Read more

    Posted on 05 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Lessons from Sandy

    Lessons from Sandy

    While many are still without power and school is cancelled for an unprecedented sixth day in a row, the eastern Mid-Atlantic states are still recovering from... Read more

    Posted on 04 November 2012 RELIGION, SOCIETY