Essays and Articles

Trading Up

I recently read an article written earlier this month by Kristina Grob, a professor at South Carolina University, and published in America, the Jesuit Review. In it, she argues for the usefulness of philosophy degrees in the workforce – hence the title “Want a Good Job? Major in Philosophy.” The article comes in the wake … Continue reading Trading Up

The Statues Can’t Speak

It’s becoming clear we’re in the throes of a national crisis. And the conversation surrounding race and racism has completely nullified all other conversations. It’s not in the spotlight – it is the spotlight. It’s the sociological filter of every piece of communication, new and old. Perhaps there is still a presidential race going on, … Continue reading The Statues Can’t Speak

curses of our fathers

Every time a murder happens which is touted as racially motivated, many of us re-enter the conversation about racial relations in America. Maybe it’s a conversation we should have more often – hopefully it doesn’t take killings to get us to the table. says slaves were brought from Africa to America for use around … Continue reading curses of our fathers

Impeachment Questions

I used to think of really smart people as walking encyclopedias. But I’ve come to believe that’s entirely wrong. Really brilliant people are more like very powerful calculators. They have the capacity to consider a question and produce a good answer. Instead of a huge collection of facts stored and waiting to be regurgitated, these … Continue reading Impeachment Questions

lead me from the wire

*image by Lisa Kew In Communication Ethics, our final paper required us to evaluate a communication act within the church – I chose the mentoring relationship. I’m think this is the most time and energy I’ve ever put into a writing project. As I spent countless hours researching and writing it, I would love for … Continue reading lead me from the wire

you are not enough

The crucible ended on Wednesday, or maybe on Thursday when the professors had to have our grades finalized. And finals week was mercifully over.Over the course of finals, I kept thinking about a billboard I drive past sometimes. It says something like, “the task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.” … Continue reading you are not enough

The Internet Shapes Mindset

How does the internet change the way you think and process things? In the following six paragraph paper, I argue that as the context of our personal life changes, our behavior and goals will change as well. I also reflect on the why Instagram and posting on this blog are not altogether healthy. *I send … Continue reading The Internet Shapes Mindset

the reason i write

I’ve written 85 WordPress blog posts over the course of about three years. And I’m finally starting to understand the point of it. In class, we’ve been discussing different approaches to communication as laid out by a guy named John Peters, a longtime professor at the University of Iowa. He describes communication as happening from one of … Continue reading the reason i write

The Lord’s Day

After church, someone in the circle brought up the age-old question, “So what are we allowed to do on Sunday anyway?” Being a student requires me to read and to listen to lectures for many hours each week. What follows are not my own ideas – but a condensed version of reading from Peter Scazzero’s … Continue reading The Lord’s Day

The Unforgivable Sin

This is the last essay I wrote this past semester. I had been planning to write about Jesus’ proclamation “blessed are the poor,” but this seemed more exciting. The Professor said my sources were pretty irrelevant, and I should have examined the texts more. I thought my sources were great, but he probably had a point. … Continue reading The Unforgivable Sin

my theory of everything

This is a story and my theory of everything – we all have one. This past weekend I went to Ohio for a wedding. After the singing, vowing, eating, and dancing were over, we went to The Book Loft in downtown Columbus. It had several floors and dozens of rooms with books on every subject imaginable. … Continue reading my theory of everything

a better place

When it comes time to go to a funeral, as we all must – life isn’t just weddings you know, what do you say? Do you say, “She’s in a better place now”? I’ve said that before, and today has me wondering if it’s true. I like asking people what they think we are, how … Continue reading a better place

An Ode to the Unspoken Arts

There is such a great ruckus made about “the arts”, that celebrated pursuit of beauty. And rightly so. In another year I’ll have an associate’s degree in arts, whatever that means. There is music, dancing, poetry, painting, filming, flailing…and a million more. But I have uncovered some others too. Lesser known, but quite useful and … Continue reading An Ode to the Unspoken Arts

The Philosopher King

This is an essay I wrote for philosophy class. We’ve just finished reading Plato’s Republic, which is basically Socrates and friends sitting around trying to figure out what justice looks like. It’s crazy to think that colleges are still teaching a book written before Christ was born – we’re talking 2300 hundred years ago. That’s a … Continue reading The Philosopher King

Concerning Idols

This is a paper written for my Sociology 101 class after reading Francis Bacon’s essay The Four Idols. Bacon was a philosopher from the 16th century who became frustrated with the science of his day: namely how deduction was no longer contributing to anything new or interesting. My paper is a summary and conclusion concerning the … Continue reading Concerning Idols

When the Man Comes Around

Written in blue ink: 9/3/18 Revised: 9/23/18 I’ve had the tale of Revelations, and Johnny Cash’s song, in my mind lately. Cash says it like this: Whoever is unjust – let him be unjust still, Whoever is righteous – let him be righteous still, Whoever is filthy – let him be filthy still, Listen to … Continue reading When the Man Comes Around

Huck Finn – Just as They Come

I’ve been reading Huck Finn for English 202, and it’s a wonderful story, at least until Tom Sawyer gets involved. He’s aggravating and really drug the thing on longer than necessary. But since I’ve been reading a story through Huck’s voice and thought processes, I notice that I seem to think to myself sometimes with … Continue reading Huck Finn – Just as They Come

The Handmaid’s Tale: A Book Review

This is an essay I wrote in Ms. Blank’s English 102 last semester on a book assigned to the class: The Handmaid’s Tale. The Handmaid’s Tale: A Dysfunctional Dystopia (3/29/18) Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale with considerably limiting self-imposed constraints in place. In the book’s introduction, she says she feared that the story would have a … Continue reading The Handmaid’s Tale: A Book Review

Spin Us Round

“Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you … Continue reading Spin Us Round


CRAZYTALK – Mat Kearney When Mat Kearney gave us his fifth album, JUST KIDS, in February of 2015, it surprised me. I distinctly remember listening through the whole album on a long ride home from Pennsylvania in March. The sounds on that album were starkly different than what I was used to hearing from him … Continue reading CRAZYTALK

The Oil Rigs

*cover photo is not my own. Yesterday in English class our teacher asked us to think of a movie that we watched as a child and then re-watched later and interpreted differently. And no, she said, I don’t mean that you just watched it again and got all the jokes that went over your head. … Continue reading The Oil Rigs

Seven Wonders of Ancient Ideology

I’ve been listening to Stephen West’s podcast Philosophize This! some lately. In Western Civilization 101 we were tasked with writing a seven ish page essay describing our own picks for the seven wonders of the ancient world. I decided to pick seven important philosophers. *Pro tip: use block quotes. (photo by David Krabill) *Pick 7 wonders … Continue reading Seven Wonders of Ancient Ideology

The Girl From the Purple Hotel

I don’t write very many stories. But the other day I was riding down the rode and thought of this one. So here it is, a long rambling parable about what I’m not entirely sure. 1/18/18 10:24 p.m. Westminster, SC “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowds in parables. He did not tell them … Continue reading The Girl From the Purple Hotel


In a rather unmemorable scene of a fairly unremarkable movie called “Chasing Mavericks”, Frosty tells the young man he is training to surf about watermen. These surfers, he says, are deeply acquainted with the ocean; they know that when a wave comes at them they will be able to make something happen. It’s as if … Continue reading Watermen

The Island

Javen Bear Professor Boyter English Composition 9/29/17 The Island We all have certain places that draw us back time and time again, or at least we ought to. These are the things in life that call us out of the routine and beg to be experienced. And we answer the call by going back time … Continue reading The Island

The Man in Black

This is a research essay I wrote for Ms. Boyter during the final days of my first semester. The picture was taken with a 35mm film camera and a self timer. Javen Bear Professor Boyter English Composition 101 12 December, 2017 Atop the Shoulders of the Man in Black The shoulders of Johnny Cash were … Continue reading The Man in Black

Time Takes Its Toll On Us

Ms. Boyter assigned us a cause and effect essay. Javen Bear Professor Boyter English Composition 1 10/11/17 Time Takes Its Toll On Us From essays to songs to cinematic dramatizations to social media, we are lovers of art and stories. It has been this way for a very long time. I’ll bet from the first day … Continue reading Time Takes Its Toll On Us