A Brief History of the Study of Religion at the University of Tennessee

I wrote this history of changes in the academic study of religion at the University of Tennessee: both macro changes in the climate where we worked and internal transformations within that climate.   The department faculty voted not to publish it, so I am posting it here.  I do so primarily to share the fruits of my labor with … Continue reading A Brief History of the Study of Religion at the University of Tennessee

12 (plus 1) Songs for Christmas: “When You Go Down” and “Starting Over”

"When you go down, all the children will sing. When you go down, the bells of freedom will ring. One two three four five six seven. John Lewis is gonna shout from heaven....When you go down." I've featured this before, but this is definitely the song we need for today. Thanks, grassroots Georgia organizers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCKoNBDpPRkContinue reading 12 (plus 1) Songs for Christmas: “When You Go Down” and “Starting Over”

12 Songs for Christmas: I Got So High That I Saw Jesus

 Little by little, I have come to a realization that (as a commentator on a youtube thread articulated it) “Holy shit, I think I’m a Miley Cyrus fan.”  It’s been a long time coming, and by no means implies interest in everything she’s ever done. If you think this sounds absurd, click on this link, … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: I Got So High That I Saw Jesus

12 Songs for Christmas: Dejlig Er Jorden (Beautiful is the Earth)

It turned out that the concert by Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum that I have been writing about inspired me to create not just one, but two new lyrics that are roughly “translations”—singable free paraphrases—from Danish. Both might possibly introduce some worthwhile music to culturally-deprived Americans.    Today's song triangulates with what I recently wrote … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Dejlig Er Jorden (Beautiful is the Earth)

12 Songs for Christmas: “River” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

Possibly my favorite Christmas song ever, which of course was written by Joni Mitchell. Performed here with worthy vocals but the real point is the song and the exceedingly fine jazz arrangement. Mike drop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1dsuUzJOBs Believe it or not, some of the other songs on this album are even better. This record is a must-listen … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: “River” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas in Washington

“It’s Christmas time in Washington, and the Democrats rehearse. Getting into gear for [an upcoming] year of things not getting worse. Republicans drink whiskey neat and thank their lucky stars. [Thanks to Senate minority rule, with Wyoming voters weighing 68 times more than Californians] There’ll be no more FDRs.” So said Steve Earle, more or less, … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas in Washington