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Dancing for My Life, Part 1

By Tony WoodliefJuly 1, 2015

So here we are. Gulya instructs me how to turn Maggie without trampling her. You have to take short steps when she is turning, she explains. Yes, the dance has a structure, but we have to accommodate ourselves to one another. Dancing isn’t just steps, it’s you and your partner.

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Prayers in the River

By Tony WoodliefJune 11, 2015

I am not the kind of man who routinely stands hip-deep in anything, but the kids are still asleep, and I need to pray somewhere—God knows—so here I stand. The water is frigid and it soothes my feet, sore from stumbling over stones to rescue my lure. All I’ve caught in this damned river are rocks.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos and the Megachurch

By Tony WoodliefApril 8, 2015

My suspicion grows apace with the slickness of a presentation. This is one reason I squirm in a megachurch. PowerPoint slides, emotion-tugging video clips during the pre-game show, music crafted to feel edgy and relevant—my skin crawls like I’m about to hear a sales pitch, which I guess I am, which maybe isn’t so bad for God-seekers who aren’t inveterate curmudgeons.

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Science and Faith: an Evolving Conversation

By Tony WoodliefFebruary 24, 2015

We are at a gathering of scientists, religious leaders, and people who write about science and religion. We are discussing how people in these often counterposed domains can collaborate for the betterment of mankind.

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Scientific Passions

By Tony WoodliefMay 23, 2014

The nerd world felt a slight disturbance in the force a few weeks back, when the hottest new science popularizer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, argued that philosophy yields little value compared to science. The widely quoted statement that drew ire from philosophical types was Tyson’s observation, in response to someone’s admission to having been a philosophy major: “That can really mess you up.”

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Motion Pictures

By Tony WoodliefApril 24, 2012

I like movies because other people do the talking and they don’t expect you to say anything clever in reply. Also, something usually happens. I’m suspicious of mass culture, but I’ll say this for the masses—they mostly won’t tolerate two hours of some whiner going on about how exquisitely the world has wounded him. They…

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The Flaws We Bear

By Tony WoodliefApril 3, 2012

Maybe you are in love with a girl. Maybe she is too young for you, or you are the wrong religion, or you have a terminal illness, and so you will grieve her more than would otherwise be the case, which in itself is no small thing. Maybe each time you tell someone about her,…

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Offending the Experts

By Tony WoodliefJanuary 26, 2012

I read that famed biologist E.O. Wilson provoked a tempest by claiming a genetic basis for social cooperation that has the politically unfortunate side-effect of undermining a widely embraced explanation for the persistence of homosexuality. If he’s right, we’re stuck with an uncomfortable reality that homosexuality is a choice, or a learned behavior, or something…

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By Tony WoodliefNovember 22, 2011

I recently began a writing experiment, because most days it feels like my words are blood, and the world is filled with vampires. They want replies to emails, and responsive words to their words in meetings—sweet precious Christ, the endless meetings—and then there are the documents that must be meticulously edited each time any human…

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By Tony WoodliefNovember 1, 2011

My eleven year-old, Caleb, asked me one afternoon if he’d ever cheated death. Caleb likes adventure books. He believes that even though people in Kansas don’t talk the way Johann Wyss and Jules Verne wrote, phrasings like “death-defying feat” and “brave young hero” are common parlance. I remember when that ended for me. It was…

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