Birthday Update

About This Logbook

I turned 34 this month. In the words of Anthony Hopkins, “I’m compelled to say, whoever’s running the show, thank you very much.” In many ways, I feel like I’ve already lived many lives. I won’t elaborate on what that means, except to say that this brief period of time feels packed with so much.

Anyway, to the boring stuff…

My article “Owning Up to It: Why Cooperatives Create the Humane Economy Our World Needs” was recently published in the Fall 2020 edition of Faith and Economics. The original call for papers was for an AIER initiative conference. My paper was rejected for the conference (perhaps predictably, given some of its anti-neoliberal/capitalist arguments), but accepted in the Association of Christian Economist’s academic journal, F & E.

Abstract: The negative outcomes of industrial capitalism and neoliberalism continue to grow in the twenty-first century, causing many social scientists to look for solutions and alternatives to the status quo. Major ideologies gravitate towards collectivization and statism on the one hand, and anarcho-capitalism and the “commodification of everything” on the other. There is, however, a growing movement towards decentralization by democratization. This article examines worker’s cooperatives and the framework behind the cooperative movement (distributism and anarcho-socialism) as a robust solution to the central problems of our economy. Worker’s cooperatives, while still not common in many industries, are both theoretically sound and have been concretely tested.

The article is one of the more significant I’ve written, despite having only 3 months to do it from start to finish. (It apparently broke a record for footnotes in the journal at 204; I didn’t expect that). It’s one of my few pieces of scholarship that has wide-reaching implications, is contemporarily relevant, and (of course) shamelessly subversive. It also marks my move away from individualist, neoliberal libertarianism towards more syndicalist, systems, and socialist thinking. I’m doing lots of follow-up reading in economic history and labor movements that has been quite eye-opening. I just don’t understand how I’ve been blind and deaf to the plight of workers for so long—given that I like to think that I’m an advocate for the oppressed, needy and vulnerable. It undoubtedly has to do with getting wrapped up in other ideologies, and swimming in the ignorance of various privileges.

Next month will see the publication of a book that I published under my imprint (Hills Publishing Group) and essentially co-authored, The Five Ls: A Practical Guide for Helping Loved Ones Heal After Trauma (with Shawn Banzhaf). The book is the first work published under my imprint that is written by someone else, so that’s exciting to launch. Shawn has a heart the size of Jupiter and charismatic energy like the sun, and currently works as the Senior Military Advocate for the veterans center at ASU. He has already been lecturing and doing interviews on his simple approach to helping the traumatized live more normal lives. The book was really collaborative; Jessica wrote chapter 3 (she dictated the text and I wrote it), and Jodi (Shawn’s spouse) copy-edited and provided other feedback. Jessica and I enjoyed visiting them last week in AZ—and delivering their new pup Maizie, a Scottish terrier that hails from Chadron, NE (where Shawn and Jodi used to live). They were first friends with Jessica, so that’s how we met (now about six or seven years ago). Anyway, the Banzhafs do amazing work in improving the lives of others, wherever they are at, and I’m so happy to apply my skills in publishing to support that. (I’m also glad they live in Phoenix, so we can go down there for a short vacation when it’s -22 in Rapid City, SD, like it was last week!)

Next month will also see the publication of some book reviews in three or four journals, an article on 20th century philosophy for Pro Rege, and an article about a Greek idiom for The Bible Translator that took way too long to write (10-15 years?). I’ll specify more details when they arrive.

I’m excited about this harvest that has been years in the making! “I don’t like writing; I love having written.”

I’m scheduled to speak (virtually) on cooperatives for the 2021 Annual Academy of Religious Leadership conference, which is themed “Religious Leadership for the Common Good.” I’m currently filling out a proposal for AAR in San Antonio in November. I was at the same conference and place with some friends in 2016, which was really fun (except that Jessica couldn’t make it because of flights). I first saw and encountered Cornell West at that event, which, yeah, sort of changed my life like he has others. He’s currently being denied tenure at Harvard because they consider him “too risky.” Good for West, I say…

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