Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Reading John Adams

Portrait of John Adams,
painted by Asher Durand
In my grad school years I made it quite a sport to criticize American politics, particularly foreign policy. I also became convinced that the Enlightenment was a boogeyman (and the logical next step of the Reformation). Being trained in an Anabaptist-Mennonite seminary with a heavy dose of Stanley Hauerwas in the water no doubt was the primary motivator for this.

So it's with some surprise that in the past two weeks I've found considerable pleasure reading two works of Revolutionary American history and biography, both by David McCullough. First I read 1776, which focuses primarily on George Washington and the military battles of that year, and I'm now mid-way through his biography of John Adams.

Inspired by a few of Adams' philosophical thoughts quoted by McCullough, I made my way into reading Adams' brief letter/essay, "Thoughts on Government," written in April 1776. It would later serve as a reference point for his writing of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (still active), itself a model for the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America. So this is quite an important little document in American political thought and practice.

Having read a bit of moral and political philosophy over the past few years, this kind of essay is juicy sweet brain food for me. A few thoughts as I read through it...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


From Toledo, IA
Not that many if any people would notice that it's been quiet here on the blog for the past few months, but in the off-chance that someone has noticed, I figured it would be good to offer a small note on what's been going on in my world...

In late 2013 I started a hobby of roasting coffee at home. I fell in love with it instantly, and very quickly started roasting for friends, family, and neighbors in our small community.

Perhaps somewhat hastily last year, I gave the hobby a name, Ross Street Roasting Company (the eponymous street being where my garage/crude roasting facility faced). My local hobby/unofficial business grew modestly and I thought, "Hmm...this could be something."