Greetings, and welcome to those who have found their way to this site.
I have no experience at blogging, so I’m not quite sure how to begin. But a bit of autobiography seems in order. Like David, I’m a law professor – I teach criminal law and criminal procedure at Harvard – and also an evangelical Christian. That puts us in a pretty small, and maybe pretty weird, demographic. I’m also a political junkie and a registered Republican, though I’ve cast as many Democratic votes as Republican ones. I’m interested in all those things – law and legal theory, crime and criminal justice, everything about American politics and political culture, the culture of evangelical Protestantism, and the intersections of various items on that list. David has a similarly broad set of interests – plus, he’s an uncommonly smart and interesting guy. Which is why blogging together seemed like a good idea.
I have one more pair of interests worth noting in this initial post. For the past eight years, I’ve lived with chronic pain in my back and right leg. The pain is constant now, and severe. Recently, another medical condition has joined that one: I have colon cancer – a piece of unpleasant news I learned about ten days ago. I’ll have surgery this week, probably followed by chemotherapy. These days, back and leg pain is joined by a lot of pain in my abdomen: sometimes, I think everything hurts. And I’m very, very tired.
I want to write about those things, partly because the writing is therapeutic but mostly because the nasty worlds of cancer and chronic pain are mysterious to most people. The latter is no mystery to me, and the former is becoming less so with every passing day. One thing I’ve learned about suffering over the past several years is that it’s all subjective – pains are like snowflakes; no two are alike. My experiences aren’t representative and they aren’t important, save to me and those close to me. But I think, maybe, they offer a window into a world that a lot of people never see. It’s an ugly world. But seeing it is important, if only because so many of us call that ugly world home.
Let me add my welcome to Bill’s welcome above.
Like Bill, I’m an evangelical Christian and a law professor. I teach courses in corporate law and bankruptcy at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as occasional classes in related (and not so related) areas like Christianity and law, debt relief, gambling, and law-and-literature. Like Bill, I’m also a bit of a political junkie.
Our blog’s title– Less than the Least– is taken both from Ephesians 3, where the Apostle Paul calls himself “less than the least of all God’s people,” and from Genesis 32:10. We use the phrase to signal that we claim no great insight or wisdom on the topics about which we write. Like everyone else, we are stumbling about in the dark, trying to find bits of truth where we can, hoping to participate in a conversation that leads to understanding. And trying to have some fun along the way.
We do not expect to be posting multiple entries a day as some blogs do. More likely, we will post several times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. We may occasionally invite guest bloggers to take a spin, but mostly it will just be Bill and I. No doubt we will sometimes disagree, but we’ve found over the years that, on the matters of faith, law, politics and the arts that we’ll be writing about, we agree far more often than we disagree. This is another reason that starting this blog together seemed like a good idea.
I’ll be handling many of the logistical details of the blog, such as posting comments and linking to other writings. So feel free to direct any logistical questions to me.