Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
The fact that this is my third blog post in less than 12 hours should be some indication of just how overwhelmed and unmotivated I am by the messy material world I inhabit.
- That if you know something about the geography, the Hebrew Bible comes to life in a new way ~
- That our task is to make the confessional bridge from ancient words to contemporary life ~
- A few of those words in Greek and Hebrew ~
- And quite a bit about how to explore the texts originally written in those languages ~
- And to be grateful for commentaries written in English ~
- That we should have all started with at least a basic philosophy course ~
- That the memorization of sermons is not one of my things ~
- A little about how to engage with theology ~
- And a little about how to write a theological paper, thanks to a handout provided three weeks before graduation after three years of blundering around ~
- That John Calvin and Ignatius of Loyola had both more and less in common than I had imagined ~
- That both Roman Catholic and Reformation writing on sin, grace, and freedom are far beyond my capacity to comprehend ~
- That Miroslav Volf might offer me a way back after intolerable loss ~
- That, as I suspected, I am a pre-beginner wading in the shallow end.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Thanks to the focused attentiveness brought on by my picture taking, I checked out the words over one of the side doors. I don't think that I had any idea that there were any words there at all, which only goes to show how completely oblivious one can be ~ walking in and out of a door over a period of 25 years and having NO IDEA that its designers or builders wanted you to understand its significance in a particular way.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning-whimper
and she's there.
Do not be stolid and silent with your pain.
and let the milk of loving
flow into you.
The hard rain and the wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.
-- Rumi, A Year with Rumi (May 5)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
- My day started with a trip to a Pittsburgh Toyota dealer, brought on by a scraping squealing crunching noise in the brake system last night. Nothing major wrong, but all the minors will add up to major bucks. Have to take care of it; don't want to drive the 135 miles home tomorrow night feeling like the car is on the brink of collapse.
- Spent the rest of the morning working on my final very last ever paper on Miroslav Volf's views on memory and forgetting. Personally meaningful due to encounters and dialogue with my Jewish students of years past and my own recent history. I have now reached the happy point where you realize somewhere in the middle of a project that you have absolutely no idea what you're doing. Except that I think I have come around to his theory that we will in the new life ahead forget all the bad stuff and that that will be a good thing. Our loss of memory will not destroy our identities but will create us as new beings. What do you think?
- Brightened up at seeing a friend at lunch but the presence of other not-well-known folks at the table constrained conversation considerably.
- Went to my last Hauerwas class, which I am auditing, so got to listen to other people present their ongoing papers. The professor passed around Hauerwas' new autobiography and noted a couple of hours later that I had become completely absorbed in it. Oops. Well, Hauerwas is an engaging writer and I appreciate very much his ecclesial promiscuity.
- Now I am going for a long walk in what has become a gorgeous day, and then I guess it will be Volf till midnight. Look for me taking FB breaks!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Today: Seeing someone for spiritual direction, getting my hair cut, maybe going to mass. Maybe not, as it has been something of a distraction lately that I cannot receive communion there. OK, more than a distraction. Last week I left in the middle. It's been a haven for me for nearly two years, but not right now.
Tomorrow: two church services, at one of which I am preaching. That means I have a sermon to finish.
Monday: a long and challenging meeting.
Tuesday: a quiz, which means I have some studying to do.
And then: everything cleared with a week left in which to write my Volf paper, which is pretty well planned. If no one gets sick or hurt or dies, I am in pretty good shape.
I've been thinking a lot about what I've learned in seminary. Three years, lots of lectures and discussions and tests and papers. Here are a couple of the big things:
Professor in casual conversation: When I preach the gospels, I usually steer clear of contemporary illustrations. The stories pretty much tell themselves. When I preach the Epistles, then I use a lot of illustration.
Professor in class which I am secretly (and "illegally," as it turns out, auditing): The text itself is thin and underdetermined. What theologians do is fill in the blanks, of which there are many.
Notice the contexts in which I heard two of the main things I am taking with me.
Eggs consumed. Onward. Or downward, to the basement where laundry awaits.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I grew up out in the country, in an area on the edge of Appalachia in which many people lived in extreme poverty. Although my own family owned a thriving business, I was aware of the conditions around me to the extent that a first-grader could have been, because I rode a bus every day and so saw the homes of many of my schoolmates.
This particular day was cold and dreary. I'm guessing it was November. Some of the local children came by, selling raffle tickets. Because they were on my bus route, I knew who they were, though they were all older than I and none of them were in my room at school. Their house was actually visible from ours in the winter, across a couple of corn fields, but they would have had to walk at least a mile down their road and up ours to reach our door. Not an unusual walk or bike ride in those days, although I was too young for it at the time.
My mom bought some tickets and turned back to her housework, and then she began to cry. "It's freezing out there," she said. "It's freezing, and those children are not wearing socks." She grabbed a box and began to stalk through our bedrooms and basement laundry in fury, grabbing socks and sweaters and whatever else looked useful. Then she got into her car and drove away, and came back and said nothing more.
I seldom think about my mother. When she died, which would have been just under a year later if my sense of time is at all accurate, there was little discussion and no encouragement whatever to hang on to memories. It was a different era and the adults in my family, I realize now, all went a little crazy. But I wondered, this past week-end, whether Josh might be alive if his grandmother had lived. Because maybe she was a person who knew how to see things and how to take care of them, and maybe she could have taught that to me if we had had more time.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
In the meantime, in order to satisfy that particular urge, I thought I'd take a look at some churches which are, at least at present, outside my geographic range.
<<A stave church is a medieval wooden church with a post and beam construction related to timber framing. The wall frames are filled with vertical planks. The load-bearing posts (stafr in Old Norse, stav in Norwegian) have lent their name to the building technique. Related church types are post churches and churches with palisade walls.All of the surviving stave churches except one are or were in Norway, but related church types were once common all over northwestern Europe.>>
Saturday, May 8, 2010
~ by Mary Oliver
I went closer,
as well as friends.
was nowhere to be found.
but how you carry it --
when you cannot, and would not,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
also troubled --
(Imagde here: Geese over Galway Bay by Monasette.)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Karen -- days ago -- put a terrific video up about the value of camp for kids with cancer and their siblings.
The other Karen wrote about an amazing wedding: courage facing down challenge.
Cynthia wrote about her own courage, although it probably hasn't occurred to her to call it that.
Magdalene continues to post the most wonderful sermons, all of which I plan to print out and put into a binder and plagiarize. I can't see any reason to bother with my own when she does all the work so eloquently.
So yes, I am reading. There's a lot that I haven't mentioned in the way of wonderful blogging. But I am a bit overwhelmed. There is not much time left, with graduation looming there are no extensions, and I have unbloggables to deal with.
Evaluate this. Evaluate that. Please. I am still standing; I think that's plenty. You really don't want the details.
There will be lots of time in a few weeks. I'll be back.