Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't Touch Them!!!!

Well, I didn't do to well with my blog pledge. Thus proving that I am no writer. Sigh. But instead of despair, and in spite (in the truest meaning of that word) of my approximately 5,000,000 (rough estimate) pages of reading I am supposed to be doing for this week, I thought I would write another one.... I still have a nagging feeling this is all futile - but then, so is life.... (mid-semester always does this to me - I don't wear well at school).

I am, in addition to being irresponsible, also annoyed and depressed about the latest liturgical dumbness. The bishops in the area have all decided all of a sudden to command (temporarily they say) the cessation of all human contact within the liturgical assembly, and the banishment of the cup from communion. Not that this is in any way detrimental to the intrinsic spiritual value of said event, or of any lasting liturgical importance, but it got me thinking about how it is getting increasingly rare to actually TOUCH another human being you aren't direct family with. I have my own doubts about the seriousness of the H1N1 epidemic - it seems they have declared wolf-flu once too often lately. But even without the fear of a deadly contagion the normal advice for pastoral workers nowadays is to avoid all touching of any kind of those we minister to.

I can't help but find the irony of having just canonized Fr. Damien. Or of the number of times Jesus touched those he ministered to, and don't tell me Jesus didn't sometimes catch a nasty cold from the unwashed masses. Either you believe in the incarnation or you don't. But in the interest of safety we are now reduced to giving the vague nod of peace to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Something's wrong here. I am not a touchy person, but even I am beginning to wonder what this hands-off approach is doing to us spiritually - especially the lonely and shy, for whom family members are hard to come by.

In academic news, I am having great fun trying to translate into English theological texts from their original English. Why is this? Although I have also rediscovered art - which probably explains my inability to focus on my readings like a good little divinity student should. It is just much more fun sometimes to sit in the sun and doodle. Luckily for me and for the kingdom, winter is coming....

That is enough prattle for now. If you feel moved to, I love comments (they make me feel all warm and special inside - and since I am not allowed to touch anyone, I need all the help I can get...)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Look! I wrote another one!

So, I said I would do it, and I have done it! The sad fact is, nobody cares. How sad.

Two more weeks of summer school - truly a purgatory for students and teachers... And I have the exciting responsibility of telling one of my poor charges they get to be a freshman again. I don't want to. I was going to tell her today, but she ran off too quickly. So she gets one more weekend of joy....

Here I stand, soon to be without job and housing - and yet I can't help but think I am not as worried about it as perhaps I should be. The grace of God working in my life, or the immature avoidance of responsibilities? I like to believe it is an expression of my enormous faith - but I am not sure I can get away with so great a tale... Still, I like to think God is looking after me. We shall see.

Perhaps the secret to this blog life is to let go of the dream of brilliance, and let the post end here. There is a deep spiritual truth in that I think. Well, perhaps not. But we'll try anyway. Good night sweet prince!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

About this Writing thing....

So it seems my prior commitment to do this blog thing has failed somewhat in these recent months. This I declare - made with typical bravado and pomp - indicative of a truly frivolous statement. I will attempt to do one of these things a week. We'll see how that goes. Besides, I have a month to relearn being a literate person.

Part of my silence has been my confusion about a rather central point. What is my role here? Not just in the meaningless world of theological lint, but in rather more important spheres. My life of late is a slow getting used to the path ahead. If that sounds a little cryptic, I don't care. I can't bring myself to be more explicit than that. Perhaps one day I will be able to accomplish so great a task.

I am nearly done with my year of exile, and I am both happy and sad to realize that. This year at the high school was something I was certain was beyond me, and that I was foolish to even try. I survived! I do feel most of my fellow tutors did a more competent job than I did, and that I am right to think my vocation is not to education. But I had fun, and I think some of my kids may actually have learned something they would not have known if they had not run into me. This is a pretty heady sensation. It is now time to say goodbye, and I am ready to return to the artificial world of education, and the full time search for my exact place in God's ministry.

In the interim, I must find a job and lodgings, and bring myself to complete financial ruining paperwork. God help me! I feel odd borrowing money to get a degree that will qualify me to get a job where poverty is certain, whether or not a specific vow is made to that end...

For those who are inclined, say a prayer for my precarious immediate future, and we'll see how long my new dedication to the blog goes...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Random Notage

Today during academic support, one of my students picked up the book I've been reading in an effort to avoid his Civics homework. It was Jim Martin's book, "In Good Company". He read about half a page of it, put it down, and without a word picked up his textbook. It was one of those beautifully surreal moments. I've been having a lot of them lately... My area of study don't get no respect.

I have gotten used to the college school year length, and am getting a little tired of this school year. Two weeks of classes left. On and on and on.... I think I have learned something very valuable this year. I have learned that I don't want to teach high school. I like the kiddies, its grammar I detest.

I was reading my local diocesan rag - the one I never actually subscribed to, so I'm not sure why it keeps showing up at my door... An editorial there about the utter evil of Obama argued that faith was the opposite of doubt. I have to wonder if this is true. I certainly hope not. Otherwise the world is getting one more faithless theologian, and do we really want that?

Now that my year long vacation from school is drawing to a close, I am both too excited to stand it to get back to being obscurely irrelevant, and dreadfully frightened that I have once more completely mistaken the direction the Spirit is leading. What does one do with an M.Div. in the end? Should I, instead of throwing many thousands of dollars into a black hole of education, go and start community gardens (despite my not being able to grow mold...) Here I have faith (trust) that the Spirit knows where she is going, but I also have several buckets worth of doubt about it. If you are completely certain, you are completely dead. I hope...

On the plus side, I am now an absolute wizard at finding the slope of a line!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

Despite the snow, let us participate in the ancient pagan rites of spring - renewed in the baptism of Love. Yet I am the first to admit I do not understand as I should. The Paschal Mystery - but I want the light. Jesus saves us. Just don't ask me how, why, or from what! I hope one day to earn the privileged right of understanding. Jesus saves us from our darkness, but where does the darkness come? Where does anything come, if not from God?

Love and life oozes from the world - from every barren, rocky wasteland. The presence of God in all creation, yet never completely permeating everything. There is darkness still, or so it seems to me. How did Christ save us from this? Or is it something else?

Regardless of all the chilly wind, and uncertain thoughts, I wish Easter blessings and new life upon all this year.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

blah blah balk sheep...

Here I am, playing with those pencils again...

Welcome to the dearth of time, February. Those calender nerds will point out perhaps that it is in fact January, and I will point out that in fact I didn't ask them, and then they will hit me, and I will hit them back - and then the chairs and statuary....

What I am trying to say is that such inflexible thinking leads to violence and war, and it is time to stop in the name of peace!

I hope I do not disappoint my loyal reader (hi mom!), but what can I say. In the absence of rigorous tutelage, my brain is slowly disintegrating and melting out of my ears. By the way, if there is someone out there who is not my mom you should drop me a note, make me feel less lonely. I don't imagine there is, but we can always dream...

This is, I suspect, one of those meaningless activities, without which our lives would be meaningless! The rituals, the great vaults, the darkened stained glass windows, the gilded tabernacles - none of these truly hold reality now do they? It all at times seems so terribly trite; tacky shadows of a much grander reality perhaps. Or perhaps not, perhaps it is just wishful thinking that makes us think that there is some grander version of reality out there...

Yet these gauche sacraments are made sacred by what they hold in trust. They give that grander reality a space a place to breathe - to dream - to live, and breathe, and have its being. That is why, roll our eyes as we might at all the silly little ceremonies, don't most of us still participate in them? The lights go out and we all sing "happy birthday". Someone sneezes and we say "bless you" Why? The only answer seems to be, "because...."

Well Mom, or anyone else out there - what do you think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

It is times like these that makes a person think of hell. You see, right now it is cold. Really, really cold. In fact its cold as .... well, you get the idea. I would be the first to admit I always had a problem with hell as a concept. Still, in the course of my high priced educating, I have come across some ideas that seem to make a little bit of sense.

The idea is similar to a camp memory from so long ago. On a night time hike I was at the end of the pack. I remember turning around at one point and seeing nothing behind me but blackness. It seems to suggest a possible answer. God is light. Hell is the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Turn your back on the light, you find yourselves in darkness. If, as I am coming to believe, theology speaks to us about our own human life in relation to God, rather than uncovering some abstract "fact" about God, than it makes sense that hell exists, and is created, within the human sphere. We have, as humans, one power given to us by God. It is the power to turn away, to, like Lot's wife, look behind us into the darkness.

This seems, to me at least, to make more sense. It does not mean it is true of course. There is no guarantee given to us by the universe that it makes sense to us, and I am certainly not one who may expect this kind of expertise, but we have come to expect a certain level of effability. Of course, following Blog rules, there need be no justification or sense to this blog either, much as the reader may wish for it. Cheers for now - I have to defrost my frozen sensibilities.