Rant Addendum

It is so, so, so, good to hear from you FK. Yes, I am supposed to call you, and yes, I keep bloody forgetting to do it at a time when you would be home (i.e., the evenings...it's always daytimes, like now, I'm sitting around working from home). But you are on my list, brother. I miss the few times we had before you moved, and hope your children and wife are all well.

And Doug, you know, thanks. It seemed at first like a little commercial, but your site is useful and interesting. And I would agree with some of those who post there, the Great Christians series is far from my fave...but it introduces me to Christian history I don't know and stimulates further reading. I want to read St. Anthony and the sayings of the desert fathers, and the rule of St. Benedict, two things I would not even be considering if I hadn't heard the course. There is a stress on the development of personal spiritual experience, and I need to hear that very much; the successful Christian life is not about having all the right ideas. As someone else notes at your site, Luke Johnson is a very good lecturer. He writes well, but his lectures on the gospels and Paul were completely first rate. So far, he is my fave.

Anyway, I love the Teaching Company stuff...I am merely glad I get to borrow it from the library and don't have to pay for each one as they are quite expensive.

And as rants go, of course, today I feel better. I had been sick all last week and pretty isolated, even with the holidays. Yesterday, showing up at school, looking at my students faces, being in a room full of human beings...well, it felt good to have company :) I still want to move down the hill when we can, when my son's education and the odd housing market cooperate, but the stars up here, the air up here, they are amazing. I have to enjoy the beauty while I have it. Someday I'll walk out into my front yard and be lucky to find Polaris.

I remain frustrated at work, feeling like I am not contributing enough outside the classroom (and why do I beat myself up over that!), but if I do not have opportunities clicking for me there, I seem to have them coming up other places. I believe I mentioned I met at the diocesan convention the woman who coordinates campus ministries in the town where I teach (there is a University and several community colleges) and now I am having dinner with her and meeting with the Board in a few weeks to see what they are up to. They offer free student housing, semester or year long intentional student communities which stress community service and spiritual development. I think that is fantastic. It would have changed my life completely at that age. I am willing to help them any way I can. Since everyone in my parish is pretty much over 60...being able to work with college students will make a nice balance if anythings comes of it :)

Well, this is all I have time for now. I did read the first third of so of Mark again as I begin moving through the NT. Part of me really wants to take my time, read slowly and reflect (like the monks do...something I wouldn't know apart from the Great Christians course). Without doubt, the Markan document remains the greatest historical puzzle in literature; I really think I can assert that. It is a long list of miraculous events, placed smack into apparently real geographical and historical time, with, as LTJ notes, "uncanny" details from the events themselves (the words Jesus used in Aramaic, the cushion in the boat he was asleep on, the reactions of the religious leaders) which seem to present a first hand origin for at least some of the material. More troubling for me, we get demons! Demons who talk...I have no idea what to make of that, but am certainly willing to withhold judgement on the historicity of any and all of Mark for certain moments on the intellectual level.

On the spiritual level, the level of the inner man...I again hear the Voice. Even though Jesus doesn't say much in Mark! What he does say! What he does do! The utterly real reactions of those around him! If ALL we had from the four gospels, I mean ALL, was the account of the healed paralytic...the man lowered through the roof. Here the Son of Man forgives sin, heals, elevates himself over the religious cultus...that alone would still be studied and read.

But I am getting ahead of myself...jotting notes for something I hope to write in then future to friends who have plenty to do besides read my notes.

Be well, all, my love to each and every. And God's peace to each, as much as we can know it in this difficult and fragile world.


Anonymous said…

I'm glad you liked the forum. If it can relieve any of the stress we all have in our lives, it will be a success. I do think education is the key to the future of the planet, and The Teaching Company is certainly inspirational in that respect.

best wishes,

Doug van Orsow

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