Thursday, September 28, 2006

Odds and Ends

First off, I would like to thank my friend Eric Abercrombie for his generous gift and lovely card. Eric (AKA: Enyak, "Token Protestant Friend", father of the child-who-should-be-named-Rahner) and I did our MA's together from 2002-2004. United by Spirit and common enemies, we laughed our way through our time of studies. My best memories of graduate school seem to involve Abba Enyak as we tried to process Process theology, struggled with Rahner, learned of Abba Antony despite the blither of Brother V, and ate more pizzas and drank more coffee than I care to think about! Eric is grand scholar, a fine representative of the great state of West Virginia, and I am honored to call him my friend.

In his honor I include this picture. First, it shows that I do and can work (Recall: I do manualia as a Jesuit). Second, it commemorates the day Eric and I cleaned the backyard of Joan "The Boss" Nuth, a faculty member at John Caroll University. This was, as I recall, after the term had ended so our grades did not rest upon her satisfaction!

Now, on a more aesthetic note, I went last night to see the Broadway production of "The History Boys." I had not heard of this play until Howard Gray mentioned it and, as he cited it as brilliant, I figured I should check it out. Drew and I purchased Student-Rush tickets for $26.50 and went to the 8:00 show.

In a word: tremendous. There were so many beautiful and touching aspects of this play concerning the battle between a teacher who holds as ideal the "learning for learning's own sake" and a school's administration who cares only that "what" is known look and sound as good as possible. At heart is the struggle between how we view knowledge: is it that which enriches and enlivens our souls and spirits, informing and defining us as persons, or is a commodity to be quantified and brokered in order to "get into" a school or find employment.

I could write for a long time on this, but I haven't the time. If you are able, please see this's transformative. One of the more arresting scenes took place at the end of act one and I leave you with Hector (the idealist teacher) and his remarks:

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

Perhaps in these lines I find the reason I write what I do...that my hand might grasp yours, that we might realize that we're never as alone as we think we are.

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