Showing posts from October, 2009

Morning Excitment

I awoke this morning (just about two hours ago) to discover that my article "Recovering Rahner's Concept of Being in Spirit in the Word" has been made available to me in its pre-publication format. According to the email I received, it will shortly appear in the early-edition of New Blackfriars Review, although the day that it will hit the streets in paper format is still unknown (when it was accepted for publication, I was told that there was a bit of a backlog and that I should not expect to see it printed until May or July of 2010). That I can see it what it will look like when it does come out, however, is really exciting to me.
I'm especially excited that the publication lists my institution as "University of Detroit Jesuit High School." We have our Open House here at the school this weekend and I think its funny that we can boast having an internationally published theologian on our staff!
What excites me most about the publication is that it confirms …


In his extraordinary little book The Courage to Be, the great Protestant theologian Paul Tillich describes anxiety as "the existential awareness of nonbeing." Another way of putting it is to describe anxiety as "finitude, experienced as one's own finitude." Anxiety is common to all humans who realize their own limits, their own finitude, their own mortality. Anxiety, furthermore, is to be distinguished from fear. Whereas anxiety is the general threat of non-being, fear as a specific target or "a definite object, which can be faced, analyzed, attacked, endured."
I have experienced two bouts of anxiety and fear this week. The first I would associate with hitting the big "3-0" birthday. One of my seniors kindly - and jestingly, I hope! - graciously offered to organize a birthday gathering for me, and said that he'd be happy to bring "a handle" as a gift. I declined, of course, and it has taken me some time to sort out exactly what…

Since I don't have children of my own to brag about...

...I give you my niece Emma and my nephew Quinn!

Feast of the North American Martyrs

Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Noel Lalemant, John de la Lande, Noel Chabanel, & Rene Goupil
Pray for us!

Since 1994, my freshman year at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, I've taken a special pride in today's feast day. On this day, the Church recalls the missionary zeal of these Jesuits who gave their lives in order to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.
It also happens that October 19th is my birthday. Today I celebrate my 30th year on earth. As I think on it, I can remember distinctly my 10th and 20th birthdays and I suspect that my 30th birthday will be no less memorable: it is, after all, my first year teaching at U of D Jesuit and we have an all-school Mass today. As sappy as it sounds, I can hardly think of a better way to spend my birthday. (Well, a day back in NYC with friends would be nice)

Am I Depressed?

I have been meaning to share this story but I've just not had the time to post it. This took place several weeks ago:
Following Test #2 with my sophomores, I felt it was time to have a "Come to Jesus" talk with my classes. Leading up to the test I had provided not only a study guide (from which I developed the exam) but also three of the four short-answer questions and the long essay question that they would have to answer. Indeed, I had even written on the board the answers to the short-answer question. In short: I gave them all of the information necessary to do very well on the test, all they had to do was to study.
Well, some of the guys did brilliantly. Others....well, not so much. Since it was early in the semester, I wasn't too worried: there was, and still is, plenty of time for student to turn their grades around. But I wanted to have "man-to-men" sort of talk, making sure that they understood my expectations of them.
So I sat down on one of the desks…

A New Generation of Jesuits

I just learned that a piece written about me by Canisius College magazine has been published on the web. If you follow this link, you can see the .pdf version of the story. It's an old picture, sadly, one taken almost three years ago. Nevertheless, Eileen Herbert (the author) did a great job on the story. I am especially gratified to see quotes by Father Ben Fiore, SJ, who was a great role model for me during my time at Canisius, as well as Father Michael Tunney, another visible Jesuit on campus.

Homecoming 2009

Let me begin with a caveat: I know that I'm a huge nerd. A nerd for Christ, to be sure, but a nerd nevertheless. I do think there was a time when I could have been popular, when I could have been cool. But then I started to play the accordion and, well, the rest is history.
I mention this because the attached picture is yet a further testament to the fact that I am an unabashed nerd.
This year's Homecoming theme was "Greek Week." Earlier in the week, the moderator of the Student Senate sent out an email asking the chaperones to consider wearing togas to the dance. Wanting to show my school spirit and my support of the students, I acquired yesterday an inexpensive toga (the alternative was a centurion's costume that had an opening at the midsection. While I have been working out, I don't think the world is quite ready to behold my abs). Well, didn't I feel like a fool when I showed up last night only to discover that I was the only chaperone wearing a toga.…

Thought Provoking!

I want to call your attention to a finely wrought piece my friend and mentor Father Terrance Klein, associate professor of theology at Fordham University. In his essay entitled "Neverland Awaits," Klein reflects on how the life of Michael Jackson may be interpreted as a parable, a story that exposes the tension between the way we do live our lives and the we we ought to do so. He concludes his reflection with the following paragraph:
Michael Jackson became a great star, but did he do that by being himself or by becoming what others decided he should be on the basis of commercial calculation? If Jackson is our future, if his career says something about our prospects, should we rejoice in a brave new world, where we use modern technologies to create ourselves, or fear for our souls, because they can be bought and sold for profit?Klein's piece and the question he raises at the end reminds me of a description I once read of the post-modern condition: that we live out our live…

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far...

This week (Thursday evening and Friday morning) presented yet another first in my regency experience: Parent/Teacher conferences.
Going into the experience, I thought that we would meet with the parents in our classrooms. With this thought it mind, I ran to Target the other night and bought enough wrapping paper to cover my bulletin boards three times over. Between 7:15 am and 8:45 am on Wednesday, my classroom was transformed from a cell in Attica to a hybrid mix of Martha Stewart (the major bulletin board is tastefully done) and Pope Benedict XVI (a lot of Catholic art up on the board).
Let's just pause for a moment to reflect on what the hybrid of Martha Stewart and the Holy Father would look like.
**Shudder** Prada shoes. **Shudder**
Moving forward.
Well, I was wrong about meeting parents in the classroom. Instead, we met in the Commons - a large room adjoining the lunchroom. Tables were set up along the perimeter and parents could line up to meet with teachers.
The only analogue …