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Showing posts from June, 2011

Declining in Berkeley!

An intrepid crew of students - 7 Jesuits, one lay student - has spent the last several days slogging, clawing, and bargaining our way through Wheelock's Latin. As you might expect, each one of us is dealing with the trauma of "Intensive Summer Latin" differently. Indeed, each of us probably falls somewhere within the Five Stages of Grief and Loss


Denial - "Oh my God! I can't believe this man is actually expecting us to learn all of these vocabulary words plus the grammar. This is impossible...how are we ever going to cover all forty chapters in six weeks?"Anger - "I hate my formation director who approved this summer course. There is a reason no one speaks Latin any more: it's a stupid language! Why can't I have a delightful summer assignment of chewing aluminum foil or doing crafts?"Bargaining -  "Listen, professor, none of us wants to be here. Why don't we just pretend to do Latin and we'll watch YouTube videos all day. Or ho…

Is the Control-F Generation Obsessed with Sex?

This morning I sat drinking coffee with a brother Jesuit, watching a Discovery channel special on ice cream. The other Jesuit asked me, during a commercial break, if my experiences teaching adolescents had given me an insight into their thinking, their way of seeing the world. Seeing that I was going to respond, he said, "Let me guess: Sex, Sex, Sex."

Immediately, I had to think: I really do not think that this generation is more obsessed with sex than any other. Surely, young women and men today are bombarded with sexual images. Is this because they are looking for it or simply because we live in a society that lacks any inhibitions? Are we projecting onto those I have dubbed the "Control-F Generation" our own issues?

Here's my take on the issue. I think what we often see and experience as an obsession with sex is actually only a symptom of a much-larger issue. I do not think kids today are constantly lusting after sex; rather, I think students are having sex …

Still Here!

Lest anyone be concerned, I arrived in Berkeley on Sunday. The weather here has been spectacular and my course in Intensive Latin (for Dummies, I think) is off at a brisk pace. We are entering day four of the course and we have covered Chapters 1-7 of Wheelock's Latin book. Given that this is only a six-week endeavor, the pace is understandable...but no less daunting when, each night, I have to memorize pages of new vocabulary words and conjugations!

Fortunately, there will be no class on the weekend so I'll be able to catch up on some writing. Be well!

Praying as a Rough Draft

It has been oft repeated in my presence that, "The hardest thing about writing is getting started." Having been through graduate school twice, and maintaining this blog for nearly seven years, I do believe this is true. 
What is hard about writing a term paper, in particular, is that it takes time to get onto paper what we have in our minds. That is, it takes us several drafts to distill our thoughts ever more clearly until we have something that, hopefully, conveys as best as we are able what it is that we want to say. Undoubtedly, and after several weeks or months, we may revisit our 'final' draft only to realize that what we though had been said so clearly could have, in fact, been expressed better. Perhaps this is what is humbling about reading our past work: we realize our writing is always working toward greater clarity. 
The same adage used about writers, I suspect, is true of those of us who wish to pray. It's hard to get started. Many times, I feel like I&…

In the Wake of Finals

On Friday, June 3rd, the 2010-2011 school year came to a close. I still have to finish grading my final exams and I have a few more late-arriving grades to put into the notebook, but the school portion of the year has concluded. I am also chaperoning a trip for 80+ students (Academy and Freshmen) to Cedar Point tomorrow. I'll then have 2-3 days to rest, pack, and begin my drive to Cincinnati for Ordinations and then back to Cleveland for a 9:00 am flight on Sunday to Oakland where I'll spend six weeks studying Latin for the summer.

In the wake of another school year, I cannot help but feel enormously blessed. I have had a lot of fun, not a few trials, some great success, and an ever-growing sense that I am doing what God has invited me to do.

When you go to graduate school for theology, you make the acquaintance of any number of theories on a wide array of topics. Theologians, it seems, love to speculate on the meaning of apparently simple words like 'grace' or 'sa…