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Showing posts from July, 2013

Radio Silence

If you hadn't already guessed, I've been away from the blog for a few days. I'm in Sedalia, Colorado, for my Arrupe Experience. This is a time for Jesuits who, having completed te first year if theological studies, to come together to reflect on the priesthood and to make our annual retreat. The retreat begins today so I shall not be posting for another week.

Please keep me and my brother Jesuits in your prayers. I will hold the intentions if my readers in my heart and will continue to pray that God will give me the Spirit and grace to be the Jesuit, and the priest, the people of God deserve.

If only I'd known then...

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My friend Bobby will start his first teaching job in about a month. On numerous occasions this summer, we've chatted about what I considered my "best practices" for a teacher and I have, below, tried to assemble a bag of tricks for a first-year teacher. These are my observations only - some things may work for some, others probably were successful only because of my particular educational context and my personality. All the same, I offer them as an aide to anyone who is interested.

Let me add a bit of a Jesuit caveat, the tantum quantum: to the extent that this is helpful, make use of it. To the extent that it is not, ignore it. I'm not a guru, just a guy who had to learn!

One Jesuit's Advice for a First-Year Teacher

When you give a quiz or a test, used a variety of colored papers. Cheat sheets are usually written on white paper. If you put "Test Form A" on green paper and "Test Form B" on blue paper, it could be the exact same test but the stud…

Yes, I Hear You Now!

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So my cell-phone contract expires in nine days, permitting me what should be a no-brainer option: get another iPhone 4S or upgrade to the iPhone 5. I mean, I can justify having a fancy smart phone, right? I'm on the road a lot and frequently respond to correspondence via my phone. I make use of its GPS so I don't need a separate unit in the car. It holds my calendar and appointment book. It carries my Starbucks card. It even lets me play "Whirly Word" for hours on end and, even more tantalizingly, promises something called "Candy Crush."

Yet, I hesitate.

I remember reading Rodney Stark's The Rise of Christianity and I recently read a review of Peter Brown's Through the Eye of a Needle about the emergence and establishment of the early Christian Church. One point on which they converge is their observation about a major cultural shift enacted by the early Christians. Whereas Romans would contribute money in order to show their power and affluence, t…

Thoughts on Desire

I had a wonderful weekend at the annual COV&R conference held at the University of Northern Iowa. The Colloquium On Violence & Religion meets annually to reflect upon, discuss, and develop the insights of René Girard and his mimetic theory.

Now, using the phrase "mimetic theory" is sure to raise eyebrows. Rather than trying to give an abstract explanation of it, let me use a really popular commercial from 2011. Remember this one:



What is it that is being sold? If you said a Chrysler 200, you're right...but only in a sense. If they wanted to tell you how great a car it was, they could simply have put up the statistics and done some cross-comparisons between the Chrysler 200 and other models. Yet this is not the strategy employed, for Chrysler is not interested only in selling a product. They are trying to sell you a way of life. In fancy language, they are selling an ontology but, since I still drink beer out of a bottle rather than a glass, let's stick with …

COV&R 2013

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So this is a weekend?

One of the enduring memories of last year is my introduction to Downton Abbey. I'd never heard of it before arriving here in Boston but a number of my community members raved about it and, one evening after supper, we repaired to the tv room and watched the first installment from Season 1, Episode 1.

I was hooked immediately.

The great take-away line, captured in this short clip, comes from the Dowager - played by Maggie Smith - who betrays the style of life to which she has grown accustomed when she inquires, "What, what is a weekend?" You can catch this below:


To be honest, I sort of resonate with this question: for the past three months, I have spent just about every weekend doing something involved with Irish dancing. For those unfamiliar with my particular avocation, I play the accordion for Irish dancing competitions (feiseanna) throughout New England and, time permitting, across the country. It's a labor of love and probably has influenced my notion of what i…

Freedom From...

The "Freedom From Religion" organization has taken out a full-page ad in today's printed version of the New York Times. Should one desire to do so, for a relatively nominal fee one may become a member of the organization and receive a monthly copy of "Freethought Today."

I'll stick to my weekly church bulletin (reading material should the homily drag on too long, a handy fan if the air conditioning isn't up to snuff).

As a historical point, I cannot quibble with the Constitution being "godless," as the Freedom From Religion organization points out. That is to say, God is not mentioned in the Constitution. One question that does occur to me, however, involves the relationship between the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) and the Constitution (written in 1787, ratified in 1788, taking effect in 1789). For, if you read the text of the Declaration of Independence, it can hardly be called "godless." Indeed:
"We hold these t…

The Month Ahead

After the fun evening shared on Saturday, it has been decided that we'll be hosting another gathering in the very near future. Keeping with our social-justice theme, we seem to have settled on sampling wines, available for under $20.00, under the heading "Preferential Option for the Pour." At some point we'll do a beer-tasting, too, but we'll commend that patronage to Edith "Beer" Stein, known to many as Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross. Beer tasting will trade under the name "My Cup Overflows."

These next few weeks are busy, although in a way different from the hectic music schedule that has governed my life for the last two months. I'm moving toward the end of the summer German course and plan on taking the final exam in about fifteen days. I will also be presenting a paper - "The Lord Has Made All Things: Creatio Ex Nihilo and the Ecological Imagination" at the University of Northern Iowa. You can find the paper abstract …