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Showing posts from September, 2011

Great Friday

It has been pouring rain all day.  Great lunch with friends.  Machiavelli in my apartment.  

Mini was covered in a shower of these flame-colored leaves yesterday.  So pretty.

And today is such an exciting day of mail!


A giant box of winter clothes from mom, flowers from Greer, three post cards from Greer, and a box of scented pinecones from Ian!  What a way to brighten up this rainy day.




What Can Be

"Machiavelli sought to distinguish the realm of what ought to be and the realm of what is.  He rejected the first for the second.  But there is a third realm: the realm of what can be...The measure of man is his ability to extend this sphere of the possible."  - Max Lerner, in the intro to the 1950 Modern Library edition of Machiavelli's The Prince and The Discourses.

Autumn and Sehnsucht

Here's a little snapshot of my weekend study zone.  Yes, I know September is a little early to be lighting a fire, but I was way too excited by the crispness of the air and the chilly evening temperature (it did make it down to the mid 40s).

I have been in a frenzy for the past few days over the change in seasons.  The oppressive heat and humidity of the summer have finally subsided, and the new air seems to heighten my awareness of the world around me.  I love the crispness, the dryness, the change in the colors (although no bright leaves yet).

Yes, this is my first "real" fall season, but I must say I always feel like this when I think about Autumn, no matter where I am.  C.S. Lewis writes about his "inconsolable longing" for Autumn in Surprised By Joy.  He understands it, and feels it even more deeply than I.  The feeling "pierces us like a rapier," he says.  It's all wound up with nostalgia, but nostalgia for a time that never actually happ…

Genesis

Today I read the entire book of Genesis in one sitting.All fifty chapters.Creation, Adam and Eve, the fall, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Joseph, and everything in between.
To be honest, it was deeply troubling.I never bite of giant chunks of scripture like that – I always take on little verse and try to “unpack” it by placing it in the context of all of the other one-at-a-time verses I know.But this epic of the Hebrews is wrought with sorrow, abomination and tragedy, with a God who is sometimes in the foreground and sometimes in the background, with long silences in the middle.Everyone knows this, but today I was deeply stuck by the great number of accounts of humans doing horrible things to one another, with God sometimes punishing and sometimes delivering a blessing regardless.I think this book is a little too potent to take too much at once – I am going to try to space out my readings a little better in the future.I feel like I just played a game of tackle …

The Mystery of Love

It's September 11th today.  I've been remembering today, as we all have, how we first heard the news and the events that followed immediately.  I remember waking up to my roommate's radio alarm clock around 7:00 AM.  Normally we woke to the country music station, but that day we were roused from sleep by the confusing and frantic reports.  I didn't understand it, but we all stumbled down to the dining hall, heard classes were cancelled, and were all shuffled into the audtorium for a report.  There were lots of kids in my school who were from New York.


I, on the other hand, had never been to New York until about two years ago.  I had never seen the skyline so I didn't know how to look for something missing, and I couldn't picture the catastrophe of that scale.  I've now been to New York several times, since it's practically in my backyard these days.  I now understand the density of the population, the sheer mass of those buildings, and the way that skyl…

Making a Name and Doing Work

“There is generally a difference between a man making his name and a man really doing his work.” G.K. Chesterton, St Thomas Aquinas,41
Tonight I was sitting in my little study nook doing some reading for my class on St. Thomas Aquinas when I came upon these words.Chesterton is talking about the first time Aquinas and Bonaventure went up to Rome together to defend “the freedom of the Friars” (specifically the relatively new order of the Dominicans who, instead of living the traditional monastic life in a monastery, took vows of poverty and roamed the globe preaching in the streets.A lot of traditional clergy didn’t like that idea.).
Aquinas spent his early life in a monastery at Monte Cassino, and although he was slated to take the prestigious position of abbot of the whole operation, he left to join the Dominicans and become a beggar.His aristocratic family was utterly furious, but Thomas was determined.
I am thinking about this idea of “a man making his name” versus “a man really d…

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't...Ask for Advice

These Things Take Time

Why so long with no post?  I started classes!

My apartment has definitely turned into a home.  I have furniture that I like, artwork on the walls, a stocked kitchen.  I've started to have friends come over.  I'm situated.

Orientation was a week long - emphasis on the long part.  So many details and logistics interspersed with lots of touchy-feely meetings about the emotional component of making it through Divinity School.  I didn't go to those meetings.  I knew I would need the info eventually, but I also knew it wouldn't mean anything until I was actually struggling with something.

I did get to meet some great people.  One thing I have learned about the folks here: you can't make any assumptions.  Some are Christians and use the word in a way I understand it.  Some aren't Christians in a way I also understand.  The majority, however, use any number of terms to describe where they fall at some extreme or in the middle, and any familiarity I have with the wo…