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Showing posts from February, 2013


I expect I will write a lot of blog posts about this when I do my masters degree recap posts around and after graduation, but I feel like saying a word about the weird phases your spiritual life goes through in divinity school.  I'll put in a disclaimer here that I have only been half in divinity school (as half of my classes have been taken in the English department), and even at that I only really take theology classes that don't have a very strong "seminary" flavor.  But I get a taste of it nonetheless, and it has taken me through some interesting phases in my spiritual life, most of which are going to sound really bad when I write them down.

I have stopped reading the Bible unless it is assigned for homework.  [This week I actually get to read something for homework from the New Testament for the firs time since I have been at Yale (the Gospel of Mark) and I am quite excited about it.  But I don't take Bible classes, so it's my own fault.]  I never casua…

The Mingled Loves

Up late finishing another Dante paper.  I love having written these essays, but, boy, they never do seem to happen without taking everything I've got.  Of course that's the reason they're fulfilling.  
I do always love to take breaks from paper writing by writing blog posts, but tonight I only have time for a short one. The gist of my current paper is that Dante finds a way to combine his love for a woman and his love for God.  Beatrice, his beloved, doesn't just show him how to love God, but in some ways (possible heresy alert!!!) she actually becomes Christ for him, and his salvation comes through her.  It's quite complicated, and it depends on about two hundred (actually about two thousand) years of poetic precedent for the mingling of the erotic and the divine loves.  It's not my easiest paper because the issue is so thorny. 
Listen to these tracks from the Shadowlands soundtrack:

In the autumn of 2010, Greer and I visited his parents at their lake house i…

Baby's First Blizzard

The entire city filled with 38'' of snow between Friday morning and Saturday morning around 9:00, when the snow stopped.  Before any snowplows could even begin clearing the roads, I was up to my hips in powdery snow.  The plows have had a very hard time clearing the city because there is literally nowhere to put the snow, so all of the roads are, if they have been plowed at all, very narrow one-lane passageways to accommodate emergency vehicles.  Students are skiing all over campus, there are some pretty amazing snowmen all over the place, and Yale looks completely breathtaking beneath this blanket of white.  

The whole city is a labyrinth of snow tunnels about two feet wide with four-foot walls of snow on either side.  The ground is visible only through three inches of solid ice, which makes walking around the city extremely precarious.  I took a violent tumble yesterday afternoon and have a black and blue mark the size of a softball on my right hi…

When I am Laid in Earth

I read Augustine's account of weeping over Dido before I read the Aeneid.
Recalling his early education, Augustine can't believe how deeply his heart could break over Dido's horrible tragedy while the reality of his own depravity aroused no emotion in him at all.  Augustine is a little hard on himself about it.  To me, this shows why we need art to shine bright lights on the dark corners of our own souls.  
I had that in mind as I was reading the Aeneid this fall, but, in spite of Augustine's word of warning, the tragedy of Dido's story knocked me out.  I can replay my reading of Aeneid Book IV like a movie in my head - that first image of glorious Carthage humming like a beehive with industry, and the building and building of anticipation before the first glimpse of the glorious queen.  Strong, gorgeous, noble Aeneas and the powerful, beautiful, magnificent Dido - what a couple.  

The two spend a lot of time together.  There is talk in the town of what will happe…