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Currently reading: After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (Theological Education between the Times) by Willie James Jennings 📚

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The Boston College contingent at Notre Dame’s medieval philosophy and theology conference

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Notre Dame at night

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My first conference with the St. Bonaventure University affiliation.

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Eugene Rogers, Jr, on Augustine:

One of the things that makes Augustine so interesting, so long lasting, and so easy for different theologians to use is that he is productively inconsistent.

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John Donne, on the coincidence of Annunciation and Good Friday in 1608:

This doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away.

This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one:
Or ’twas in Him the same humility
That He would be a man and leave to be:
Or as creation He had made, as God,
With the lasting judgment but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone.

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Currently reading: A Previous Life by Edmund White 📚

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Currently reading: Elements of Christian Thought by Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. 📚

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Maggie Nelson, on climate change:

As a problem gets harder to solve, ignoring it becomes all the more tempting. Ignore it long enough, and eventually it becomes unsolvable. Giving up can then seem to deliver a measure of relief, in that it appears, at least for a moment, to liberate us from the agonies of our failing efforts. But such relief cannot last, as the unsolved problem will continue to create problems and cause suffering. This suffering rarely feels like freedom.

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My view as Marshall to candidates for a Bachelor of Arts at St. Bonaventure University’s 162nd Commencement Exercises.

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Maggie Nelson, discussing an interview given by Pema Chödtön:

I’m riveted by this formulation, “the environment was safe, but the teachings were threatening,” as it names a paradox at the heart of much intellectual and artistic creation and pedagogy, one especially relevant for those of us who have devoted much of our lives to the contemplation and creation of transgressive work, as well as to supporting and respecting students. You can work to make a safe environment, but if the teachings at hand are meant to rattle, people are going to feel rattled.

I’d like to reflect on this more in my own teaching. It seems to me that this describes (or should describe) what it is to teach Christian theology, particularly in the context of higher education. It seems to me the commitments and practices of Christianity destabilize the commitments and practices most students enter my classroom with; they probably destabilize the commitments and practices they are taught by many other professors, too.

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Reading this recent piece on Wittgenstein makes me want to see Robert Pattinson star in his biopic.

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Currently reading: On Freedom by Maggie Nelson 📚

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This old church now houses the Cuba Cultural Center.

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Currently reading: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman 📚

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I sent in my first roll of film to the Shot on Film Store last week, and just received digital uploads today. This is one of my favorites from the roll: an old general store (now office space and apartments) in town, O’Malley’s.

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From Jonathan Malesic’s excellent The End of Burnout, on the attitudes of Benedictine monks toward their work. (Remember, the motto of Benedictine monasticism is: ora et labora, prayer and work.)

I asked Fr. Simeon, a monk who spoke with a confidence cultivated through the years he spent as a defense attorney, what you do when the 12:40 bell rings but you feel that your work is undone. “You get over it,” he replied.

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My doctoral gown (sans hood and tam)

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Dorothy Day:

I loved the Church for Christ made visible. Not for itself, because it was so often a scandal to me. Romano Guardini said the Church is the Cross on which Christ was crucified; one could not separate Christ from His Cross, and one must live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the Church.

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Me, some years ago, at Piseco Lake in the southern Adirondacks.

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From the Easter Exultet, solemnly proclaimed at the Easter Vigil to bless the night and the Easter Candle:

This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.

O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

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David Bentley Hart, in Tradition and Apocalypse, on the theological virtues:

Faith is the will to let the past be reborn in the present as more than what until now had been known, and the will to let the present be shaped by a future yet to be revealed. Hope is the conviction that that revelation will not only fulfill but far exceed the promise that the tradition preserves within itself. And, in the end, faith and hope will both pass away, or rather pass over into perfect love—which is, at the last, another name, and perhaps the highest, for that final horizon that calls all thought and all of creation to itself.

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One of the things I miss most about Boston is living in the interreligious community that was the Barton House. On Good Friday 2020, we gathered to commemorate the way of the cross with a service my friend Laurel and I wrote together. As I review those words we wrote and prayed two years ago, I’m reminded of just how spiritually nourishing and edifying that community was for us all.

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David Bentley Hart on tradition:

The tradition’s life, it turns out, is an irrepressible apocalyptic ferment within, beckoning believers simultaneously back to an immemorial past and forward to an unimaginable future. The proper moral and spiritual attitude to tradition’s formal expressions, if all of this is correct, would be not a simple clinging to what has been received, but also a relinquishing, even at times of things that had once seemed most precious: Gelassenheit, to use Eckhart’s language, release. Only thus can one receive tradition as a liberating counterhistory, as the apocalyptic exception to bare history that promises believers a higher truth than death: by remembering a first interruption, awaiting a last interruption, and attempting to sustain the theme uniting them in the interval. Only thus can the faithful find the meaninglessness of bare history converted into a completed tale of vocation and judgment, of a call heard from far away that nevertheless summons them to a promised homeland.

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A recent eBay acquisition: a Pentax K1000 35mm film camera. I’ve been wanting to get into film photography for a while now, and I was recently struck by an urge to find a good beginner’s camera to get started. The K1000 seemed the clear choice for a number of reason: its availability, its price, its simplicity.

What I like about this camera is its fully mechanical operation: though it does have a battery, that battery only powers the built-in light meter. Otherwise, the camera operates completely mechanically—and you can really feel it when you release the shutter.

The camera has basically no features at all, apart from the light meter: manual focus, manual exposure. Its lack of features was another selling point to me. I want little more than the absolute basics as I get into film photography. There’s something about the bare bones simplicity of the K1000 that seems to lend the photos it shoots with honesty and integrity.

I’ve taken a few shots just around town, mainly getting a feel for the camera and testing out different exposures. I’m hoping to get through a roll in a week or so, so I can send the film off to be developed and see how accurate the light meter is.