Monthly Archives: August 2009

Life Update

  • I now have a defense date for my dissertation: October 22nd. The end is in sight.
  • I’ve started a new tai chi class. While the teacher at the Y under whom I’ve been studying for about a year is quite good, the class itself was a little frustrating in that few of the other students trained out of class. As a result, the teacher spent most of his time correcting elementary form mistakes rather than moving us into deeper levels. Too, it was all form work and thus the standard wave-your-hands-around stereotype of tai chi. The new class is taught by a push-hands champ and is all martial technique. In three classes I haven’t seen a form yet but have thrown and been thrown all over the mat. I’m quite satisfied; it complements the form training quite well.
  • The place where I’ve been working as a contractor has hired me full-time. This comes with a raise, benefits, and a title (I’m a vp now!). Yay, health insurance!!

New All Saints Sisters Update

Officially approved to be released today is that ten sisters and the chaplain will indeed be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church next Thursday, September 3rd. The timeline for the chaplain’s ordination into the Roman priesthood is still on the fuzzy side due to communication between various groups, but is looking good.

I’m sorry to see them go, but certainly wish them all good things in their new church home!

The Pope on Penance

The Italian National Liturgical Week this year will be on penance/confession/reconciliation. Here’s a snippet of the official letter sent by the pope’s Secretary of State to the Italian head of the Liturgical Week:

In this connection, in a message sent to the participants in the recent 20th course on the Internal Forum, promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Pontiff stated: “These days, the correct formation of believers’ consciences is without a doubt one of the pastoral priorities because, unfortunately, as I have reaffirmed on other occasions, to the extent that the sense of sin is lost, feelings of guilt increase which people seek to eliminate by recourse to inadequate palliative remedies. The many invaluable spiritual and pastoral tools that contribute to the formation of consciences should be increasingly developed” (Benedict XVI, March 12, 2009).

And he adds: “Like all the sacraments, the sacrament of Penance too requires catechesis beforehand and a mystagogical catechesis for a deeper knowledge of the sacrament: ‘per ritus et preces.’ … Catechesis should be combined with a wise use of preaching, which has had different forms in the Church’s history according to the mentality and pastoral needs of the faithful” (ibid.).

Along with an adequate formation of the moral conscience, maturity of life and celebration of the sacrament, it is necessary to foster in the faithful the experience of spiritual support. Precisely for this reason, the Pope continued to note, today “wise and holy ‘spiritual teachers'” are needed, exhorting priests to keep “ever alive within them the knowledge that they must be worthy ‘ministers’ of divine mercy and responsible educators of consciences,” inspired in the example of the Cure d’Ars, St. John Vianney, of whom precisely this year we observe the 150th anniversary of his death (cf. ibid.).

Good stuff… The whole thing is here.

The Day Has Dawned…

I finally sent off what I hope will be the text of my defense draft of my dissertation.

Of course, I still need to fix some footnotes, recheck the bibliography, clean up the ModE of the sermons, etc. but the text proper is done. Unless he doesn’t like my corrections…

Rethinking Clergy Education, Part N+1

AKMA points to a brief yet very interesting post on the future of Higher Ed given the realities of communication in the Internet Age.

My response is: well…no.

Learning is more than either the note-taking process or the data accumulation process especially when it comes to the formation of informed and effective clergy. I’d suggest that it has more to do with being grounded in foundational habits and absorbing an ethos and the book-learning is only a small part of that process.

I’ve come to identify as the most important parts of my seminary education the people I met, experiences I shared, and on-going connections I’ve maintained. A distance learning program doesn’t do well at facilitating any of these—there’s a fundamental embodied, incarnational component that’s missing…

Will Revolt For Food

(I’m still “away” but I couldn’t let this go unremarked…)

From the Independent by way of TOD, bls and Dean Knisely:

Thousand of protesters took to the streets, waving the orange flags of the opposition. Before long, looting began. Buildings were set on fire. But the turning point came when a crowd moved from the main square towards the presidential palace. Amid the confusion, someone panicked and gave the order to the troops guarding the palace to open fire. Scores died. The leaders of the army decided they’d had enough and stormed the palace, causing the president to flee.

A typical African coup d’état? Not quite. Certainly there were allegations of corruption in high places. The president had bought a private jet – from a member of the Disney family – for his own personal use. He was accused of unnecessary extravagance, of mismanaging public funds and confusing the interests of the state with his own. But something else had whipped up the protesters in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, earlier this year, when the government of Marc Ravalomanana was overthrown in the former French colony.

The urban poor were angry at the price of food, which had been high since the massive rise in global prices of wheat and rice the year before. Food-price rises hit the poor worse than the rest of us because they spend up to two-thirds of their income on food. But what whipped them into action was news of a deal the government had recently signed with a giant Korean multinational, Daewoo, leasing 1.3 million hectares of farmland – an area almost half the size of Belgium and about half of all arable land on the island – to the foreign company for 99 years. Daewoo had announced plans to grow maize and palm oil there – and send all the harvests back to South Korea.

Wow—why didn’t we see this coming? Oh wait, we did

You might believe internet propoganda and think that that 45% of the population (9 million and change at last estimate) are Christian; about half of those Roman Catholic, we have some 120,000 Anglicans in the area. Americans, however, are better informed and know that Madagascar is populated entirely by animated animals who make popular movies, so it’s all good.

I’m glad the Anglican Communion isn’t being distracted by little things like this and is hard at work on restructuring around genital issues.

(And lest you have any qualms, have no fear; this item is entirely unrelated to the whole neo-colonialism thing. No relation in any way.)

Dropping Off-line…

I’m only formalizing here what’s already happened… I’m not going to be around much for the next few weeks. I’m making the last big push to finish up the dissertation (!!), have a large conference presentation in October that I haven’t begun an adequate start on yet, and have some pressing matters on the homefront to deal with.

Carry on, all. Don’t let the people in purple do anything truly dumb…

(And say a prayer for the soul of Marion Hatchett when next you’re praying for souls. I can’t say I agree with him on everything, but he was a learned and gifted man who did much for Episcopal liturgy.)