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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal/Theological Notebook: Jim and Leslie's 13th Anniversary; Catholicism Class Talk 
22nd-Feb-2011 08:50 pm
Nieces 3 (and Nephew!)
Leslie and Jim celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary yesterday, and I called in the evening to give them my congratulations. She laughed to describe the girls' interest in seeing their wedding video, laughing at Dad's striking a Travolta pose as the couple came in to the Bee Gee's "Staying Alive," or keen on seeing the differences between people then and now. Grandma's (then) red hair provoked the knowing comment from first-grader Haley that "She dyes her hair white, now." And Sophie, having to go to bed earlier than the rest, with the video not yet finished, begged and/or instructed Leslie repeatedly, "Don't take the movie back to the store tomorrow. I want to see the rest of it. Don't take it back to the store." Grace provided the sweetest comment, after thinking about the question that Jim and Leslie had posed to all of them, of whether they knew what being married was. (Sophie having achieved the satisfaction of circular logic with her answer, "That you have a wedding;" which means? "That you're married;" which means? "That you have a wedding" etc....) Grace thought about it for a minute and answered, "That you become a family."

Just back from teaching my Catholicism classes: lots of questions on Christology and Soteriology today, with the first class getting more bogged down in the Gospels themselves and continuing to ask lots of "proof for belief" sorts of questions, although they came up with an interesting train of conversation on the soteriology of Temple Judaism providing the ground for the Christian soteriology of the Theology of the Cross. The second class asked a lot more on the soteriological end, with questions about Anselm's argument in Cur Deus Homo? and what's called "satisfaction" theory. There I had to highlight how it's the picture of God that you have that makes that theology make sense or not: if you envision God as a fussy person quibbling about something "offending his honour," then, no, it sounds unworthy. If it's (rightly) understood with the idea that God is Ultimate Reality itself: that God is Goodness, Justice, Love, Life, Energy itself, and that "offending God's honour" is about sin being a violation of the goodness of reality itself, which in justice needs to be answered, then Anselm becomes more clear and interesting. There was also some interesting talk on how and why Liberation Theology develops in its time as both Christology and soteriology, not that Christianity didn't always have political/ethical implications, but that now – like the Second Vatican Council trying to tell all believers that they, not the bishops alone, were the Church, and that modern education and competence required the laity to step up – perhaps it was a matter of scale, that Liberation Theology arises because the populace now has to take accountability for the political order they live in; that because of the greater competence of the laity, non-resistance to political evils could become tacit collaboration, and an even more consequential evil than (possibly revolutionary) political action. I don't know if I have ever heard that idea articulated before, as I did it tonight to one of the students, so maybe that's an idea I'll have to revisit professionally.

Had a fun but too brief ride home this evening on the streetcar, talking with Ginger, a newish Assistant Professor in Philosophy about the class she's teaching on "Philosophy of Psychopathology." Her interests overlap with some of Kevin's, and so it was interesting to hear her talk about questions like "what constitutes mental illness, as opposed to some kind of mental 'difference'?" and the like. It reminded me of my and Kevin's long conversations on how you would a priori distinguish between delusion and someone having authentic mystical visions, presuming there are such things. So that was interesting, if quick, and maybe I'll hear more on that later.
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