Novak (novak) wrote,

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Personal/Theological Notebook: Note From Erik & Religious Discourse in the Public Sphere

One of those really fun emails with which to start your day, from Erik:
From: Erik
Subject: Viva la Freeks!
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 11:10:35 -0500

Hey Mike,

Spain was awesome. You would have loved the sites where we visited: Grandada,
Cordoba, Seville, Gibraltar, etc. The history was amazing, a mix of Moorish and
Spanish architecture. Think Michelangelo meeting the Muslims. Wonderful!!!
You'll have to come to Boston to see the pictures though. There's your carrot.
The stories about Gibraltar are amazing - I'm sure you covered the British
history there. Fun stuff.

By the way, I googled myself (that somehow feels dirty) and came across your
journal page ( Fucking
hilarious. Is that verbatim? How did you record all that? Your line re: Lang
nonlinearity and JP forsightlessness (couldn't resist) is forever a classic. I
have less clarity in my memory banks about the George Harrison line which is
really funny though. Thanks for capturing those moments. Nice work historian!!!

Anyway, my article came out in Momentum magazine. Unfortunately, its not online
and I don't have an electronic version of it yet. I'll keep you posted though.

Hope all is well. Let's talk soon.

So, that more-or-less was really a reply to the Feb. 15th journal entry, but as Erik is one of those friends who hasn't yet been converted to LJ, I get comments via email. I know, this probably wasn't entry-worthy, but for me it was the right stuff by the right friend at the right moment in the day. Too bad he's at Boston College and that we haven't laid eyes on each other for 2 1/2 years now....

In subsequent note exchanges, he told me about this conference that he's attending on Monday there at BC. Catholic Politicians in the U.S.: Their Faith and Public Policy: A Panel Discussion. How cool would that be? With
Tim Russert
Managing editor and moderator of Meet the Press and political analyst for NBC Nightly News and the Today show
James Carville
CNN political commentator and former senior political adviser to President Clinton
E.J. Dionne
Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at The Brookings Institute
Edward W. Gillespie
Founder and co-chairman of Quinn Gillespie & Associates and former chairman of the 2004 Republican National Committee
Peggy Noonan
Best selling political author and contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal
I see on the webpage for the event that I linked above--and the hosting Church in the 21st Century Center at BC looks fascinating in itself--that they'll stream the event later in the week, so I'll be able to at least watch it. But I would really love to be able to interact with a set of folks like this who have such a capacity for influencing the shape of public discourse. As I wrote to Erik, "This is the type of event where I would really love to be able to interact with these players, and maybe even have an effect that you could see on TV and thus into public discourse on my current quixotic quest to try to break people out of using "Left" and "Right" discourse--and thinking--which I've decided is now just self-defeating and intrinsically distorting."

I rather enjoy Tim Russert's work on Meet The Press, and I've seen him host round-table discussions of religious leaders or pundits on matters of religion in public and political discourse that really raised the standard of such discussions from what one normally sees in the media. Whether you have overly-enthusiastic but narrow-focused or ill-informed spokespersons for religious interests, or whether you have prejudiced and ignorant Secularists who assume with their smattering of Freud and Marx that all spiritual persons are evil, right-wing morons and all religious discourse is idiocy, the result is the perpetuation of the kind of nonsense that tends to dominate the airwaves. The news media should be able to foster something at a higher level, and I've been impressed with Russert's ability to moderate such venues and his ability to be a reasonably-informed non-specialist in theological/philosophical/spiritual matters. So I'd be jazzed to be Erik and to be able to participate in this event. Erik has been doing such progressive organizational work for schools and social services of the Archdiocese of Boston as part of his Psychology doctorate at Boston College that he could make some cool contributions at the event, too. So I'll have to watch once they post it.
Tags: architecture, cultural, education, europe, friends-notre dame era, george and the freeks, media, personal, philosophical, political, quotations, theological notebook, travel

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