March 8th, 2005


Personal/Theological Notebook--Markus and Stuff

I went out to a long night of drinks and dinner and more drinks with Markus, more-or-less as a spontaneous event, after he finished giving the opening colloquium of the spring semester for the Association of Graduate Students in Theology (AnGST), which I've been organizing the last two years. In "Romanticizing the Past: Some Trends in German Protestant Theology (and Some Catholic Theology, too!)," he rather floored everyone with a grim portrait of the decline of not only the German churches, but of German theology, as well. The discussion that followed allowed the students to spread more blood over the picture, and we left feeling that perhaps the situation in America was not that bad, after all. Amazingly. Anyway, Markus wanted to know if I was free for dinner, which generally meant the whole evening given the way we can talk, and despite the grading I have to do, I decided I was. I discovered that Markus Wriedt, theologian, is also Markus Wriedt, the well-known German food critic, and some of the stories flowing from there were wonderful. My favourite line was the cook who said to him (after Markus had eaten and revealed his identity) in all earnestness: "I've been waiting twelve years for you to come here." Amazing. So conversation flowed through a mix of theology, food, ministry and teaching, and medical oddities.

And I make an apology for those of you who bother to wade through my drivel. I have come to the conclusion that I'm totally dropping the ball in trying to make this a journal--which I would find useful for my own ends--of theological notes. I'm not writing enough! I can't find the time. Or I'm not making the time. All the work I'm doing on Nature and Grace in the Nouvelle Theologie with Fr. Coffey is so subtle and complex--I really think that nature/grace stuff is the hardest thing there is in theology--that I have never even tried to do summaries here. Which probably means that those are the ones I would benefit most from. I get classnotes from other students from the Augustine seminar and only have to write them myself once every ten sessions, but I haven't gotten to posting them because the diagrams are tough to convert and it was more important for me to surf eBay for that time, anyway. I've not even mentioned the work I've been doing all semester with Fr. Bryan Massingale, whose Teaching Assistant I am, on "Christian Faith and Racial Justice." Here I've been reading and listening to the lectures of America's only black social ethicist, and one who specializes in race issues, and I don't think I've mentioned it. Yet I've spent oodles of time dealing with the weight of "white privilege," which concept only entered my mind in a formal way this semester with the amazing readings I've had. Today I started James Poling's Deliver Us From Evil and have seen things about the history of racial and gender oppression in the history of the United States that I'd never put together in my undergraduate history major, when I last formally studied American history. There's so much to share and to talk about and I don't have the time to wash my clothes, much less put it all together. It's good that I'm living my life, but I'd like to jot some notes down, too!
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