I had to tell my student Stacey today that she couldn't sign up for my Theology Through The Centuries course next semester because she won't be a sophomore yet. Apparently the rationale is to keep students from taking their two (if they only have two) required Theology courses both during their freshman year so that they have some maturing time and time to get more advanced as a student before taking their second. It was the strangest sensation of "catch-and-release," of throwing her back into the water until she grows more. Students are registering now, seniors first, in their assigned waves, and both my sections have eight students currently in them. I have three more students from last year who I have now discovered are taking the course, which is fun, but it doesn't look like these are especially Theology-majors' sections by any stretch of the imagination: I saw seniors and juniors from all across the university curriculum, but if the numbers can stay low, it can turn into much more of a "reading circle" or "book club" dynamic than a "classroom" one, which I'm really hoping for.
Fides, the scripture-reading and prayer group of Catholic graduate students that I attend on alternating weeks had a meeting today, followed by dinner at the Jesuit Residence with Father Kurz, our faculty host, and a bit of a birthday party for one of the girls in the group. I don't know many of these students well at all, since I'm not in coursework, but other than a few grad students in English, most seem to be in Theology, though many of these seem to be Master's students, which further takes them out of my usual circles. One of them, Julie, who I spoke with over dinner, is a recent grad of Thomas Aquinas College, and we spoke of the curriculum there, and its strengths and weaknesses in preparing her for this work. She knew my spy at TAC, amea, and spoke of her as the power behind the rise of theatre on campus, which was interesting to hear, since Jenny would talk about the theatre work she was involved in there, but never gave herself such credit for it. (Jenny, you apparently rule.) We were joined by Fr. Philipp Gabriel Renczes, S.J., the Wade Chair this year, whose Wade Lecture, "A Theology of Judaism in 7th Century Byzantium: Maximus the Confessor," I enjoyed very much enjoyed last week before running off to meet Mike and Michelle for dinner. So I was glad to finally speak a few words with him. He's faculty at the Gregorian in Rome (tho' I think we're making a play for him) and is teaching an undergrad course while here that I had hoped to sit in on this year, before realizing I just didn't have the time. But I figured that a class called "The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger" was something I could not only learn a lot from, but could also rip off to great success for teaching at any other Catholic institution in the immediate future.
Off to Starbuck's for some prep for tomorrow (Pt. 2 of Lewis' Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity) and some more work on the theosis essay.
It was amazing outside today: the faded glory of fall gave the flaming reds, oranges, and yellows more dusty tints, while still with the brightness of the sun making them flare, and the wild wind swirling through the city's building in unexpected gusts, directions and strength just gave you such a sense of the world's life that I kept laughing at the sheer fun of it all. When I walked in through the door of Collector's Edge East on my errand run there and to the grocery store, Matt asked what great thing was going on in my life to give me such a smile. I think he was a little disappointed with my explanation.