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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal/Theological Notebook: Oasis-Hopping; A Great Student Essay; Feeling Energized 
14th-Apr-2008 10:02 pm
Adventure Knows No Age
Some good memories today, talking with Erik a bit over dinner about our time in the Sahara ten years ago, after our Tunisian Easter, about Hugh, and such things, and looking into our immediate futures, too, with my summer writing plans and when I'll make it to Boston, and his potential plans now that the Ph.D. is completed.



I had the more pleasant surprise of reading the best undergraduate theology essay that I think I ever have read during my time at Marquette. After so many papers full of just difficulty of expression – much less the purely theological task of the paper – this one was dazzling: I learned new things from it, or saw some things in a new way. That's not to sound like an unteachable dork: my peers and my profs certainly show me new things all the time. It's just very rare after this amount of study I've put in that students who are, after all, just learning their way around the basics, say things I haven't already thought of. This student was taking a slightly different tack on the notion of the imago dei, that Jewish and Christian idea that we are "made in the image of God" and using Augustine's experiences to show how Augustine's ecounters with other people – the social aspect of his conversion – were significant as encounters with aspects of God manifested through those people. It had a strongly spiritual thrust in the, yes, also traditional idea that we see Christ in others and so forth, but it was presented with a new-enough flavour that I found it really striking. This student could go far, and be the Catholic Church's gift back to his own Protestant denomination.

After apparently being the target of every stray bug and virus to come through Marquette this semester – that's what I get for proclaiming that I hadn't had a cold in three years – I finally have started to feel this week that I'm getting my feet under me again. It's funny because I feel almost superhuman by comparison to how I've felt the last three months, more like I felt when I was at the top of my conditioning as a distance runner and spoiling for a good road race, ready to step up to the starting line. I'm sure the reality is still that I could be beaten up by a determined eight year-old, but still, it feels good....
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