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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal--Mongolian Food and Massingale 
22nd-Aug-2004 03:06 pm
It's been a slower last few days than I'd hoped. I've found that I have some kind of abdominal pain--sharp enough that I was worried about a hernia, which is something I have to watch out for after having been disemboweled--with a bit of a lump that I could feel. I checked in with the Resident on duty yesterday, though, and found that I don't have the right symptoms for that, nor is the lump the right size. He thinks it sounds like a bit of a muscle tear around one of my permanent sutures. So I'm supposed to take it very, very easy the next few days. That means that I had to cancel my plans to go to Irish Fest yesterday with Andrei Orlov, my former classmate who is now hired and will be my professor this semester for Apocalyptic Literature. Friday I went out with him and Chris Dorn to the Mongolian restaurant out by Mayfair mall that we occasionally hit together. Lots of apocalyptic talk, and then over to wander the Barnes and Noble where we looked at philosophy books and I bought reprint copies of the unphilosophical Crisis on Infinite Earths and Batman: The Killing Joke in an effort to revisit my youth.

Also on Friday, I got to re-meet Bryan Massingale as his assistant. Along with our mutual friend Shawnee Sykes, we proceeded to do some work cleaning and arranging his office. I'd mentioned this fellow before and how excited I was to have been assigned as his assistant. We are fabulously lucky to have gotten him as he has decided to move on to full-time university work after having taught at the seminary level for the past several years. So anyway, we'll be getting together to plan for the semester and to get to know one another a bit better on Wednesday afternoon. The only drawback about being assigned to him is that he's a morning person. The first semester he's teaching two sections of Introduction to Theology and they're MWF at 9 and 10am. Thus ends my luxurious two-year streak of staying up late, sleeping in late, and having no responsibilities before noon....

The Department of Theology hasn't posted a page on him yet, but here's a quick, if dated, bio from last year that I found online at the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame:

Bryan Massingale, S.T.D. St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee

Rev. Bryan Massingale is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Alphonsianum (Rome). He is a professor of moral theology at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee and a faculty member in the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. He is a noted author and lecturer in the areas of social ethics, Catholic Social Teaching, liberation theologies and racial justice. His recent work applies Catholic social thought to the issues of racial reconciliation, affirmative action, health care restructuring, and environmental justice. His professional activities include being an ethical consultant to the Milwaukee AIDS Project; he serves as a member of the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Council of Priests, the Archdiocesan Commission on Sexual Abuse by Religious Personnel, and the Sub-Committee on Formation and Curriculum of the United States Bishops' Committee for the Diaconate; he is an active member of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and the Black Catholic Theological Symposium.

22nd-Aug-2004 02:16 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an extremely cool gentleman to be studying with.

What is the syllabus like for Apocalyptic literature? I'd be interested to know what you are reading.

Sorry it's been a slow weekend - hope the lump goes away with no complications. I've seen friends the last two nights, with much hilarity ensuing. Today took a really long walk, ran some errands, thought about acquiring furniture. Boy and I are about to embark on a bad movie marathon.
22nd-Aug-2004 03:24 pm (UTC)
Ooo... Yay for bad movies! What's on the playlist?

So far we've got two books assigned for Andrei's Apocalyptic Literature class: John J. Collins' The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic Literature & Testaments edited by James H. Charlesworth, Volume 1. I know there's a pile of secondary literature on reserve, too.
22nd-Aug-2004 02:17 pm (UTC)
er, with whom to be studying, even.
23rd-Aug-2004 05:35 am (UTC)
Thus ends my luxurious two-year streak of staying up late, sleeping in late, and having no responsibilities before noon....

It has been a 1/4 of a century since I had such luxury and I still miss it. My most creative times are with a good book at 2:00 a.m.....which might explain why I am no longer creative.:-)
23rd-Aug-2004 09:32 am (UTC)
Ah, the pain and misery, John! :-) What is the basic background with you? Nathaniel told me about getting to know you through BH, but that's about all I know. Do you work for yourself or for a company? Etc., etc.....
23rd-Aug-2004 09:35 am (UTC)
I am afraid that I have sold myself to the company store.:-) I work as a controller for a small college. Would rather not devulge where, as I fear a call from "Homeland Security."

23rd-Aug-2004 09:56 am (UTC)
Ah, interesting! I thought you were out in the straight business world: "controller for a small college" I like much more! At least you get the ambiance, if not the college [student] hours! :-)
23rd-Aug-2004 10:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, the ambiance of a mediocre, secularistic, and hostile to classical western ideas academe. :-)

(Actually, I do have the good fortune of having some faculty friends that are fun to converse with.)
23rd-Aug-2004 10:12 am (UTC)
Ooo. Ouch. Um, I guess I'm used to being at Catholic schools, where at least you don't find an entire deconstruction-in-process of our civilization....
23rd-Aug-2004 09:42 am (UTC)
In all seriousness, I think that I missed my calling....but then, I am still not sure what that is or was. But, I do believe very strongly that I had one. On the other hand, I certainly have had a lot of good blessings, including a good marriage.
23rd-Aug-2004 10:02 am (UTC)
Ahhh... excellent. I hate to imagine the itch of an unfulfilled vocation (I was blessed to have discovered early that I was a teacher, plain and simple and to the bones) but I envy you the good marriage. I suspect that that's the greatest blessing of them all: the closest humanity can come to a trinitarian life, in the natural sphere.
23rd-Aug-2004 06:46 am (UTC)
Apocalyptic Literature sounds like it'd be an amazing and disturbing class.
23rd-Aug-2004 09:42 am (UTC)
I'm really looking forward to it. Andrei's already one of the best in the world (this was his second Ph.D., already having earned one in sociology from Moscow State before emigrating) and I think he'll run a great doctoral seminar even though this is his first time out. (Teaching undergrads is going to be a harder skill, I should imagine: the seminar format already implies a certain amount of trust in the skills of the students.) Anyway, I'll try to make sure that my Theological Notebook side of the journal keeps you fascinated with various nuggets.

Now, I've been waiting eagerly for a few days for some kind of reaction about the "equality"/John Adams entry and what you thought about that. So let me know! I was also disappointed to never have gotten a response from either you or Doug when I had come back from traveling and wrote my longest (and I thought best) articulation of the best way to understand the First Amendment and religious expression in American public life.
24th-Aug-2004 11:39 am (UTC)
Don't worry, plenty more religious and political debate to come, m'man.
Keep me posted.
24th-Aug-2004 11:51 am (UTC)
:-) Is there much diversity of opinion on the subject taught at the law school? Or is there pretty much a uniform "answer" to the question as it's taught?
25th-Aug-2004 08:56 am (UTC)
[That's actually the answer to everything in law school.]
25th-Aug-2004 04:08 pm (UTC)
lol... A variation on the classic liberal arts answer to everything: "Yes and No."

Hey, did you follow the link yet?
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