Novak (novak) wrote,

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Theological Notebook/Personal: Not Interviewing Angie; Dissertating for Freshmen; Re-Reading

Angie called today to talk a few logistics about next week's informal LOMC mini-reunion, but called just a second or two before the other line started beeping for another call: a phone interview I was expecting. I was so surprised to have picked up the phone and heard Angie's voice that I had to just shush her off the line before switching over to the conversation I was intending to have, still chuckling over the shock to my expectations. I explained why I was laughing to the group on the other end, getting a good laugh out of them, and thus sort of settling into a very pleasant chat of a phone interview. I don't normally suppose you can think of such disembodied voices on the line in such a situation as "a fun group," but these certainly were, even as they settled in to business.

My students today were very keen on finding out just what a dissertation defense entailed, which delayed class for some five minutes as they got in their variety of questions. I suppose I got a bit of good practice in for my introduction by having to try to explain to a group of Intro To Theology student just what my dissertation was about. A few actually asked after class about attending, which would be cool of them, although I'm not sure how entertaining it might be for freshmen.

They shifted gears nicely into talking about the spirituality of icons, though, having read some on the Iconoclast Controversy of the eighth century for class today, and I was very pleased at how quickly they put together where I was going when I asked a few seemingly-unrelated questions, such as by first asking them what was difficult in long-distance dating relationship, which was for my plans a way of getting into the potential difficulty of relating to the Unseen God. They have enough experience, whether personally or through friends, to understand the difficulties of relating to someone you cannot see or physically spend time with, and were prepared to think much more "concretely" about such problems in human relationships. To then transfer that thinking over to relationship with God kept the discussion much more detailed, I think, than if I had started with the more "abstract" notion of relationship to God.

Back to the dissertation-reading. While I've complained about how annoying it is to find typos still dwelling in the text even after as much reading and editing Professor Fahey and I have done, it's is satisfying to read a passage that is better written than you remembered. I think I'm starting to see in the text a sort of chronological development of my style, or signs of the progressive and positive impact that working with Fahey has had on my writing: the first chapter was still the roughest. He mentioned today during a phone call that his fellow editor of the Ecclesiological Investigations series that T&T Clark is putting out had said to him that my text might be something the series would want to print, after he had heard what I was doing. That might be a particularly fine home for the manuscript once I'm done with the revisions.
Tags: art, class-intro to theology, dissertation, eastern orthodoxy, fahey, friends-niu era, lomc, mysticism/spirituality, personal, teaching, theological notebook, writing

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