So I'm still reluctant to let go of this journal, despite the number that the newer Russian owners did on it in 2012. Recognizing that today was my feast day, and that that (had) traditionally meant some piece of Michaelmas art in my journal, made my thoughts push in this direction. The other day, I found this admittedly somewhat standard statue of Michael in a corner of campus that I had never gone to. But I couldn't help but notice that someone had had the worthy idea of individuating this piece by putting the Saint Leo University seal onto the shield, which helped offset the utterly expressionless face. I'd prefer Michael to at least look a little more intent. Maybe Michael can bless this space, help me find where a blog or public journal now fits into my life (I find the exercise of tracking my life to be too valuable to just let go), and bless the Russians into fixing the Scrapbook functions after two-and-a-half years and restoring the old functionality that this thing used to have.
I was up all night digging into my computer, trying to figure out why the thing had been getting slower and slower. I thought that it was when my antivirus software had updated some weeks back that things seemed to get worse, yet when I turned that off, the problem seemed to be solved, but then revved back up. I finally discovered that I already had a utility that I'd been wishing for – Activity Monitor – on my Mac, which let me monitor what was being used by my CPU. Then I discovered that something called Google Chrome Helper was eating my CPU, sometimes taking up more than 100% of its capacity. Following that up on discussion boards, I discovered that his has been a growing problem for Chrome users on Mac, although there's some hope that the new Canary version of the browser will fix the issue. Maddening, but I felt like I got somewhere.
The weekend was, in a large part, devoted to continuing some of the Catholic-Jewish dialogue work that I have been immersed in since the beginning of the semester. While Rabbi and Marcia Rudin had left campus after their month as visiting scholars, I still had some significant work to turn to in the review that I'm writing for Theological Studies on the volume Toward the Future: Essays on Catholic-Jewish Relations in Memory of Rabbi León Klenicki. The essays have been uniformly good, both giving me ideas that I can incorporate into future classes, as in the essay on biblical resources for interreligious dialogue, and challenging, as with the deeply-sobering reflection on the problem of doing theology after the Shoah. I don't know that I'd ever felt it as so much of a problem before. That is, I had a "head" understanding of why it was a problem, but the essay helped me feel the problem of it more than I think that I had before, even where I didn't necessarily agree with the line of thought or theological reasoning employed. In the mental mix of all of that came the memory of Rabbi Rudin and I talking back on the 6th in Orlando, when he team-taught my course for the diaconate candidates there, and somehow the two of us getting onto the Nuremberg Laws. At one point, he observed that I would have been murdered under the Nuremberg Laws and Wannsee Protocols, which was striking to me: I had known it, but no one else had ever said it before. Likewise, I re-read the Book of Exodus yesterday, preparatory to my next session in Orlando this Saturday, and so the image and heritage of Pharaoh, too, was floating in my head. All of this added up to augment that mood of sobriety. The constant, Midwest-worthy grey days and rain has just added to that. I'm not sure that I have any conclusions from the reading, other than to perhaps address the issue more explicitly in future courses. But I wonder whether the problem of evil is really made stronger via quantity, or whether it simply becomes less avoidable for us. I don't know that the pain that one murder can cause the survivors is qualitatively different than the pain caused by millions of murders: our reasoning tends to fall apart in the face of pain. Something like the Shoah, though, perhaps surrounds and confronts us with the presence of evil that otherwise we can learn to live with, rationalize, exploit, or ignore.