I listened to Archbishop Dolan's lecture last night on "Rebuilding a Culture of Vocation" and thought that the core of it was sound, and something that needs re-emphasizing. We glamourize people who make spiritual dedications: the Dalai Lama, the Pope, even in fiction like the Jedi (who also get a lot of cool action), but when it comes to the ordinary--those we really interact with--and, I suspect, the Christian (the Pope "not counting" because he's experienced on a different level), then people start to use words like "disfunctional." But what's the difference between those we revere and those we question? Perhaps, I thought, as I listened, it's that the dedicated life of the priesthood--particularly the celibacy--is so much the absolute challenge to our culture and its priorities/fixations that it has to be attacked out of denial over what the very existance of that way of life is implicitly saying to the culture. To us. Am I downplaying the disasters of priests who've failed to live up to their commitments? Not in the least. But I'm not going to make the error of thinking that the particular indicts the general. Most of all, it just made me more proud of my former students Matt and Adam for having "dared" to examine the possibilities despite more public negativity for this choice than at any other time I can remember.
After this, the group of grad students that I was with hit the Water Street Brewery, which was apparently the epicenter of the entire brew-pub phenomenon. As I was famished and loathe beer, I was mostly concerned with and impressed by how good the food was. The conversation was good, long and funny.
Started working on Professor Coffey's book Grace: The Gift of the Holy Spirit today, for Monday's class. The first chapter was an interesting dive back into Trinitarian thinking, a lot of it familiar from having studied with Catherine Mowry LaCugna. And, as usual, I had a pile of questions to torment Coffey with by the end of the chapter. I needed to get a start on it because I'm going to lose a lot of time this weekend by heading back to the Bend for dinner and a jam and Friday (ended up not being able to get tix for the BC game) and then off to see my new niece and Goddaughter Grace and to surprise my Mum for her 60th birthday. Joe will make it, too, and he, Leslie and I--after saving up for a year--are giving her a trip to Ireland for her 60th birthday. I just hope the shock doesn't kill her.
Speaking of Ireland, Kevin Fleming called me and left a message saying that he and his producer Henri are so pumped by Kev's nearly-finished album Glimpse that he wants to move immediately on the idea of doing a pub tour of Ireland--over Christmas break. He wants to know if I can make it. How could I pass up performing over there? It's just too nuts.