Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oops, I missed a couple weeks I guess

Because I showed up to chapel today and it was Good Friday! Wow, who knew? Yep, big ol' cross up front, all music re: cross/death, and an opportunity to "pass by" (heavens, don't say "venerate!") the cross at the end. I've harped on this before, so I won't retrace my steps. But geez, I'm just getting used to the revelation of God in Jesus through the various miracles of Epiphany and they want to hit me with the end of his life (not unlike the apostle's creed, actually, when Jesus is summed as born and died). My internal clock is all screwy now. The whole thing felt so weird and out of place.

Anyway, here are three beautiful things for today:
1) One paper is finished, leaving only 5 for the rest of the quarter (total for both classes). Excellent.
2) It's finally cooled down in LA. I was tempted to complain about the cold but then I remembered how much I hated it being 90 degrees last month, so I am indeed happier now. Still I do miss our temperate climate, which seems to have gone bye bye.
3) Galatians yesterday. After I had gotten all confident and switched back to taking it for a grade, I found myself called on and feelin' stupid last Thursday. I was really bad. And I felt so on display. I know we all feel that way. I told J it's like 2 hours of sheer terror in that class, and he said that I should just pretend it's a horror movie (I guess I'm the star), since I like horror now. Fine, but I don't want to watch 2 horror movies a week for 10 weeks in a row! I mentioned it to my seat neighbor yesterday and she agreed: your heart is pounding, your adrenaline is pumping, you are terrified to be called on next. Ah, the fun of oral examination of translation!

BUT, yesterday the prof announced that she was frustrated that we spend so much time translating that we never talk about the actual text (THANK YOU) and so she was considering having us only translate every other passage, and in the interims just write a list of questions that come up from our study. Praise the Lord. She had to ask if anybody would be upset, though, because it would be going against the syllabus for the class. Oh, yeah, cry me a river. I think we'll all be fine!

Then, I did get called on, but I read out my translation and she just said, "Good. Next." And that was it! No parsing, no questioning. Wow. I mean, it wasn't like I was so awesome, it was because we were running out of time. But I was the only person that got that reaction. So class began feeling more like a light romantic comedy than a horror flick, and that is A Beautiful Thing!

I really did deserve a break. That translation (Gal 2:1-10) took me 6 hours on Monday. It was miserable. Today I just have 4 to do. Whew. It's such an interesting book - there's so much going on. And a lot that we simply don't have answers for, but can raise such intriguing questions. I'm actually looking forward to my exegetical paper. Esp because I get to write on the "no male nor female, Jew nor Greek" verse.

But tomorrow's text will be about food, and that's also fun. I need to get on writing my food book before somebody else does. Well I'm sure someone will beat me to it, esp since it's such a popular topic right now. But I have such a great idea for a kind of "Savoring Spirituality" text that would look at many aspects of the spiritual life through the metaphor (or more often literal partaking) of food. I can get into fellowship, and worship, and how we choose what to eat, and whether eating industrial/organic/sustainable harms or helps us spiritually, and how food is used in ritual, and food as fuel vs. gift/creation, and how it is a way to be a priest before God...there's just a whole lotta ideas in my head. I got to get them out there.

Now about the house thing, we've been doing research and there's a wonderful website from a guy who's headed up houses at Harvard I think: It has a ton of great resources, including lists of schools around the world that have colleges (in the British sense of the term). J and I want to do something like it, but much smaller - less of a college and more of a house (in the Harry Potter sense of the term). Still, many of the ideas are helpful. And it's also great to see that Messiah College's alumni are gunning for a house system - more Christian colleges need to be doing this! And we can lead the charge.

We want to do away with dorms at Christian colleges and turn them into communities of Houses that provide fellowship, academic support, and most importantly, spiritual direction and opportunities for worship. Universities should not be diploma factories - that's what U Phoenix & DeVry are for! A great school should be a place where character is formed, where adults - world citizens - are made. And wouldn't it be awesome if Christian colleges did this first, instead of lagging 20 years behind a secular movement (that seems to be building)? I mean, we are after all pretty great at community, when we set our minds to it. I think it's just a wonderful calling. Something I could really get my entire life behind.

Plus when we cook and eat together we celebrate the spiritual aspects of food. Had to get that in there. :)

Finally I must mention a couple movies I saw. First, Pan's Labyrinth, which is an interesting film but not at all what the trailers seem to portray. I saw the trailer again recently and thought: dang, I really want to see that movie! But Pan is primarily about the real world, which is a decent enough historical story (extremely violent), but not what I thought I was getting. I was expecting a cool fantasy film. Pretty much the entire fantasy is shown in the trailer. So just be warned - you're not watching the story from the preview. It doesn't make the film bad, it's just misleading. And it wasn't all that fabulous anyway. I'm told I'll prefer The Fountain but oops we missed it.

The other that I do highly recommend is Children of Men. I'm going to tell you about why it's wonderful, but be warned, there are spoilers. So if you want to go in fresh, don't read this, just trust me and go try it out and read this after.

Imagine a world in which humanity has lost hope, and has turned on one another in violence and oppression. There is an empire that is suspicious of foreigners and mistreats them, and tries to protect its citizens but there are multiple uprisings. In all this there are people dreaming of the one thing that could solve it all: a child to be born, who would bring peace and restore order. The miracle they are waiting for happens and a young pregnant girl turns up. Some want to take over in a coup and steal the child for their political purposes. Others simply want to protect the child and the mother, including a man who is not the father but who risks everything for her. The baby comes in truly humble circumstances and must be hidden away from the government and interest groups. But when the baby comes, the violent, loud, harsh world quiets for just a few incredible moments (while John Tavener's prayer plays, no less) and all are awed by the birth of this one who means the future has finally arrived, and hope is again possible.

Sounds familiar, huh?

Yeah, it's worth seeing.

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

A visitor's link pointed me to your kind mention of my website, The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges and the Renewal of University Life ( (Coincidentally, my server is experiencing load troubles at the moment, so if anyone has difficulty connecting just make a bookmark and come back again later.)

I've always been a bit surprised that more religiously-based universities haven't latched on to the residential college/house model, since it does focus so strongly on the development of the whole student and on community values. I'm a rather secular fellow myself, but I've gotten a lot of good insights and moral support from some religiously-based educational texts (William Willimon's The Abandoned Generation is a good example.) And yet for all the principles, the practice has not been as strong on most campuses as it could be.

And wouldn't it be awesome if Christian colleges did this first, instead of lagging 20 years behind a secular movement (that seems to be building)? I mean, we are after all pretty great at community, when we set our minds to it. I think it's just a wonderful calling. Something I could really get my entire life behind.

Do it! Join me. We will be collegiate evangelists.