Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Philosophy & PhD

I should really be posting my notes from this class – it’s quite fascinating stuff. It’s totally unlike anything I’ve done yet in seminary. And that’s fine – it’s good. It’s really really hard – we’re reading Gadamer’s truth and method, and stuff by the prof Merold Westphal, and these are by far the most difficult reading I’ve done here. It’s exhausting – you read (and it takes about an hour for 10 pages, so the average night’s homework takes 6-8 hours, this after 4 hours of class) and you are so tired at the end that you can barely do anything. Even last night I tried to start on Harry Potter but could barely enjoy it because my eyes (and voice) were so tired (recall that we read them aloud at our house so we read them together).

So hopefully this gets me off the hook for not writing much lately. Wish you were here – I’ve been having great in-person conversations. I simply don’t have the energy to write them down. But we talked yesterday at lunch and then with J at dinner about the definition of art. And we are currently talking about authorial intent and how much that has to do with meaning of a text. All this stuff is pretty interesting, when I actually understand it. I was nervous about my lack of previous philosophy but it turns out I did great on my midterm, so I guess I’m getting it figured out.

I think I could handle this (see, if I wind up doing performance studies at NYU I can imagine studying this kind of thing, so this was my litmus test to see if I like the worldview of the postmodernists). It’s certainly stimulating (despite my constant yawning). You know what’s so funny about the NYU thing? Not only are the people there pretty cool and I seem to be finding a nice cross section of departments from which I could perhaps pull advisement, but also a couple of our great friends just announced they are moving there b/c the husband is going to teach at NYU in comm & media studies (so he’s writing me a rec, natch). Also I remembered that my acquaintance Jeff, who runs the Revealer (link on the left – the greatest roundup of religious news on the web, IMHO), is there also. So it’s more enticing than ever, and it’s awfully neat that we’d already have great friends there. But it’s also so weird – it’s just not a place that one usually thinks of going straight out of seminary.

I’d still really like to go to a place with a more religious grounding, but I guess since I’m so interested in comparing religions I’m scaring them off. GTU basically said they had nuthin’ for me. They were like, you’re not interested in Christianity so why are you coming here? And I didn’t feel like fighting them over email, but really what I’m trying to do is fix Christians’ ideas about food – particularly the ways it can inform our worship practices by connecting us to God – by looking at those religions that do it better than us, that are more holistically aware of the meaning of food (not just socially, but biologically, emotionally, and so forth). So in the end I hope to write back to my home audience with what I’ve learned, if they’ll still have me.

I seem to be mostly finding not much interest apart from places where somebody already studies the meaning and import of food. So maybe I’m framing my question wrong. Maybe I should say I want to fix the Eucharist. And this is how I propose to do it. But then again, when I kind of whispered to my friend who went through this PhD process last year that “I think GTU might be kind of snobby” she gave me the knowing grin and told me that several people from Fuller have had that response. Gee, that puts it in the fine company of Harvard, which outright told my Fuller peer not to bother applying since she was coming from an Evangelical seminary (even tho she has a degree from Yale already and wound up at Duke). Nice move, Harvard. Way to be open minded. What happened to postmodern acceptance of all views? :)

So yeah, this place in Canada, Wilfred Laurier, is still on the list, for ritual studies; as is Indiana, for anthropology. And now NYU for performance studies. So if you know anything about these schools or programs, please share in the comments or shoot me an email. And if you have other ideas for me, or names, I would love to hear. The search is far from over; these are just the first places that have shown genuine interest in me. And that’s really nice to have. Of course, there’s the matter of the GRE and the applying and the getting in and the money. So by no means is any of this close to wrapped up. I don’t even feel like it’s a real possibility, yet. Not really.

Meantime, it turns out my priest isn’t meeting the bishop until a week from today, so no news on that front. But it’s OK. J is meeting with the film person at Azusa Thursday to talk about finding him an ongoing job there. So we may not want to move away anyway. And I guess if we stay here, I can work towards ordination, devote more time to the church, and write my ass off. Maybe I can get my crazy ideas out there w/o even having the PhD (although the doctorate isn’t for cred so much as for having the opportunity to really study – with access to the resources I’ll need – this topic that I’m fascinated with). MAYBE even getting a book published would then get me into the PhD…ahhhh…there’s an idea.

It would be fun to be Robert Farrar Capon, whose work is divine, and who is a priest who wrote about food. He didn’t go study it, he just loved food and cooking and had a great knack for bringing it together with his faith. Check him out.

Anyway class is getting going again so I guess I’ll close.


Anonymous said...

Hi Stacy,

You should talk with Eric about these ideas he's been thinking the same thoughts as yourself.

africantrekker said...

It's Lucie....how are you? I love the idea of food....very cool in these hot times.

Take care

Anonymous said...

Have you read "The Hungry Soul" by Leon Kass, M.D.?

Stasi said...

I haven't read it but I looked up Dr. Kass - but he doesn't seem to be doing anything I could get into a PhD for (he does philosophy and literature and science stuff).

Anonymous said...

"Maybe I should say that I want to fix the Eucharist."


You almost gave me a heartattack. Shouldn't we want to be fixed by the Eucharist instead of the other way around?

I'm sure there is some sort of context where you don't mean to slight the Sacrament, but I've missed it.


Stasi said...

The way that people do the Eucharist in many churches is broken. That's what I mean when I say we need to fix it. We need to bring it back to an understanding closer to what your church has, which is that, yes, it does fix you. But very, very few Protestants have that viewpoint, and it's because their ritual is broken. So I don't mean fix the sacrament per se, but rather fix how it is done so that it can become sacramental again.