Sunday, August 28, 2011

End of Summer Reflection

Back from vacation. Well, actually, I've been back about a week, but things
have been busy as I gear up for back-to-school. It is, after all, late August
and that means preparations for a new academic gear are in high gear. That,
also, means that I have to figure out what is sustainable and what is not over
the next eight months. So, I've been thinking about that over the last couple of
weeks and this is what I've come up with.

1. TWP is not sustainable for me right now. That will, of course, cause
some disappointment among many of my readers, but I found this summer,
with the new addition to my family, it was only just sustainable to do the
weekly updates. That is, without a lesson prep, in-class time and marking, it
was just possible to crank out a TWP each week. This would suggest that,
when I add those other things that it is completely impossible to keep up
with a TWP or even a TFP. So, I'm just going to pull the plug on that now and avoid the frustration of wanting to do the updates and not being able to do it.

2. I probably have to scale down my expectations about what I can
accomplish on this blog and just post when I have time and creativity. I'm still
not quite willing to drop the blog (well, certainly not its name!), but I will
be posting more irregularly.

3. I think I may have an interim solution to my soul-searching over what to
spend my study time on. For those of you who have followed the non-TWP
posts, I've been trying to discern where I should use my time and energies-
what kind of project should I embark on with my acres and acres of free
time. Just before departing on my vacation, however, I had an important
moment of claritywhile talking with a friend. In commenting about my
patristic readings, I noted thatI had embarked on reading patristic texts
in the original (Greek or Latin- Syriac and Coptic is beyond me), largely
because I couldn't take myself seriously if I didn't. One of the things that
I absorbed in my academic Classics career was that nothing can replace
reading an author in the original- too many nuances are lost if you don't.
So, that is what I propose to do over the foreseeable future-read as many
patristic texts as it takes and not worry about projects or booksor anything
for now. Now, my job, in the precious moments of study I have, is practicing
patristic Greek and Latin. And learning from the wisdom of the Greek and
Latin Fathers, in the original. Period.

4. In keeping with this resolution, what I expect to see in this blog is
that, as I complete a work or a section of a work which gives me ideas
about howto connect it to today, I'll write up my reflection. Then, I'll
move on to the next text and do the same. I don't want to do book review
(or even treatise reviews), since I'm more interested in trying to apply
what I'm reading from theFathers to my life. In many ways, this is similar
to what I've been trying to do with my patristic entries when I shifted
to a patristic focus. So, we'll see how this works. I will continue to discern
if God wants me to do a big project anytime soon and what it would be,
if I did, but, right now, I'm content with learning how to read and
translate the Fathers better.

5. I'm excited about a program being offered at my church over the next
twelve weeks which focuses on Life with God (offered through the
but not a conventional, sit and receive one. It tries to take a contemplative
approach to reading (or, rather, listening!) to Scripture through prayer and
meditation as much as knowing. It is an appealing idea, both pedagogically
and spiritually, so I'll be interested to see how it work. I'm still trying to
make sure it fits in my life, but the signs are good: offered Sunday morning,
so my wife and I canattend without worries about child care and daily, but
not onerous work as we lead up to it. I like it because it links in where I've
been going the last ten years spiritually, towards contemplative prayer.
I admit that this does not come naturally for me, but it is something that
I think is good for me and that I think has already made good changes
in the way I deal with the world and myself.

That is worth the effort, I think.

We'll see, of course, if even this modest programs works for me.


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