Friday, June 17, 2011

Summertime...and the Livin' is...Busy?

I know, I know, it's supposed to be easy!

Our summertime schedules rolled into town with a vengeance this week. Beginning of AYI Arts Camp (D. directing, S. attending), seminary homecoming (time with friends old and new), and the Ancient Wisdom Anglican Futures conference (check it out here). Our brains, hearts, and bodies are all on overload, but in a good way.

I'm far too scattered this morning to do a cohesive post (heck, it took me three tries to spell cohesive) so I'll just jot a couple of random links and thoughts.

I found myself quite thoughtful this morning over this piece by Timothy Keller. I'm really coming to love his writing. This article seems to get at something I've been thinking toward for years, but have never quite found a way to articulate: how the way of Jesus offers us a "third way" of being in the world and understanding family, one which isn't fully defined or understood through either a conservative/traditional or liberal/secular lens. Good food for thought.

Having an opportunity to hear William Harmless, SJ yesterday on Augustine of Hippo and the ancient catechumenate -- what a delight! Since D. and I are tag teaming the conference this week, he heard part 1 of the lecture and I heard part 2. We agreed we didn't have time to exchange notes last night, but ended up talking about it for twenty minutes anyway, as tired as we were.

Listen to this wonderful quote from Augustine's De doctrina christiana, on the "three aims of preaching":

"A certain man of eloquence has said -- and said rightly -- that an eloquent person should speak in such a way that he 'teaches, delights, and persuades,' adding: 'To teach is a necessity, to delight makes it enjoyable, and to persuade is a triumph' (Cicero, Orator 69). Of these three aims, the one mentioned first, that is, the necessity of teaching, shapes what we say; the other two shape how we say it. So the one who speaks with the aim of teaching should not think he has spoken to the person he wishes to teach so long as he has not been understood. Although he has verbalized what he himself understands, he should not consider that he has really spoken -- really communicated -- if the one listening to him has not really understood."

And on the "Evangelist as Tour Guide" (love this thought) Augustine writes:

"Now if we feel disgusted because we are so often repeating things geared to the little ones, familiar things, let us equip ourselves with a brother's or a father's or a mother's love, and by linking our hearts to theirs, those things will again seem new to us. For so great is this feeling of compassion that when people are touched by us as we speak and we by them as they learn, we each dwell in the other, and so it is as if they speak in us what they hear while we, in some way, learn in them what it is we teach. Isn't it quite common that when we show certain beautiful, spacious locales, whether in town or out in the countryside, to those who have never seen them before, we who have been in the habit of passing them by without any enjoyment find our own delight renewed by their delight at the novelty of it all? And how much more enjoyable the closer our friendship, because as we come together more and more through this bond of love, what had gotten old becomes new to us all over again. But if we have some progress in contemplative matters, we do not wish those who are learning from us simply to enjoy and be amazed when they gaze upon human handiwork, but we want them to enjoy and be amazed by the deeper design and underlying purpose of the Artist himself and, from there, soar up in admiration and in praise of the All-creating God, where the richest fruitfulness of his love finds its endpoint. How much more ought we to rejoice when people now approach to learn of God Himself, for whatever things we learn, we learn to learn of God; and how much more ought we to be renewed in their newness, so that if our preaching, now a routine, has cooled off, it may again catch fire because of our hearers."

Amazingly good stuff (all from Fr. Harmless translation Augustine in His Own Words published last year by Catholic University of America Press). My teacher heart needs this, on all sorts of levels...I hope to have time to ruminate and write more about it later. For now, just passing on a little bit of ancient treasure.

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