Monday, January 21, 2013

What the heck am I working on?

Morning all,

I've been writing for about half a year now, and I appreciate everyone who has followed me since. I encourage you and my old followers to participate in myposts by posing questions, challenges, or suggestions to me. I appreciate you all taking the time to read my work and I hope to make it better for you in the future.

School has been incredible busy. 17 hours, 9 of which are graduate-level courses, has put a big strain on my time. Basketball, part-time work, and papers have all limited me in a significant way. I'm still writing, and actually have quite a few things half-done.

I've decided to share some with you. These are half/partially finished and in limbo--whether it's content, time, or presentation.

1) "Ancient Culture Wasn't Better"

Many look at ancient cultures as open, accepting, and happy because of how they viewed sexuality, the body, and how we expressed ourselves. Many of these people, perhaps unknowingly, are addicted to the power that such an image of the past creates. Some fail to realize that the ideal we draw from the past covers a great number of anxieties, abuses, and simply human tendencies. People look to the ancient conception of eros and a sort of divine madness as an openness to the pleasures of sex—in turn they see the Christian response as a altogether Puritan response to the body. Christians starve the body, the ancients (and now moderns) nourish it.
...
When we look at ancient society we find the Elysian fields and other afterlife narratives where, in the end, the strong, the mighty, and the high-born who live up to their nobility are given eternal delights and remembered forever along with their great ancestors. Yet those who were among the common-born were by nature at the service of the strong and, in death, entered the company of the shades. The virtues that were raised as the human ideal (such as by Aristotle) were best attained by those who had the money, the health, and favorable disposition to do so. Those of lesser blood were simply incapable of attaining perfect virtue, not for a lack of desire but through a lack of the natural potential.



2) "How Life Collapses Suddenly: A Warning"

No person is made from a vacuum and no "finished product," the person that we see, is as stable as he may appear. Even the sturdiest of buildings have imperfections and decay.

It is perhaps better to see human beings as not a constantly-revised building but as an ongoing construction project.

Though a whole wall may appear sturdy, a single misaligned brick can bring the whole thing down. It may appear inconsequential.

The shaky structures that we sometimes build in fair weather are considered "sufficient" precisely because there is no trial, pressure, or difficulty. But then the rain comes, strong wind blows, hailstones fall, and all sorts of catastrophes occur. This is when we test the wisdom of our plans, and the effectiveness of our actions. The same is true of faith.


3) "Doctrine as Organic"

A note: doctrine and dogma are words so misused and abused that I feel the need to work on it. I got through quite a bit here before a nagging doubt in my mind brought me to ask my priest-professor about it. I'm glad I did, because I turned out to be completely wrong--not in my content, but in my angle. I realized I had been speaking about a discipline as if it were doctrine--a big mistake! But as I researched this topic I noticed that doctrine was not as clear as I thought the literature would convey. Then again, this is what we should expect. We receive revelation but we must still live in the world. We encounter Christ, but we must still follow Him. While I may have screwed up a lot in a small aspect--which ruins the whole--what I have can still be salvaged.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, however, common language had overtaken much more of public life. Latin remained the uniform academic language of the day, but as churches grew so did the demand for the vernacular of the people. As the Protestant Reformation came about, many reformers demanded that the vernacular be used.

This concern [of the reformers] was pastoral and 'political.' It was pastoral such that the reformers wanted to teach Scripture more intimately in the language of their people. It should be noted numerous personal translations in the vernacular existed at this time (and beforehand [e.g., Erasmus' translation]) and were distributed, but an official vernacular was not published. It was political such that by removing others from Latin it was also a move to remove people more holistically from the Church. You can see for yourselves today that Latin is often associated with the Church. Among Protestants and Catholics alike, Latin is reserved almost exclusively for academic pursuits, but the official language of Catholicism still remains Latin and all documents issued from Rome are in Latin to this day.

This (intellectually) violent rejection of Latin in turn gave pause to the fathers of the Church. At the Council of Trent (1545-63) they discussed this at great length. They decided on something very peculiar. In a climate where every reformer was making his own translation of the Bible the council decided that it would not put forth an official translation. Their reason, however, was wiser than it may appear. They said that in this increasingly polemical and enflamed climate it would be imprudent to simply rush a translation of the mass and Scripture into the vernacular. For those of you who translate anything into another language you realize the difficult decisions you must make in order to both remain faithful to the original and present it as readable in the new language. The fathers, recognizing this, made provisions for official translations to be made and disseminated but 'not yet.'



Sorry for the long post.

Do any of these look interesting? Does anything catch your eye?

Please let me know,

Matt