7 Quick Takes Friday (1/24/14)

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Obituaries usually make me feel sad. This one made me feel really happy. It’s an obituary all of us can aspire to having someday.

You should read it:

“If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop.”

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I am a recent alum of the University of Notre Dame. Although I have not developed the same love for the school that I probably would have if I had attended as an undergraduate, I do love her a lot. Notre Dame is a wonderful place. It’s one of the few Catholic universities that still cares about being Catholic.

Moreover, I remember being surprised and pleased when Notre Dame lead the charge on the HHS Mandate back in 2012…

…but it looks like the university is giving in after all, for the time being:

“Today, the university advised employees — myself included — that its third-party administrator (Meritain Health) would be in touch about the ‘free’ services — which include abortifacient drugs and devices,” noted Gerard Bradley, a professor at the Notre Dame School of Law, in a post on National Review’s Bench Memos.

“[T]he university could refuse to ‘certify’ its conscientious objection to the TPA, thus holding back on the trigger necessary for Meritain to initiate coverage,” said Bradley, who expressed regret with the university’s apparent decision to sign the self-certification form authorizing a third-party administrator (TPA) to provide the mandated services.

“The reasons for doing so would be, as Notre Dame asserted in its formal complaint in the local federal court, that so ‘triggering’ the coverage would be tantamount to facilitating abortions in violation of the university’s Catholic beliefs,” added Bradley, who noted that the Jan. 2 announcement “implies that the university has indeed pulled that trigger.”  (Joan Desmond, National Catholic Register)

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The South Bend Tribune has even more sad news, that several ND students have sought to fight the University’s lawsuit because they are “very much in need of contraception” and “hopeful that they would finally be able access it,” according to Ayesha Khan of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Shearer points out, with an incisive response:

They [the students] are privileged to attend a university with a distinctive Catholic identity, and one would assume that, given their admission and the effort expended seeking legal counsel from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, they have both the intellect and resources to locate one of the two local Planned Parenthood clinics, either of which would be happy to help them with their contraceptive needs. Should they not wish to avail themselves of that organization’s services, a visit to any public health clinic or a general practitioner will likely result in a prescription for “the pill” which may then be procured at a quite reasonable cost at any given Walmart or Walgreens. Any notion that they “would finally be able to obtain access to it” (contraception) only in the event of university provision of it is absurd.

Birth control of all sorts is readily available in this area, from multiple venues at a cost, in general, which imposes little to no burden upon the user, thus not requiring denigration of the values of the institution to which they are supposedly committed in intellectual, if not spiritual, harmony. (Shearer, “Student’s Role in Notre Dame Lawsuit Utter Nonsense”)

You should read the entirety of Shearer’s excellent response here.

For better or worse, Notre Dame is in many ways the flagship of Catholic universities. She is wealthy and influential. When Notre Dame speaks, people listen. She carries a huge responsibility to be faithful to her mission, “the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake,” and to the “basic inspiration from Jesus Christ as the source of wisdom and [to] the conviction that in him all things can be brought to their completion.” (ND Mission Statement)

I hope that the leaders of Notre Dame will be faithful to that mission, and to encouraging all members of the university to be faithful as well.

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Over at Cosmos in the Lost, Mr. Rosman says, “Writing really is a process of discovery, a form of thinking. You don’t know what you’ll end up writing until you actually sit down and write it.”

I love this – and I repeat this idea all the time to my students. Flannery O’Connor put it this way: “I write to discover what I know.”

I was especially intrigued by the title of Mr. Rosman’s post: “Everything Under the S(u/o)n: Von Balthasar’s and Milosz’s God Metaphors.”

If you know me, then you know that Hans Urs von Balthasar is one of my favorite theologians. I wrote my theology thesis about his work in Theo-Logic.

Go read Rosman’s post to find out what those God metaphors are.

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Richard Wilbur notes that metaphor is the grounding of human language and thought–which is partially why metaphor is so essential to poetry. If you think about it, many of the everyday phrases we use to describe reality are, in fact, metaphors. We don’t notice this anymore because some metaphors have become so common they don’t even seem figurative or poetic:

“I need a minute to digest what you’ve said.”   Thinking:Eating

“Keep your eyes peeled!”  Eyes: Fruit? Potato?

“That’s music to my ears!”  Some statement: music

“That assignment was a breeze!”  Assignment: breeze

“She broke his heart.” Heart: Something delicate and breakable, like china.

“They didn’t want to acknowledge the elephant in the room.” Elephant: awkward truth

See here and here for more examples.

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Father James Martin, SJ, is always showing up on my Facebook newsfeed and making insightful statuses about prayer or suggesting interesting articles like this one over at America magazine:

“Truth and Truthiness: What Catholic Catechists Can Learn from Stephen Colbert”

A taste:

Stephen Colbert has figured out how to reach people, and Catholic educators should take notice. [...] Fans of the show do not just tune in for a laugh, turn off the TV set at show’s end and forget about it. They take action based on what they hear, and our culture has been changed as a result. (Patrick Manning)

Really great article that even brings in Saint Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine.

As a very imperfect teacher, what Manning says really resonates (uncomfortably) with me. I’m not Stephen Colbert–but it is the Stephen Colberts of the world who reach their audiences and effect change. They entertain, instruct and persuade.

All good teachers do this. You can’t really get around the entertaining part, either.

Especially in a high school classroom.

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Speaking of high school classrooms, my classroom is going to be transformed into a coffee shop next week! Complete with coffee. And donuts. And tea. And yes, you may bring in muffins. Yes, breakfast burritos are okay, too. No, you may not come in dressed as a beat poet with a black beret. You have to stay in uniform. Yes, as I said before, coffee is okay. Yes, Starbucks too.

My students will be reciting their poems on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So if you could spare a prayer for them, it would mean a lot to me.

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2 Comments

Filed under Catholicism, Christ, College, Education, Poetry, Religion, Teaching

2 responses to “7 Quick Takes Friday (1/24/14)

  1. Maria @ Frugal Homesteading

    Great to find your blog. I also majored in English Literature as an undergrad and someday would like to write (really write, not just blog) again. For now, though, raising my family takes precedence. Do you make time to write? I know teaching is very time consuming.

    • Hi Maria! Thank you so much for reading.

      Teaching is extremely time consuming — although definitely less so than raising a family. Prayers for you in your beautiful vocation.

      I make time to write. To be honest, I often use my off period during 7th hour of the day to write instead of to grade or lesson plan. After teaching six classes my mind is usually burned out from teaching – but at the same time it is usually still buzzing with ideas and questions.

      Committing to Conversion Diary’s 7 Quick Takes Friday has added more discipline to my blogging, and forced me to be a little bit less meticulous before posting.

      I write what I care about most. That is always what resonates with me when reading other bloggers.

      God bless,

      Maura

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