|Dr StClaire from pixabay.com|
|Dr StClaire from pixabay.com|
In my last post, We've been in class for a few weeks and I have to say conversation has been, well, let's go with muted. There are three or four students who are willing to speak up. I'm not convinced all of them have read the texts even when they speak up, but one step at a time.
I've reminded my students that those two questions could be at the root of anyone's spiritual journey even if they are rephrased. "What is my purpose?" "Why am I here?" "Why do I matter?" "Do I matter?" I might add the question "To whom do I matter other than my family and friends, and how do I know that?"
For those who are seeking a life of meaning and purpose, regardless of what they believe to be true about God or gods or a Supreme Being, these are important questions.
This, for me, is so powerfully important to the consideration of spirituality, especially if I'm looking for a life of meaning and purpose. As I've said before, we have the opportunity, and perhaps even the privilege, to read how others have wrestled with these questions and with their understanding of sin or what it could mean to fall short or believe they fall short of whatever their god or gods expect or might want.
So as we wrap up Augustine and turn towards Boethius, I want them to somehow map or document what they've learned using this image as a starting point. How would they adapt it and why? In wrapping up Augustine, we're going to focus on 1) his key relationships: his mother, Bishop Ambrose, and Alypius, a friend of conflicting influences; 2) Book VIII and what pulls him toward evil and what pulls him toward good; and 3) those spiritual journey signposts in Book VI that might translate, if you will, to anyone's spiritual journey.
Is Boethius's Consolation specifically Christian, even as Christianity was understood in his time? No, and that is significant. The work also challenges us to think about the role of reason and the senses in grappling with reality as well as how we understand however we perceive God.
How each student creates his or her "map" will be up to them, and they will revise and update it as we continue to read other classical texts (Donne, Bunyan) and then more contemporary texts (Tolstoy, Achebe, Tan, O'Connor, Sepetys, Lewis).
In the September issue of Christianity Today is an article about Dallas Willard and the genesis of what has become the spiritual formation movement. I was looking forward to reading that article but was sidetracked by this article title:
Go ahead and feel whatever you want and need to feel. Note what I've circled. I'll get back to that.
The follow-up email was about an incident about which I had no direct knowledge, so my on-going outrage was based on someone else's account of an incident. I trusted and trust the speaker and believe that the incident actually happened, but my information is hearsay. That a high school boy convinced a middle school girl, both of whom attended the same Christian school, to have sex with him and recorded it, then shared the video with his buddies. As you can well imagine, she and her family bore the brunt of the shame.
The boy? Nothing. Nothing happened.
So let's just hope that middle school girl didn't get pregnant because, you know, we don't want her to get away with anything she shouldn't.