Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thomas Merton & the Task of Theology

It's the Merton centennial year, and our local PBS station, KET, did a short segment on Thomas Merton and the Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Part of the segment included some shots of my undergraduate class on Merton, as well as an interview with me about what Merton means for how I approach the task of theology and about how he influences Bellarmine University's approach to education. My class and I appear at the 2:45 mark of the video below.

Photo above by Sara Ferebee.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interchurch Families Official Response to 2015 Synod on the Family

I've written about living in an interchurch family elsewhere on this blog; my wife, Kim, is Episcopalian and I am Roman Catholic. In recent months, and due in no small part to the fact that my oldest son is now at "First Communion" age, I've been reading up on the work being done by the Interchurch Families International Network (IFIN) regarding the challenges and joys faced by interchurch families like mine. I'm now on the list serve for the network, and have made contacts with a few of the members.

Led by Professor Thomas Knieps, who is on the Faculty of Theology and Religious Study at Leuven, IFIN released an official response to the Synod on the Family that includes some concrete hopes regarding how the upcoming Synod in October 2015 will address interchurch familial issues. I've read through the text, and endorse it entirely. The text deals head-on with terminological issues (we prefer 'interchurch marriage' rather than 'mixed marriage'), marital counseling for interchurch couples, the complications of raising children in an interchurch family, and - most importantly from my perspective - the possibility of greater Eucharistic sharing in interchurch families.

I hope to write more about the issues addressed in this text, which I've attached below (with Prof. Knieps' permission). In the meantime, I encourage you to give it a read.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opening Day Reflection - Bart Giamatti's "The Green Fields of the Mind"

Photo by Brad Trent
Bart Giamatti - one time professor of comparative literature, president of Yale University, and commissioner of major league baseball - wrote beautiful essays on baseball, a game he understood to have "deep patterns" that resonated with some of the deepest impulses of human longing. Unfortunately, Giamatti died suddenly in 1989, only 8 days after he banned Pete Rose from baseball for gambling.

You can read his baseball essays in A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti. One of his best essays is also one of his earliest - "The Green Fields of the Mind." It's worth reading, but it's particularly worth hearing Giamatti himself read it. A great listen on this opening day of the 2015 baseball season (technically, the season started last night, but my beloved Blue Jays play their first game today).

Image above from