One of the ironies of being a mature age theology student is that I find myself doing something normally associated with students of a much younger age: I study by day, and work a couple of nights a week at the local petrol station in order to make a contribution to the household finances. My appreciation of the irony is deepened by the fact that most of my work colleagues are actually young people paying their way through university; but I am also keenly aware that there is something humbling in the fact that I switch between the sometimes lofty and abstract world of theology to the mundane, occasionally gritty, reality of work. Continue reading “Mark 9: 30-37”
PRESCRIPT: Recently, my wife Sandy and I were part of a group of theology students who travelled to the little town of New Norcia, Western Australia, to spend a week with the monks of the Benedictine Abbey there, sharing their lives as they sang the seven Offices of the day, as well as working on assignments and projects for our theological studies. This was a blessed and grace-filled time, enabling us all to tap into the rich and ancient traditions of Benedictine spirituality, undergirt as they are by the Rule of Benedict, which provides a shape and a purpose for the monks’ lives. Part of the students’ assessment criteria was the compilation of a journal; not a blow-by-blow account of the week spent at the Abbey, but a reflection upon the experience itself, its impact and meaning. For my journal, I composed a series of short poems (with introductions) as a kind of impressionistic survey of my thoughts and feelings. Now that the journals have been assessed, I feel I can now properly post my poems here to share with others. I don’t make any claims for their quality as poems; but I have they will provide an insight into my own experience.
The American historian, Shelby Foote, is perhaps best known as the pre-eminent historian of the American Civil War, that terrible conflict fought between 1861 and 1865 between the Northern Union and the Southern Confederacy, and which resulted in the abolition of slavery in North America. Foote wrote three seminal books on the subject, and of the many colourful characters who inhabit the pages of his work, Foote later declared that the two who were most difficult to speak of were also the two most famous: on the one hand, the great Confederate general Robert E Lee; and, on the other, the revered US President, Abraham Lincoln. Continue reading “Mark 7: 24-37”