Friday, September 28, 2012

Mumford & Sons "Below My Feet" and Julian of Norwich

So, like about 100,000 other people, I bought Mumford & Sons' new album, "Babel," this week and have been listening to it pretty much nonstop.

But something caught my brain this morning on my way to work as I was listening to the penultimate track-- "Below My Feet."

It's giving off a very Julian of Norwich vibe.

Take a listen and check out the lyrics.

Below My Feet lyrics

You were cold as the blood through your bones
And the light which led us from our chosen homes
Oh, I was lost.
So now I sleep
Sleep the hours that I don't weep
And all I knew was steeped in blackened holes
Oh, I was lost

Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve
My hands to learn

Well I was still
But I was under your spell
But I was told by Jesus
All was well
So all must be well
Just give me time
You know your desires and mine
So wrap my flesh in ivy and in twine
For I must be well

Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve my hands to learn
Keep my eyes to serve my hands to learn

Exhibit A: Blood imagery-- Julian's visions were quite graphic.
Exhibit B: Sleep-- Julian was quite sick, and yes, slept a lot. Her visions also took the form of dreams.
Exhibit C: "I was told by Jesus / All was well / So all must be well" -- Probably Julian's most famous quote, which she received from Jesus in a vision, is "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

What do you guys think?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Theologian Thursday: Peter Abelard (1079 - 1142)

Abelard and Heloise

Peter Abelard was one of the great philosopher-theologians.

Abelard studied the dialectic form of philosophy and was one of the first nominalists, which means he did not believe in universals--things like "love" or "beauty" are only words, not real things. These ideas, along with his tweaking of Boethius's account of identity, clearly influenced how Abelard thought about God, and especially the Trinity--the three Persons are one concrete thing (God), and yet have three distinct definitions.

Besides his philosophy, Abelard is well-known for his relationship with his patron's niece, Heloise, who was also a nun. You may know of their affair from Alexander Pope's poem "Eloisa to Abelard," (from which the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes its name) or various other accounts. Heloise herself was quite learned, and though their romance was tragic--she was sent away by her uncle when he found out about them, so their affair continued in secret and through letters until she became pregnant and Abelard sent her away for good... and then her uncle had Abelard castrated--it has lived on through legend in art and literature. If you'd like to read a more detailed account than I can describe here, check out this stellar blog post.

What you should read:
  • Sic et Non
  • Theologia christiana

Ratings:(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality: 
Though I do not doubt that Abelard's love for Heloise was true, somehow I have a hard time believing that he really respected her or considered her, you know, a person, given his banishment of her once he got her pregnant (even if it was "for her own good").
Environmental Sensibility: 
With the middle ages, it's kind of hard to say. Love for creation was certainly not of the utmost importance to Abelard--he was certainly more concerned with pursuits of the mind.
Heretical Tendencies: 
Because of his use of dialectic philosophy, and his appreciation for mystery and open-ended questions without solid dogmatic answers, he was often accused of heresy. He was tried by Bernard of Clairvaux, who was a mystic and therefore had a lot of issues with Abelard's use of rationality with religion.
General Badassery: 
Dude was super smart, had a pretty badass romance, and stood up to trials of heresy. Pretty cool, but not amazingly so.

"The key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Google Maps: Great Barrier Reef

You guys. This is so cool.

You can now explore the Great Barrier Reef via Google Maps Street View!

Check out this little video to get a glimpse

I am not much of a creative person, so the fact that someone said, "Hey, let's use Street View to go underwater and explore and post it to the internet so other people can enjoy it" absolutely blows my mind.

To read more about it and try it out, check out this blog post from the Google Blog.

Thanks, Google. You da best.

Monday, September 24, 2012

First Day of School! First Day of School!

Today is--supposedly--the first day of my second year in the MLIS program.

I say supposedly because, as of this posting, the day is half over and I have yet to gain access to my course websites. This means there has been zero schoolwork done (unless you count introducing myself on the discussion board).

Pretty anticlimactic.

The good news is I'm one step closer to being DONE. It's been kind of annoying to be in this state of suspended animation all summer with no classes, making no progress. But now we're back in business and I'm ready to get stuff done.

The other good news is that I'll actually have library-related stuff to talk about here again. Because discussing readings on discussion boards sometimes isn't quite enough.

I'm taking two classes this quarter: Research Assessments and Design and Strategic Management of Social Media.

So if you're interested in either of those things, stay tuned!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Caturday: Cats vs. Dogs Edition

Finally, we have some scientific evidence that cats are better than dogs.

(Although, I would like to point out that there are no pugs in this video. Because pugs rule all!)

Happy Caturday!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Theologian Thursday: St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Teresa of Avila was a Spanish Catholic mystic and Carmelite nun. She spent a lot of time in ascetic seclusion, in prayer, contemplation, and writing. She took an oath of poverty and opened many convents in Spain.

Teresa actually has a lot of similarities to Julian of Norwich.

She went through quite a few serious illnesses, and also experienced many visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Teresa went on to develop a kind of prayer practice to engage these visions and become spiritually closer to God.

What you should read:
Ratings:(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality: 
Although the patriarchy engrained in her through society often made her question her worth as a woman, she did much important work, even taking a leading role in training John of the Cross and Anthony of Jesus in opening the Carmelite Brethren.
Environmental Sensibility: 
As mystics often do, Teresa of Avila found God in nature, and often looked to nature to inspire and inform her spiritual prayers and practices. Therefore, I believe she cared for the environment as God's creation and as a conduit of divine revelation.
Heretical Tendencies: 
As a nun and leader of convents, she was pretty soundly grounded in orthodox belief, even if her visions and mysticism are not always accepted as kosher.
General Badassery: 
While she did battle sickness and have some crazy visions, most of Teresa's life is marked by simple asceticism, hard work, and devotion to her convents. Admirable, certainly, but perhaps not entirely badass.

"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world." 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

iPhone 5!

I am neither a die-hard Apple fan (more a creature of habit), nor a real technophile (though I do like a new toy), but I successfully preordered my new iPhone 5 last week, and I'm quite excited about it!

iPhone 5 features I'm most looking forward to:

  • Siri. I've had the iPhone 4 for two years, so I've yet to discover the wonder that is Siri. Or maybe it's just a fun novelty. We'll see if I use it for things other than asking silly questions.
  • Panorama photo taking! And a better camera, in general, since I use my iPhone as my main camera.
  • Maps. Have you seen the flyover thing! Really neat! EDIT: After checking out this blog, I'm not so sure anymore... 
  • iOS6. Mostly Facebook integration. It's about dang time.
  • EarPods. So fancy.
Features I'm not so sure about:
  • Passbook. I've used something similar to this before, and never really found it useful. We'll see.
  • Extra Length. I'm a little worried it will feel like holding a baseball bat. Or like this:

Are you getting the new iPhone? What are you most excited about?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Theologian Thursday: Simone Weil (1909-1943)

Simone Weil was a French anarchist and political activist turned Catholic mystic. She was born to an affluent Jewish family in Paris, and despite her wealthy upbringing devoted her life to living among and fighting for the working class. One story tells how, when she was five years old, she refused to eat sugar in solidarity with the French soldiers, who had none on the battlefields of WWI.

Her Jewish heritage (which she, in many ways, rejected), combined with her study of philosophy and interest in anarcho-communism, makes for an interesting theology.

Weil's idea of creation is especially interesting: since God is perfect fullness, creation occurs when God withdraws--to make room, in a way, for creation to exist--and in this way humanity is separated from God, not necessarily as a result of willful sin. The incarnation of Jesus Christ bridges this gap, and in him God and humanity are reconciled.

What you should read:
  • Gravity and Grace
  • Oppression and Liberty
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE)
Gender Equality:
Simone Weil pursued academic, activist, and even military life. The fact that she was a woman did not hinder her from doing what she wanted and fighting for what she believed in.
Environmental Sensibility:
With her emphasis on revolution and class equality, I think Weil had some sense of care for the environment. However, her belief in an inherently "evil" (or, separate from God) creation may imply something different.
Heretical Tendencies: 
Simone Weil has been accused of being an antisemitic Marcionite due to her basic rejection of the Hebrew Bible. Additionally, her creation theology is not exactly orthodox, and her ecclesiology was definitely lacking.
General Badassery: 
From fighting in the Spanish American War, to her various involvements with Marxists, anarchists, and other political activists, as well as teaching and writing, Simone Weil was always up to something and accomplished much in  her short 34 years.

"The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Theology I'm reading this Thursday but not sharing with you...

Welp, today has gotten away from me, and I'm knee-deep in about ten different books working on a project (will share later) and just didn't get around to Theologian Thursday today.

So sorry!

But you know, I went 8 weeks in a row without skipping, so I feel like that's pretty good.

Now I have to start over. Like a factory worker keeping track of the time since the last accident.

It's been ZERO weeks since I skipped Theologian Thursday. :(

If you're interested in what I'm reading this week, here's the stack of books sitting on my desk currently.

Top to bottom:
In Good Company // Hauerwas

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On New School Years

Classes at Point Loma started last week, and I've been training up TEN new student employees. That's a lot, considering I currently have 16 total. It's been nice, and they all seem really enthusiastic and ready to learn, which is great.

It's especially interesting because now there are only 4 students left who were my co-workers before I became their supervisor. So the majority of my students just see me as their "boss," and not, you know, like a regular human being who was also a student worker not-too-long-ago. Which is good and bad, I guess.

Next year all the students will have been hired by me.

It makes me feel a little old. I realize that I graduated two years ago and have been in this position as long. It's really flown by, and what's weirder is that there's not really an end in sight. I could easily be in this office for five (or seven? or ten?) more years. Who knows?

Being a grown up is weird.

Anyway, classes of my second year of my MLIS start up in three weeks and I'm dreading having to actually do school again but looking forward to being a bit closer to completing my degree.

Welp. Boring post is boring.

Here is a photo of my and my friend/New Testament professor Kara wearing our matching shoes on the first day of classes:

Saturday, September 1, 2012


This cat is the cutest.
and so tolerant!
Happy Caturday!