Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm back.

This has been the longest hiatus from blogging I've taken in quite some time. I don't know how productive I've been in the paper-writing department, but I think the break was good for my brain. Last night, I presented my "Wanderer" paper to some other graduate students, some faculty, and my sweet husband who took off work early and drove an hour to be there. I think it is no small feat to listen to academic papers being presented even if you love the subjects. I was glad to have him there because it gave him some kind of insight into this weird life I've been having without him. Afterwards, some of us went to this weird little coffee place/bar/bookshop. I think that David liked hearing the professors talk about their work and their students. It made me feel loved to have him be there and enjoy it.

Our little family is the only thing that makes any sense to me most of the time.

I am so grateful for so much.

I've been thinking about a church-service we attended on Sunday. It made me realize that the only thing that matters to me about a church is that it employs a pastor who has a high regard for the Scriptures. I love to hear H.R. preach for that reason. He takes the Scriptures and his responsibility to/for them seriously. He handles them like a scholar. I like to hear J.R. at St. Peter's for the same reason. So many preachers feel that they can't just present the Scripture to their congregation without doing something to make it "relevant" or "interesting." This makes their preaching silly and insipid. Like high school.

Several of the papers presented last night were about teaching long classic poems to high school students. (Why they were talking about classic poems is a puzzle to me being that the class was about 19th Century Romantic British poetry.) Anyway, the consensus seems to be that high school students can't learn classic poetry unless the teacher does something like equate it to Tupac Shakur or make it into a rap. Seriously? One of the papers even referred to 9th graders as "beginning readers." The horror of that! Our educational system is churning out some stupid people who go to school and become high school teachers. (Now, to be fair, several of the education majors at Montevallo are not stupid. I can think of three.) There are no "good" public schools. There are students who learn to take tests and do what the government tells them. This issue will stand like a flagpole on the grave of American democracy. Count on it.

And the same thing is happening in church. We can't study Romans anymore. We've got to study "hope" or "marriage." There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though! There are groups of people who are reclaiming their right to think! This is a good thing. Resist! Stand up to the forces of darkness that would consume your brain! I really and truly believe that there is some conspiracy a foot to turn all of us into non-thinking means of production. I really believe that. We've got to do something about that!

Just to show that some poetry-raps are pretty funny, here is an advertisement tourism in Cambria. This is where William Wordsworth was from.


amanda hannah said...

Su! I miss you.

susan said...

I just cannot explain the past few weeks. BUT, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming. Will you have some time to hang out before Christmas?


Carla Jean said...


It is horrifying how low the literacy level is in some of our classrooms. Seriously. Granted, I'm not working with the ninth graders you reference. But then, sometimes I meet 20-somethings whose literacy I question.

And while I do appreciate some parallels drawn between scripture and my life, I really appreciate simply learning about scripture and what it means, and what it meant then, and what was happening when it was written, and who it was written to.

That's all for today.


susan said...

I went to this Bible Study last night and half of the people there were from something like an hour away. They came all that way to really hear the scriptures read because they can't get it anywhere else. Isn't that interesting?

I miss you CJ.

Elisa M said...

Can we please PLEASE get together soon? I am pretty sure I miss you even more than I even realize!

susan said...

Oh, yes. I would like that very much. And I'm glad you miss me.

Anthony said...

You might enjoy this article by someone who teaches poetry to young people. Perhaps not all hope is lost, though it is an exclusive private school.

susan said...

Thanks! Do we know each other in the real world?


Anthony said...

No, I have a google alert for Wendell Berry, and it sent me to your delightful space here. I blog at www.tonywoodlief.com. Nice to meet you. Keep striving.

susan said...

Wow. I only mentioned W.B. today. Good to meet you, too.