During my first year as a teacher, I moved to a Manhattan neighborhood that was a subway ride away from all my friends. My neighbors and I never learned each other’s names during the two years I lived there. I waved at them from my patio and they waved back from their balcony, but only once or twice. I shared one wall with a stranger I never even met.
An interesting discussion popped up on my Facebook about some of the ideas we’ve been talking about on Close Reads as we work our way through Berry’s Jayber Crow. Here are some highlights.
"Cogito ergo sum." These famous words from the philosopher René Descartes summarize his view, or maybe his thought experiment, on how we know. For Descartes, knowledge is knowledge if it originates in the thinker. Any knowledge that originates outside of the thinker must be doubted, questioned, examined, and reasoned by the thinker so as to make it knowledge that could have originated within the thinker. Until the knowledge originates in the thinker, it cannot be considered actual knowledge.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ is not a specialist. He did not come to earth to do one project or to solve one problem and then go back to heaven.
Christ is, as the Apostles John, Paul, and Peter all repeatedly assert and assume, the One in whom all things are held together. He is the Logos.
It is not possible to express in a blog, a book, or an article all that St. John expresses in that word Logos, with which he opens his gospel and by which he identifies his beloved teacher. Perhaps words from St. Paul's epistles might help:
My family and I recently moved from a suburban neighborhood, near every convenience, to a small, out-of-the-way town. Our friends and family were encouraging, but we got more than a few “you're moving where?” reactions. We are not in the middle of nowhere, but it feels like it - a feeling intensified by the numerous cotton fields, tractors used as transportation, shotguns sold at yard sales, signs advertising deer corn for sale, and slow drivers (even the ones not driving tractors).
On July 18th I stopped contemplating Harmony with about 250 colleagues, friends, and kindred spirits. On the 22nd, I drove up to the University of Kentucky for a week of Latin immersion, and from August 3-7 I was immersed even more deeply into the love of truth-seeking that is the CiRCE Apprenticeship.
After each, I was physically exhausted and intellectually and spiritually nourished, stimulated, and aroused. Dozens of blog posts asked me to write them. Dozens of ideas raced around the spaces of the hollow caverns of my skull. Frustration and joy contended for my chest.