Wonder is one of the great delights in literature. It is invoked when a reader must struggle to distinguish between the imaginative and reality. One of literature’s wonders is its ability to draw attention to ordinary things with new alluring light. Long walks, small conversations, little annoyances and desires, and hospitality’s eating and drinking are all wonderfully common things in literature. The stuff of everyday life draws our imaginations into the larger tale.
What is The Divine Comedy about? It is the rarest sort of book which is about absolutely everything. Every year when I start on the Comedy, I ask my students, “What do you want this book to teach you?” and they begin naming their several interests. Politics. Predestination. Piety. Free will. Determinism.
When all the world began truly shutting down and people began turning to baking bread and skyping with their families, I picked up Moby Dick. I’d tried it last summer, as part of a half formed book club which fell apart less than halfway through the novel. I still have a stamped portrait of the whale in the blood-red sea tucked into my copy of the book- given to me by the only other member of the group with any enthusiasm for this novel. It now serves as my bookmark.
It is so nice to sit in the quiet. I started a reflection time in my office, and as soon as I got still and tried to focus my thoughts on the Lord, I began to be distracted by the voices all around me. The walls of my office are apparently thin, as I could detect even subtle nuances to the conversations happening in other offices…and I had to escape. So here I sit in a room that many on our campus don’t even know about, and though I can hear the routine movement of cars outside, the quietness brings peace.
Parent: I’ve heard that you have said some pretty disparaging things about TikTok in class.
Parent: Wouldn’t you say that what is true of all tools is true of TikTok? What I mean is that any tool can be used poorly, and any tool can be used well. In and of itself, a tool is morally neutral.
Science education is at a crisis in our world.
God commanded a day of leisure to the ancient Hebrews, and on that day they were compelled to rest from all their labors and to actively remember that on the seventh day God Himself rested from all His labors.
This seems significant to me.
Parent: I have heard quite a lot about “piety” coming from the school recently. What is piety?
Gibbs: A dictionary is apt to tell you that a pious man is “devoutly religious,” which is not a bad definition, although I typically tell my students that piety refers to holy manners. Morality is what one man gives another, but piety is what a man gives to God alone.
Parent: Can you give an example?
Gibbs: I can give you three: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Parent: That sounds very Catholic.
There is a sweet disposition that wants justice to arise from good intentions and to be executed in a world full of sweetness and harmony. The yearning is for a justice that is never opposed.
Once upon a time, my youth group was riding on a gigantic ferry from the western Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan to the eastern Michigan shores. The moon brooded upon the face of the waters while a few of us sat around a table playing Othello. One of us would turn the tokens white and the other black, each striving to drive the other from the game. It was a totalizing contest, day or night winning, and no compromise possible.
On the box, the makers of the game proclaimed their surely well researched motto: a minute to learn; a lifetime to master.