I'm finishing my fourth week blogging at America, and for readers who might be new to the "The Ignatian Educator," I wanted to share a few previous posts to introduce you to the subject(s) of this blog and my previous writing.
Below are links to and samples from a few selected essays from America's site as well as from my original site, which still hosts my archives.
Introductory blog posts for America:
Full blog archive
My articles in America:
Previous essays for "The Ignatian Educator" at my original site:
From "The Ignatian City":
It was the day of the Open House — the day we showcase our clubs, sports, activities, and departments, the day we provide faculty panels, student panels, and alumni panels, the day our friends and neighbors and future graduates marvel at the winding double helix of the Xavier Prep DNA. I was darting in and out of rooms ensuring the carpets were cleaned and the windows polished. As I opened one door, I collided. I ran into a fake skeleton hanging from a metal noose. It was stewarded by my awesome bearded colleague who has a PhD in Biology, but who may know even more about the Civil War. It, the skeleton, was wheeling toward the gym to serve as a spokesman for Xavier’s Science Department.
Software, graphic design, car repair, and Japanese: though not old enough to drive, eighth graders are browsing into knowledge that used to require thousands of dollars and a college degree. They are still at the age where they forget to brush their teeth, but half of them can probably build an electric toothbrush. Welcome to the new asymmetry.
From "The Beach as Kairos":
Like all true religious experiences, the beach offers an avenue out of the “I,” out of the orbit of self-regard. When people spot the ocean, they usually release a breath of awe, a word of wonder. Arriving at the ocean is like entering a great cathedral. A breeze of transcendence sways our nerves. Our soul detects a reality grand and mysterious, even slightly terrifying. It is most precisely numinous, simultaneously sacramental. The endless vastness of water and sky evidence the magnificence of original creation, the mesmerizing, daunting physical splendor that inspired the first chapters of Genesis. Watching the waves collapse and reform, observing the tide drift back and forth, seeing the sun complete its arc, we know, we feel, that we are witnesses to something that can only be adored. We realize we are creatures, participants in a teeming, superabundant vitality. We are guests only. There is a cosmic machinery with which we can’t tinker, a plan we cannot control. We can only entrust ourselves to it and, like Noah, listen, be taught to navigate its awesome powers.
To be a teacher, coach or counselor within such a way of proceeding carries extraordinary responsibility. Our character matters. Our integrity matters. Our life choices matter. How we understand the world, how we understand relationships, how we resolve conflicts, how we model fidelity and love, how we interact with colleagues and how we treat those on campus: all of this is part of our teaching. All of this is part of the curriculum. Our students are looking for models, for templates, for examples. They come to us with very difficult questions about the dilemmas in their lives. We owe it to them to speak from a place of honesty, authenticity and virtue.