Personal News: September 2003 Archives


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Interview Questions graciously offered by Jay of

Flos Carmeli Questions
1) As you eloquently stated in Gross Incivility, “every story is told from a point of view”; What is your personal ‘point of view’?
My point of view is that of humble pilgrim who has been wrong much more than he has been right. So I know full well that it is possible in good will to hold very bad and incorrect notions of the ways things are and should be. I write as a father who waited a very long time to become a father and who is delighted with that grace perhaps more than anything in my life. I write as one who has no real home here and no place that I really call my own. My point of view is that of deliberate outcast, involuntary participant in much of the madness of society and one who wishes more than anything else to truly make present the reality of the love God has for each person.

2) You blog seems to focus a great deal on spirituality. Who has had the greatest impact on your personality spiritual journey (besides the Trinity)?

This is a surprisingly difficult question. I think the answer might be St. Paul. Every other saint or spiritual writer I have read has been a kind of footnote to the revelations Paul granted us about the working of God's grace and the necessity of prayer. When I read St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Louis de Montfort, any Saint postdating Paul, I hear his words echoing and reechoing. While doctrine has become broader and more nuanced, it seems that everything is present inthose epistles Paul wrote. And a close runner-up is St. John of the wonderful Gospel, and the Letters--again, whatever has been said about God's love, was said there first--it seems. (Oh, and I really like St. James, possibly because Luther had so little liking for him.)

3) Can you explain more fully the lay Carmelite order for those of us with lesser knowledge (I’m a convert also, so I have some claim to ‘ignorance’)?

A lay Carmelite is a member of the Carmelite order who has pledged to live out the Carmelite vocation in ordinary life. We follow a seperate rule, tailored for people who have families and workaday concerns, but we share in the spirituality and the gifts of Carmelite Spirituality. Any Catholic in good standing eighteen years of age or older may become a member of the Carmelites, eitehr OCDS (discalced or reformed Carmelites--St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila) or T. O. Carm. (Carmelites of the Ancient Observance--most prominently St. Mary Magadalene da Pazzi).

4) How does a Palentologist with an interest in fractals and chaos know so much about poetry and Catholic literature?

When I first went to college, I went with no idea of what I was doing there except collecting degrees and learning. So I received a Bachelor of Arts in English, studied for an MFA in poetry, a Bachelor of Science in Geology and went on to graduate school to continue study in Geology, Medieval and Renaissance Literature, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and seventeenth Century Poetry. Ultimately unable to make up my mind I did my PhD work on "Non-linear dynamics and the periodicity of extinctions with a consideration of Silurian Reef Paleoecology." My master's thesis was on "The Functional Morphology of the Platycrinitid Stem." I've published a number of papers on crinoid functional morphology and delivered a number of talks on the question of the proper analysis of the supposed peridocity of extinctions observed in the fossil record.

5) Who would you like to see as the next Pope (I couldn’t resist)?

I can only say that I am enormously relieved this question is one that I need deal with only in theory. I would like to see as the next Pope a man informed by the teaching of the Church who heeds the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I would like to see a person who has the courage of his convictions, rightly formed, in the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church. I would like to see a man who does not have as part of his agenda the "reformation" of the Church according to a modernist/postmodernist agenda. In short, I would like to see as Pope the man whom God will give us, who will guide, nuture, and protect the Church against the onslaught of the world and who will speak boldly and stridently against the present evils of the world.

In accord with the agreement made in answering these questions, I offer to interview anyone who cares to ask. E-mail me or leave a note in the comments box, and I will happily try to think of five reasonable quesitons to send to you. (Or unreasonable questions. I have been known to ask interviewees their favorite read-aloud for children with reasons why.)

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Exhibit Opening


This evening I get to attend the Grand Opening of the Exhibit for which I have written most of the text. (You know, the little plaques you read as you go along.) It was a wonderful and aggravating experience and I learned a great deal more than I ever cared to know about certain aspects of flight. (The great Bernoulli v. Newton debate, reciprocating v. impact (reaction) engines, and other such.)

So now I get to go to the grand opening and hobnob with the Mayor and all the glitterati (if the burg in which I live actually has such.) I'll be sure to report tomorrow. (If it's interesting--i.e. don't expect much of a report.)

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Personal News category from September 2003.

Personal News: August 2003 is the previous archive.

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