Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Five ~ school days

My great-grandson graduated from kindergarten last week
Today's Friday Five is brought to us by the Rev. Michelle L. Torigian:
"May marks the end of many academic years.  If we are scrolling through our newsfeed, we’ve begun to see photographs of our friends and family members in their caps and gowns. ... So, as students wrap up their years or maybe their academic careers, let’s reflect upon our school days in today’s Friday Five."
1.  Favorite class during my many years of schooling.
I think that college English class was called something like Theology and Literature.  We read ten books that semester, including The Stranger by Albert Camus and The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a small book which is also a chapter in Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov in which Ivan questions the possibility of a personal and benevolent God.
2.  Toughest class I have taken.
A newly-graduated professor's class in classical Greek.  She was so tough that not . one . single . student in my class went on to second-year Greek.  The department head tried to talk me into staying with it, but I preferred to go back to the German I'd taken a decade earlier and start over to complete my two-year language requirement.  In seminary, however, I did take Koine Greek, which is the first-century Greek of the Christian Bible.  Throw in my two years of Latin in high school and my dab of Hebrew from a kantor at a nearby Jewish community center and I figure I really do like studying languages, but that new teacher piled on way too much homework.  I had a husband and three young children when I took her class, yet often stayed up until 3:00 a.m. trying to complete all the homework she assigned.
3.  Class I would love to retake.
My seminary class on John Wesley.  It wasn't a favorite subject, but my professor's comment still rings in my ears.  I reached my last year of seminary and realized I had never used the Pass-Fail option available for a single class.  So I applied it to the Wesley class.  I always took the exams anyway.  My professor told me I would have had an A+ grade.  That would have raised my grade point average slightly higher, and he laughed when he said, "Don't you wish you hadn't chosen Pass-Fail?"  Could have, but maybe it lowered my stress level.  All was well, since my grades were not a problem.
4.  Favorite seminary or theologically-themed class.
Preaching class, where we chose theologians from a list our professor passed around and then learned all we could about that person and his or her writings.  The popular names were chosen long before the list reached me, and I chose Jürgen Moltmann.  That was back in the mid-1980s, and I predicted he would turn more toward the idea of community in his coming books.  And he did!  I now have over thirty books by him and have kept up with his (and his wife's) theological ideas ever since seminary.  I don't see eye-to-eye with him on everything, but I greatly admire his willingness to keep growing and changing as he learns.
5.  Dream class – if I could design the ultimate undergraduate or graduate course, what would it be?
I want to teach "Seven Gospels," starting with an overview of the four in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and asking why those of James, Thomas, and Mary Magdalene were left out of the Bible.  I have notes and outlines dating back to 2004, when I taught "Six Gospels" using translations from The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version, edited by Robert J. Miller.  I've since added James, head of the Jerusalem church, who hasn't gotten as much attention as Thomas and Mary.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Jaxon's graduation today

Jaxon, who wants to be fire chief when he grows up, graduated from kindergarten today.  Here he is with his Nana and Grandpa, who just happens to be my son.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Reading with tea and cats ~ or imagination

The only time I remember my legs being this short, I was at church on a Sunday morning, bored to tears by the proceedings, which seemed to be droning on and on and on.  I entertained myself by swinging my feet — which activity, I soon discovered, was reflected in the polished wood of the pew in front of me.  I was fascinated by the fact that my legs appeared to be walking.  There I was, stuck in a boring situation with my mother sitting to my right, others to my left, and no way of escape except through my own inventiveness.  So I "walked away" from my boredom into my own mental adventure.

The woman in this illustration has a book.  And cats (notice the second tail under the chair).  She has snack crackers and a cup of tea and, best of all, she has a book to get lost in.  Maybe my need to always have a book with me traces back to that day in church when I realized I had no way of getting lost in a story without dreaming one up myself.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Fancy Nancy ~ for a birthday

Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly ~ by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, 2008, children's
Fancy Nancy thinks butterflies are simply exquisite, and that is why she can't wait for her friend Bree's butterfly-themed birthday party.   It's going to be the fanciest birthday party ever!  But when Nancy finds out she can't go because her grandparents' fiftieth anniversary party is the same day, she is furious.  (Mad is way too plain for how she feels.)  Will Nancy be able to overcome her disappointment?  Her family's outing might just be extraordinary enough to make her feel better.
Last week may have been children's book week, but this week is birthday week.  Today I'll put this book in the mail for my oldest great-grandchild.  Raegan will be seven years old on Thursday the 12th, so I hope this book isn't too young for her.  It does have big words she can learn, however, words like "exquisite" (fancier than "beautiful") and "iridescent" (fancy word for "shiny") and "elegant" (fancier than "fancy") and "gorgeous" (another fancy way to say "beautiful") and "furious" (since "mad" was way too plain for how she felt).

I'll enclose a note with the book, asking Raegan to search for the fancy word "sublime," which is on a heart-shaped pillow.  Maybe her mother or father will help her look it up to learn what that word means.
Added on Thursday, May 12th:

The book arrived, and Raegan is excited about it.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Children's Book Week

Who are your favorite children's book authors?  Name one or more in the comments, and tell us what you like about them.  I have several favorites, but I'll name one in this post:  Barbara Park, who wrote the series of books about Junie B. Jones and her adventures.  Even little boys who never read "girl books" like Junie B.!

We chose "Junie B." as the literary name for a kitten we took in temporarily in the summer of 2008.  If you wonder why we first named her "Dickens," read her story here.