Ripe for Creative Uptake Here in the Ruins

Here is a scene of teaching, recounted in Distinctly Praise the Years.  I borrow without shame.

“I told them stories: the garden, the flood, the covenant and near sacrifice, Egypt, Sinai . . .  Our stories, I would stress: a common inheritance ripe for creative uptake, what we have to build with here in the ruins of history.  I cared about their literacy, but I came to care more about their sense of what a religious attitude might be.  We talked about ends and means, what it would mean for an activity to be its own fulfillment (for example running, dancing, playing, praying).  What is a caress? I would ask.  How does it differ from other ways of touching?  And now look at how you bend over your book, giving yourself to each word in succession, patiently allowing it to impress its meaning on you, meaning you didn’t author.  See how each word is set down as a memorial, and how you take your leave of it, possibly transformed.  See how the text works like a revelation?  See how it commands obedience (from obey: to hear)?  With what authority does it command you?  And with what joy and thanksgiving do you respond to its call?  We talked about awe, and we talked about shame, and together we wondered why it hurts (so good) to look at something or someone very, very beautiful.

It seemed to me then, and seems to me still, that perhaps the greatest gift any of us give one another is the provocative invitation to take up one’s own life as an object worthy of faithful attention, to encourage one another to bend over that book, to submit oneself to its rigors.”

— Catlin Lowe, “Religious Attitudes,” http://catlinlowe.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/religious-attitude/

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2 comments on “Ripe for Creative Uptake Here in the Ruins

  1. dmf says:

    that’s phenomenology at its best, she is such a lovely e-soul and what an evocative writer, and so young!
    now how would one outline such practices in terms of a post-testable learning contract for administration and their bean-counters?

    http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2011/06/peter-miller-the-calculating-self/

  2. Yes, that’s a terrrific bit by C. Apt phenomenology indeed.

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