Archive for the ‘Dissertation’ Category

Cold Day

It would be a great day to stay inside and sit next to a warm fire, reading one of my many good books. Alas, I can neither stay indoors, nor do I have access to such a fire. Instead, I have to make a quick trip to CUA to fetch a few of the books I turned in last semester, so I can use them next week to begin writing a section of my dissertation.

The news this morning has been all about the Iowa Caucuses and Britney Spears. They seem to fit together, don’t they?


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A cloud of fog covers the ground. It’s warm outside, but a cold front is coming and will be here by tomorrow. With it comes predictions for powerful thunderstorms to be causing havoc in the area Thursday morning. The wildlife seems to know it: birds are out in a frenzy; they are flying around fast, gathering food as it is available, calling to one another whenever it is found.

The interfaith dinner I went to on Tuesday was quite good. There was a small group of us (only ten were able to make it). After being presented with slides from Patrick Birge   we had a nice dialogue on the arts, raising questions of how the arts can be used for interfaith dialogue, but also what one is to do when religions encounter each other and how are they to dialogue if they do not share all the same arts in common. What does it tell us about a specific religion if some forms of artistic expression are either unknown to it or, in more drastic situations, forbidden?

I also met Fr. Francis Tiso, the Associate Director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the USCCB. He shares with me interest in Buddhism and has done considerable research in the field — such that I expect we will have several great chats in the near future (he told me to keep in touch).

Overall, it was a great evening — despite having little sleep before going to the dinner.

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Walking to the library this morning, past the metro, I saw a dead, smashed squirrel lying on the road. It seemed to be a fresh kill, and I could only hope its death was quick and painless (although that is not too likely). Yet, it served as a good reminder of the way death is all around us and something we must experience and in some ways embrace: for it is only through death that new life emerges, both in history, and in the eschaton.

Then this morning I read an e-mail from my dissertation adviser inviting me to an inter-faith dialogue event at CUA on Tuesday afternoon. The event is by invitation only, and includes a free meal. Since he sent it on Thursday morning and I only saw it today, I hope I did not respond too late to go.

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This morning, the headache did not appear immediately after I woke up, but slowly I felt its insistence to be noticed. I finally decided to take two advil, and it started to help. Having had some coffee, it is even better. I think today the headache will be defeated.

I can only hope.

I was able to get it to the sidelines yesterday enough to do some reading; I have much more reading to do today. I’m going slower through Balthasar than I would like. I have decided that once I am finished with the Theo-Drama, I need a break from his writings and will look into some of my Buddhists sources for the sake of variety.

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I went to the Library of Congress to get my reader’s card today. Since I will be doing considerable research there for the next few months, I wanted to make sure I had everything ready for the time when I need quick access to old, dusty Sanskrit texts.

When filling out the forms, one of the things which struck me as more than a little humorous was the point that the card is not to be seen as a souvenir. Only those with legitimate research interests should get one.

I did not think of it in this way before. I did not consider anyone would take the time to get such a card unless they had need for it.

After all, if one wants souvenirs, all they need to do is check the local used bookstores and find all their discarded books.

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Today, I am at CUA to do more of my Balthasar reading, and to meet with Dr Jones at 1:30 to discuss my dissertation and the expectations he and others will have for it.

This means I am now able to experiment with my laptop and get it set up for the wireless network a the CUA library. I have to get used to the keyboard (which will take a couple weeks I suspect), and until then my typing on it will be slow.

I went to the student center to get some coffee, and on the way out, I saw a rather sad site: a green bird had been trapped underneath one of the doors and, it looks, had even had a part of its body cut off from it. Its death woes were sad to watch but there was nothing one could do for it.

I noticed  a considerable number of new faces at the library, although the people behind them did not seem to be too communicative. I wonder how long that will last — will they want to stay at the same place where there is a very active, vocal group of doctoral candidates discussing theology in-between studies? Either they will tire of us and move on or they join in on the conversations; there is no other option.

One of the things I do as a Doctor Who fan is Doctor Who memorabilia, especially from the 5 inch line of toy figurines. I use them to create my own stop motion videos and to create various scenes on top of my bookcases. Today, my source for such memorabilia, WhoNa, got their newest shipment of Doctor Who figurines in, and, as a collector, I had to order them. I should have them by the end of the week and then I will have to consider whether or not I will do any new videos. I am still in the middle of one I started at the end of July which I need to finish, but many things have got in the way, so if I do plan on doing any other videos, I need to finish that one first.

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