Back from the guest-blogging abyss

My guest-blogging stint at BustedHalo.com ended on Friday. Whew. It was a lot of fun, but it also was a good proof to me that I'm not cut out for full-time journalism. It's not that I don't enjoy spouting off my opinions to anyone who will listen...it's being forced to spout off opinions on a deadline that I'm not cut out for. Each evening as the witching hour came closer, a tiny voice in my head reminded me that I needed to start being witty and insightful...now.

One thing I can't blame my procrastination on is the tenor of the conversation. My counterpart, whose blog y'all can keep reading at You Duped Me Lord, was a generous, thoughtful interlocutor. If anything, the small problem may have been that we were both a little too generous and thoughtful...to the point that some of my friends thought that his posts (labeled "Damn Yankee") were actually mine. (I was "Golden Eagle". No, we didn't choose the names.) So while the Paulists might have been looking for a knock-down, drag-out fight, they had more of a Platonic dialogue over tea and biscuits.

Which, I might add, is as it should be. I was privileged this past weekend to be down in New York, helping out at my friend's parish, the Church of the Ascension on the Upper West Side, for their Lenten discussion series. (I'm so saving the bulletin which lists me as a "special guest theologian"!) Ascension is a great place, with Sunday evening jazz mass, followed once a month by martinis. Tres New York. But I was talking with them about ecumenism and conversion, ecumenism and repentance, and sharing some of the wisdom of my dissertation subject, the late ecumenist Fr. Jean-Marie Tillard, O.P. Tillard looked at the dynamic of openness to the other in love, the reconciliation of those whom the world considers intractable enemies, as key to understanding the Gospel message. That dynamic, he argued, is at the heart of both ecumenical dialogue and internal dialogue within the a church community; in both cases, thecommitmentt to the other in love sets the framework for being able to disagree, to argue, to search for the truth together, but to do so in a way that avoids the sharpness and the lack of charity of arguing a point the way we would without God's grace. Learning those skills in our intraCatholicdiscussionn and our extraCatholic, ecumenical discussions, are two sides of the same coin, and I think that our relatively pacific, non-competitive search for meaning together on BustedHalo was one small step of my learning how to dialogue in grace.

Also in New York, I was able to see the Darwin exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, and, thanks to the XtremeGenerosity! of my friend Joseph, heard and saw the premiere of Don Pasquale at the Met. Both of those require their own commentary, though, so more on them later today or tomorrow.

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