Teaching: May 2009 Archives

A Few Quick Notes

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1. I've been extremely busy. I'm teaching two summer classes and barely keeping up with them. Plus the kids have been sick, meaning some have been home and in need of more attention than normal. So I haven't had time to do much blogging. But I've got a few things I've been thinking about that I did manage to put in Facebook updates, which I might as well put here in lieu of anything that will take more time than I have.

2. Remember when Rosie O'Donnell outrageously called it a separation of church and state for President Bush to take the religious identification on the Supreme Court from three to give Catholics, making Catholic justices the majority? I just thought it was worth noticing that President Obama has nominated another self-identified Roman Catholic to replace another Protestant, and I've yet to hear any similar claims from Rosie O'Donnell (although I did hear that Christopher Hitchens is being consistent on this by finding it grave and troubling).

3. I heard a strange NPR story on the dangers of fracking. It took a little listening to discover that they meant this. It was hard to listen with a straight face. I don't know how the reporter got through it.

4. The Supreme Court could rule as early as Monday on a case Judge Sotomayor was involved in that could lead to some real fodder for criticism in her hearing. SCOTUSBlog has an excellent presentation of the issue and how it might go.

5. Once I get a breather I intend to look closely at some of the Sotomayor stuff that SCOTUSBlog has been posting since before her nomination even occurred. I haven't had time to comment on her nomination, but I'm not sure I would even know what to say just yet. Her actual opinions are kind of important, and most criticism so far has not focused on them but on some political speeches and interviews she's given.

I've so far encountered the expression "God gave up our sins" or "Jesus gave up our sins" several times in reading students' answers to a question about Augustine's view of hell. It's usually in the context of the cross It has nothing to do with what I'm asking, so there's already some level of misunderstanding on the part of these students, but I'm wondering what they even could mean by this. This is at a Jesuit school, and a lot of the students are Catholics (especially marginal Catholics), so perhaps there's some particular Catholic way of saying something that I'm not getting without that background.

I asked a friend this morning what he thought, and he said he doesn't think the students who are saying it have a clue what they even mean by it. Maybe so, but then why do several of them use the expression? Perhaps they just worked together to prepare their answers, and someone sounded sure enough to the others without having any sense of things, and they all went with it. Otherwise, I'm at a loss.

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