It has been a while
It has been a while since I posted, and I suspect some of you think that I had abandoned the blog. This is true, but not in the way you think. Something went awry back in March, and I have in fact been hiding from Vox Nova since then.
As you will recall, I was attempting to blog weekly, posting a homily on the Sunday readings. It was touch and go for while as I was falling behind, and then we came to the second Sunday in Lent. The Gospel reading was the Transfiguration and I was, frankly, stumped. And the harder I thought about it, the less that came to me. Indeed, in the end, paraphrasing Peter, I realized that I did not know what to say. About anything. I froze up solid. I could not write a sermon about the Transfiguration, and the next week and the week after I remained frozen. I had some ideas about the parable of the Prodigal Son: in light of the reaction to Pope Francis in many circles, I began to think that there was another, unmentioned brother whose reaction needed to be examined. But I couldn’t get a word out.
Lent became Eastertide became Ordinary time, and even though I kept having ideas, I couldn’t write them down. Indeed, when I couldn’t sleep I lay in bed and sketched out some fairly detailed outlines. But when morning came they dissipated and the will to write them down got lost, or pushed aside, or something. I felt so guilty that I started avoiding the blog entirely. (I also started shirking some of my administrative duties, but I am getting a handle on those and am issuing some direct apologies—if you think I have overlooked or ignored you, send an email to Vox Nova and I will try to respond in a more timely fashion.)
But I am back. Sitting here writing this is very hard, but I feel like I have to do this: I cannot write, but I do not want to quit the blog, either. Like the title of the Harlan Ellison story, I have no mouth, yet I must scream (link to PDF–I am not sure the story is really relevant, but the title resonates with me).
But here I am. There have been some interesting events in the world and in my life. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and a vocal section of the Catholic/pro-life blogosphere is backing him. In June the remaining members of my diaconate class from Hartford were ordained–while I was happy for them, it was a moment of both tristesse and introspection. I completed my first year as Chair of the math department her at Alabama: I can now say “Roll Tide!” without a trace of irony. The complexities of race and class play out around me in ways that are both similar and different than they were up north. The local Catholic paper published a long essay by Alice von Hildebrand that, among other things, blamed the sexual abuse scandal on communist infiltrators. (Seriously!) And my parish has a new pastor whose first two homilies were so painful that my wife almost walked out. (This poem, which was part of his homily and later reprinted in the bulletin, was part of it.)
If any of these interest you, say something in the comments—that might tip me over the edge and give me the push to actually write. Or suggest something else you want to hear about. In any event, be assured of my prayers, and I ask yours as the summer ends and the new school year starts. Vox Nova is a great blog, and you have all been wonderful readers and interlocutors.