Old Testament Adventures: Abram’s Lie

One of the enduring legacies of my education at Franciscan University is a deep-rooted enchantment with the Old Testament and a confidence in reading and interpreting it.  I think if I had only learned that, my education may still have been worth it.  Thanks, Dr. Hahn!

I especially love the unfinished feel to parts of it: the short, unexplained stories where it is not always easy to see the point, or the otherwise-weird stories that only make sense in light of the larger covenant structure, or the super-long-term payoff stories where you have to remember something that happened three books previously.

So since my son is now of age to read these stories, and as I help a new colleague adjust to the life of teaching 6th graders these stories, I thought to start jotting down how I handle some of these fun passages.  Tone?  Moral?  Purpose in the narrative?  Most people I know find these hard to get a handle on, and I love doing it.  So…

Take a look at Genesis 12!  No, not the three-fold promise.  That’s one of the most famous and most important passages in the entire bible.  Skip that for now and skim down to the part where Abram and Sarai go to Egypt. Continue reading Old Testament Adventures: Abram’s Lie

Return of the ERC: Magical Villa

That nerdiest of Abbey Boy adventures, the Epic Recitation Club, has made its triumphant return.  Well, more like under-the-radar, since we have somehow managed to get left off the official roster of clubs each year for a while now.  But the boys hold me hostage each Friday after school once again and our slow plod through the poem resumes.

The officers have taken it upon themselves to get us organized in a way that is both admirable and absurd.  Not wanting to haggle each week over “how far did we get last time?” they have created a Schoology page for the club, appointed administrators, and added members.  It took about 30 minutes of our meeting time a few weeks ago to set it up.

The only use of this web page, I stress, is to have an update box on the front page where they can write down which canto/stanza we stop at each week.  That’s right, the smartest boys in the Washington, D.C. area are using satellites and servers in place of a bookmark. Continue reading Return of the ERC: Magical Villa


Scheduling and staffing issues at school have put an unusually large extra dose of responsibilities on my plate this year.  I knew it was going to be a strain when I volunteered to stick my finger in the dike.  What I didn’t fully appreciate: what else was going to have to give in order for me to make it work.

My prime writing times are early in the morning or after my dock is cleared and I have some head-clearing time in the afternoon.  In a pinch, I write in my legal pads on the train on the way to work.

Well my hamster wheel of prep-teach-grade starts at the crack of dawn and there are zero head-clearing spaces in the day (of sufficient length) until I get home.  And it turns out my kids actually require a father when I get home.  I’m already at my late-year stage of sleeping on the train both to and from work and we haven’t even hit Back to School Night yet. Continue reading Time