Friday, October 13, 2006

Prayer Requests and Protestant "Literature"

There are a number of Catholic homeschool families who are in need of prayers - families who are suffering through illness or other even greater sufferings. I would be grateful if you could keep them collectively in your prayers.

I'd like to ask for a prayer too for our group of co-op teens. A number of them are taking a literature class (run by a Protestant lady, but one that they've taken in the past without any issues) that is ending up with some unexpectedly anti-Catholic reading materials on the list (red flags went up with the Catholics in the group when the teacher pulled out A Beka's Masterpieces from World Literature text).

We're having a discussion/pizza party tonight to help them with a really tough reading passage from a 14th century figure (John Huss - never heard of him before) who wrote on his particular interpretion of the biblical passage "Thou art Peter and on this Rock I will build my church." The writing is quite convoluted and Huss uses a great deal of tradition while professing to ignore tradition. The parents were initially leaning towards having the girls simply skip this assignment (which they would have every right to do), but they asked me to read through it for my opinion. Together we decided to work through it for the learning experience (and to stand up for their faith) and go ahead and have the girls answer the questions given in the book honestly and sincerely (but, perhaps, um, without expecting a very good grade):

1. Who is the rock and foundation of the church?
2. What was Peter's place in the church?

This project, by the way, followed from a quickly thrown together discussion we had yesterday afternoon (at the request of Gilbertgirl, who is in the class) on a Dante passage that included some commentary that caused concern. We had a fabulous discussion (we all decided that we had witnessed the beginning of some sort of club) and the conversation and flow of ideas was encouraging and filled with enthusiasm. This was one of the (many) days where I thought very gratefully of my TAC years (where I was a rather mediocre student, by the way) that provided me with some helpful intellectual tools that can be readily pulled out to defend the faith and help people turn on their "skeptometers". It also made me very grateful for the gifts of faith, homeschooling and community. God is so good!


Dr. Thursday said...

Though it can be hard to study every error, heresy, and heresiarch, there is a need for this study, just as a physician must know the various diseases, or a toxicologist the various poisons - and their antidotes!

Fr. Jaki has an excellent book And On This Rock on the name "rock", the physical location "neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi" and the Petrine Commission - an amazing study in only 128 pages. It's so dense it would be hard to summarize here.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Very true - and the practice can give you not only an answer to the one problem, but also tools for dealing with other problems. (A little like education in general - we don't have time to learn everything!)

I have that book! It's in my stack to bring to the study tonight though I haven't had a chance to read it (I found it at a rummage sale this summer!)- it still might be useful to skim for some information.

Dr. Thursday said...

Exactly. This is why we learn mathematics - why learn how to add EVERY pair of numbers when we can learn a reference chart and a technique? And a means of checking! Oh...

I am so glad you have the Jaki book! Please try to take some time to go through it before your meeting.

You MUST check out the pictures.

I have yet to hear any sermon ever mention just what the Apostles would have seen - and the amazing aptness of location!

Also see the discussion on "sur" and "kepha" (both mean Rock) and the use of the term Rock for God.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Great! Thanks for the tips!

CatherineNY said...

This may be helpful -- it is the entry on John Hus (or Jan Hus) in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Keith said...

Re: On skipping the assignment:

“If we do not consider opposing views, we spar without a partner and paw the air. If we do not do our homework, we only skim the shallows of our selves. If we do not prove our thesis, we are dogmatic, not critical. And if we do not understand and refute our opponents, we are left with the nagging uncertainty that we have missed something and not really ended the contest... To the medieval mind, debate was a fine art, a serious science, and a fascinating entertainment, much more than it is to the modern mind, because the medievals believed, like Socrates, that dialectic could uncover truth. Thus a ‘scholastic disputation’ was not a personal contest in cleverness, nor was it ‘sharing opinions’; it was a shared journey of discovery.”
—Dr. Peter Kreeft, “The Summa and Its Parts,” Christian History, Winter 2002.

I just read the Jaki book a couple months ago. It's more of an archeological/historical treatment of the "rock" passage. It's VERY good, but if your looking for straight-ahead exegetics, I'd look elsewhere.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Great quote, Keith! Tackling the topic is definitely the best way, though I think with young people you can run into things that they aren't prepared for (these are young teens).

We did have a great meeting last night, by the way. These teens are on FIRE! They went upstairs to read through the text for the first time together while the rest of us were skimming books, etc. and they came down just burning with frustration about the inconsistencies of the text and eager to dig for answers. It was really quite exciting.

By the way, I started our more formal discussion by quoting Chesterton from the Everlasting Man about striking rock:

A convenient compromise had been made between all the multitudinous myths and religions of the Empire; that each group should worship freely and merely give a sort of official flourish of thanks to the tolerant Emperor, by tossing a little incense to him under his official title of Divus. Naturally there was no difficulty about that; or rather it was a long time before the world realised that there ever had been even a trivial difficulty anywhere. The members of some Eastern sect or secret society or other seemed to have made a scene somewhere; nobody could imagine why. The incident occurred once or twice again and began to arouse irritation out of proportion to its insignficance. It was not exactly what these provincials said; though of course it sounded queer enough. They seemed to be saying that God was dead and that they themselves had seen him die. This might be one of the many manias produced by the despair of the age; only they did not seem particularly despairing. They seem quite unnaturally joyful about it, and gave the reason that the death of God had allowed them to eat him and drink his blood...They were a scratch company of barbarians and slaves and poor and unimportant people; but their formation was military; they moved together and were very absolute about who an what was really a part of their little system; and about what they said, however mildly, there was a ring like iron. Men used to many mythologies and moralities could make no analysis of the mystery, except the conjecture that they meant what they said. All attempts to make them see reason in the perfectly simple matter of the Emperor's statue seemed to be spoken to deaf men. It was as if a new meteoric metal had fallen on the earth; it was a difference of substance to the touch. Those who touched their foundation fancied they had struck a rock.

I got through some of Jaki's book but not enough to use presently. I'll try to finish it soon (it is VERY interesting) and share it with them as a follow-up. Thanks for the help, all!