Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgobble!

There's something about Thanksgiving week. It's an oasis in the busy Fall! Usually when I'm about to go on vacation from work, it means I have to scramble to make sure everything is set and covered and in place for when I won't be there, but Thanksgiving week means no one will really be there- nothing will be going on. It means the opposite of last-minute scrambling. It means slowing down in advance of that last day. I've been doing lots of reading and writing at work this week, and some fun stuff too.
So all that's to think about, at least this week, is preparing to eat a lot, and nap. Now that is something to be thankful for. And I am!

Friday, November 12, 2010

7 Quick Takes: least effort edition

1) so, yeah, I've been absent. And also, absent-minded. Seems that when I get overwhelmed, I miss meetings and forget stuff and, well, drop things, and such. I do not like that, no not indeed. I don't like feeling overwhelmed, and I don't like missing things, and I don't like it.

2) But you must be sick of tuning in here to read about my stress levels, so let me think of something else to talk about. Let's see...

3) I did a quick presentation to my class a couple of weeks ago, about Total Community Catechesis. It's a topic I know like the back-a-my-hand, and the group was friendly and interested, and I was totally prepared, but CRAP I was nervous!! I don't know why- and I was so annoyed by it. I could not breathe normally, and would just talk until I ran out of breath, and then couldn't really inhale all that well. I have spoken to crowds of hundreds of people. Hundreds! Like, 600! And I was excited, anxious even, but I was fine. So, why all the non-breathing in front of 55 lovely people? Maybe because I knew they were mostly smarter than me. (I?) Maybe because my professor's a Religious Ed Guru. Valid nerve-frayers, I guess, but I was not happy. I did calm down after the first minute or so, but, aw, you know. Stop thinking about it.

4) And while I'm at it, I should confess that Professor Guru and I disagree on something. I wrote a little paper mentioning the dreadful textbooks I used to use in faith formation programs, and my belief that one-size-fits-all curricula do not, in fact, fit all- that curricula should be designed by the faith formation people in the parish, according to what will work and what addresses the needs of the parish. PGuru, author of textbooks, disagreed. His comment was that parishes just don't have the resources to design their own curricula.
But this, I think, is a big problem. It's true that parishes don't have the resources- but that's because rather than investing the money into hiring professionals who could do just that. Instead, they rely on out-of-the-box textbooks to decide what to teach. Using a textbook series allows parishes to hire untrained, uneducated, inexperienced people (with loving, generous hearts) to do a job that should be done by someone who is better prepared.
NO I am not against using resources, NO I am not anti-curriculum, NO I am not against lesson plans. I am against allowing a publisher to decide what and how a parish should be educated.
So. there.

5) So I'm working on this Confirmation project. It's fascinating stuff!! The central tension seems to be that no one can really agree on the theology of the sacrament- but also, it comes to this: everyone says "you know, there really are NO requirements for Confirmation. BUT there are things people should have to do to get it." RE professionals seem to be really stuck on this.

We have a free gift for you! Here's what you have to do to get it!

The rules are that candidates are supposed to be "properly prepared" and that is just vague enough that everyone gets to decide for themselves what "properly prepared" looks like... and the other tension seems to be that DREs worry that if they don't put some steps (aka barriers, hoops to jump through, check-boxes) between the candidate and the sacrament, then 1) the sacrament won't be taken seriously and 2) the Church will be taken advantage of. It's a fascinating conundrum.

6) Here's what I should be doing right now: Laundry. Baking cookies. Cleaning the House. Writing a paper. So, gentle readers, you're welcome for this entry- I put aside so much to be here with you. I was supposed to get up and get busy after watching the DVR'd Office episode, but I added the DVR'd The Soup episode just so I could stay here.

7) But now I have to go. The butter is room temp and the washer is free, and Scott is whistling to me, so I must away. Thanks for reading my blah blahs! Check out other people's blah blahs at www.conversiondiary.com.