She was asking about UU churches, which I haven't been to any of, but she comes from Lutheran and Catholic background and isn't quite comfortable in the Quaker "speak as you are moved to" setting; the last UU church/service she went to was like "And now someone will read a poem" and she said she wants a good speaker, plus of course a good community (young people, GLBT-friendly).
I mentioned Cambridge Welcoming, Clarendon Hill Presby, and Somerville UCC, not really selling any of them.
It occurred to me later, that Layna I don't know much of anything about where you go to church. (I don't think I know anyone else who goes to a Christian church in the city.)
We like Nicole.
On Friday while I was waiting at South Station for the free Jewel concert we happened to see each other.
Nicole: "What train are you waiting for?"
me: "I'm not waiting for a train, actually."
Nicole: "Some people hang out in airports. Some people like train stations. I'm not judging."
I explained about the concert and she was really excited for me, having been to a Jewel concert herself once and loving it.
We talked about our plans for the weekend and I mentioned Smith Tea at UpStairs.
Nicole: "So are they charging you an arm and a leg?"
me: [shrugs] "35 dollars."
Nicole: "Okay, so really only an arm then."
Magic 106.7 sponsored the concert, and the woman doing the introduction was just gushing. I was standing next to a couple cynical people and joked that Jewel should come in in a Glinda bubble.
I wasn't all that impressed with the performance. I couldn't hear her that well when she was speaking and wasn't all that taken with her singing. Plus she mostly did stuff from her first album, and while I've always liked her first album, I was hoping for more from her most recent album.
She opened with "Hands," played "Little Sister" by request as well as "You Were Meant For Me", and closed with "Who Will Save Your Soul" (the first song she wrote -- at age 16 -- and her first single; she said she heard herself on the radio and realized she sounded like Kermit the Frog and then said the title line in a pretty good Kermit voice). She also played "Standing Still" and, by request, "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland" (she said, "this is the most autobiographical song I've ever written, and I hate performing it, what else can I say?").
I was awake for the whole thing tonight, which is an improvement over the last two sessions (and somewhat impressive since I was feeling tired from Friday mid-afternoon to Sunday late afternoon).
I thought Shakespeare had made up "Illyria," but no, it really existed.
Tonight's "Please kill me now" question from the floor was (in a discussion of the Pentarchy: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople), "Do you know if Jesus meant to end up in Jerusalem? Because it wasn't that big of a city."
Prof. on St. Sebastian: "last graduating class of pre-legalization martyrs."
I know about the homoerotic connections with him from a presentation I did for my Lorca class, so when the prof said that St. Sebastian was actually left for dead, nursed back to health, and then stoned to death I of course perked up at the idea of who nursed him back to health. I'll have to e-mail the prof for citations. I already need to e-mail him about recommended writings on why Christians were persecuted under Rome since he gave the simplistic answer that they refused to participate in civic paganism but then problematized that by pointing out that neither did the Jews, and people mentioned the conversion thing, but he said it's unclear how honest the Romans were in the argument that aggressive conversion undermined the state.
Jesus' divinity was The Issue for the Councils, largely because Arius was around when Constantine converted; the prof likened it to a whole bunch of conversations going on in a room and then someone opens the door.
There was some point during class tonight, I forget what about specifically, that made me sad that the prof really isn't that theologically knowledgeable. During the break, the guy next to me (named Greg) mentioned to me that this course is usually taught by a div school professor who's on sabbatical so they asked this prof to do it. Interesting.
Prof on St. Jerome (the first to do a full translation of the Bible into Latin): "patron saint of all people who slave over obscenely large projects [...] not a martyr except in the sense that all academics would understand."
Prof on the Caravaggio painting of St. Jerome: "a man and his muse ... not a particularly talkative muse"
During the section on Constantine, the prof mentioned "in this sign you will conquer," which of course I was familiar with (plus I had in fact done the reading on Constantine's conversion) but it hadn't quite clicked before like it did tonight -- in terms of my really registering how that was so contrary to what I understand the message of Jesus to be. I thought of how last night in discussion on the section about Jesus and Family in The Man Jesus Loved, Kirk said, "Even before we get to the end of Scripture, the church sold out" -- talking about how the pseudo-Pauline letters backtrack the radicalism of the Pauline letters.
Of course whatever I'm reading, everything suddenly becomes About that, but on Friday I was thinking about how rich the book is and how as much as I want to focus on a single issue and master it (e.g. what "the Bible" says about same-sex erotic relationships) I love this interconnectedness (what embodiment implies, what exactly the Bible says about Jesus' message of love, etc.).
More prof quotes:
On how easy it is to get 4-5 pages (the length of our essay due in two weeks): "You dash off an intemperate and vociferous e-mail to a friend..."
"Coins are great, 'cause they're durable and the visual equivalent of a soundbyte."
When asked how Julian(?) died, "He was campaigning, it was probably dysentery. You can't say 'such-and-such a leader died of diarrhea,' but that's usually how they went."