Thursday, August 25, 2005

Yay, Dawn!

So Dawn got a new letter today. She is no longer merely the lowly Dawn Thames, R.N. She is now the robust and powerful Dawn Thames, R.N.C.--registered nurse clinician. This basically means she is board-certified (like doctors and lawyers sometimes are) in obstetric nursing (i.e., helping women have babies). Big congratulations (she hates taking tests and was very anxious about the three-hour exam). If you love Dawnie and want to send props her way, she's at 469 939 6436 and dawnth at baylorhealth dot edu and the same at sbcglobal period net.

I'm working on an article based on Kierkegaard's idea that if we had a duty to love (which he thinks, because of God's command, we Christians do) it would be a freeing thing. I'm hoping to show that agape love, as the welcoming love of strangers, as hospitality extended toward foreigners, as loving one's enemies, is just the thing not just needed but required for civil society to function. A basic form of it must be available by means of God's general grace to all. Otherwise, the commands and expectations of Scripture regarding civil society wouldn't make sense. Of course, the consequences of the absence of any even rudimentary acceptance or trust of the Other is currently seen in Iraq and Palestine: paranoia and slaughter in lieu of disagreement.

Jonathan is supposed to read the Shakespearean tragedies this year, and it seemed a good time for me to do so as well with him. I haven't read more than a couple in my life--my literary formal education was abysmal. On the other hand, we've always done Shakespeare in the Park in any city we lived in. So I'm not unfamiliar with them. And I love the raft of Shakespeare that came out of England in movie form in the nineties, with Kenneth Branagh leading the way, but also Ian McKellan's Richard III and the various Capulets and Montagues. Anyway, so far I've read Julius Caesar, very much about the cancerous nature of pride and conspiracies; MacBeth, about guilt as much as Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is; Hamlet, with more stock phrases in the language gotten from it per scene than any other play I'm sure; and King Lear, the most unrelentingly icky and horrible narrative of how nastily people can treat each other, unrelieved by any humor, that I've encountered since years ago Dawn and I watched the creepy and depressing, if magnificently done, 1960s version of A Lion in Winter. After that, I decided to switch over to the comedies for a while, so I'm starting with The Tempest.

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