As I begin this posting, my capstone level students are filling out their course evaluations. This is the next to last class. Next week they will do their presentations with their clients in attendance. I am always excited by this part of the semester to see what they have actually produced. Most times I am rather blown away by what they have done. It is quite amazing to see how they step up to the plate and create some really usable documents or other media. This time, three of the groups are working on particular elements of the departmental site and some of the minors. They are moving the majority of the site, which has been in Dreamweaver to Drupal, which is the university’s Course Management System (CMS). This is actually a pretty big undertaking. There is the coordination between the groups and then there is working with the university web person, which is another piece to their puzzle. Two other groups are working with previous clients, who are in town and have worked with me before. Both groups have had some bumps, but I think they have managed the issues pretty well.
This week I finally turn in all the tenure things I have been lamenting over and stressing upon . . . it is finally due on Thursday to my chair. At this point, it is about 190 pages long with all the appendices. I also have to put together my supplemental materials during the coming weekend. I actually have a bit more time on those because my department has been kind. It is the impetus for this blog title, however. I just want it to be done. I have listened to a number of colleagues and to those who have put up with me during this past month. Your hanging in there with me is more important to me than you might realize. You have probably witnessed me at my worst, certainly more stressed than I have been since perhaps my comprehensive exams along with the beginning of chemo therapy. That was a difficult time that might rival this one. Sobre todo a Jordan y Melissa, su cuidado, apoyo y amor serán para siempre atesorados. A pesar de mi frustración, las fusiones accidentales, y sí, hasta se rasgan, estoy más agradecido que cualquier palabra puede expresar.
The picture of this posting is something that I spoke with my students about during class tonight. One of the my students aptly noted that this might be generational, and to that observation, I certainly agree, but it is not necessarily what one uses or even how much he or she uses it, it is more the reason and the manner in which one does. The reasons are actually changing more than many people think. I do not believe social networking is so much about staying in touch with friends or poking, tweeting, or pinning. It is about understanding the world in which you live and work, the world in which you take in information and then process it to understand or create your identity. What is happening is more and more people are using it as their “go-to” news source, or the way they keep abreast of what is happening in the world around them. The consequences of this metamorphosis is substantial. On whom do we depend for the important news or the breaking information that directly affects us? What make that person, the source, that digital media credible or trustworthy? What are the consequences of depending on 140 characters or someone’s wall posting?
I am amazed at how someone can believe that FB, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram is all he or she needs to understand the world in which they live. It actually frightens me . . . the lack of critical thought or introspection will continue to create a void among the masses and their ability to hold a meaningful or insightful conversation or discussion will continue to wane. One of the most important things I believe we can do as humans is think critically. I see this in my writing classes, from freshmen to seniors. Their willingness to look beyond the first thing they find or merely scratch the surface is sorely lacking . . . and when you push them to go further, they think you are being unrealistic or harsh. When I find someone who is willing to talk about more than something like Miley Cyrus or some other BS celebrity garbage, I am pleasantly surprised. I had some of those conversations earlier this semester and they might be the high point of this past three or four months. Unfortunately, because of a variety of things, they have not happened. That is my fault as much as anything. I merely need to make time to focus on those things: why is America so different was the first topic that one queried? A fair question . . . and a difficult one. If you have read my blog for a while, there have been questions about God and the nature of this creator. It is certainly easy to say, “God is love.” I wish it was that easy to believe. I know the scriptures better than most and I know from where these words come, but it is so hard to believe that this is the case. At least it is for me at this point. The conditionality of us as humans (I guess one might say this is why it is such an amazing thing that God is unconditional.) make it hard to believe that God could allow us to so mess things up. I want to simply ask, “why?”. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to listen to some of the thoughts of someone I have come to know and respect greatly. It is interesting how he has grasped on to this aspect of God being “all there for us”. I respect his position, and I was there once, but I am not sure I am anymore. I have become more skeptical that I might like to admit. Of course, after listening over the weekend, I am more understanding of why someone has the position she does. Again, I remember being there once upon a time. I wanted to believe that somehow God had (has) a plan. Is it merely now I do not want to believe or I can’t believe? I am not sure. I am hoping that perhaps teaching my class this fall might do the same thing for me it often does for my students.
Teaching the Bible as Literature class is one of my favorite classes. While one of the two siblings will be in the class, the other has chosen, mostly for appropriate reasons, to not take the course. I am not sure that is the entire story, but I also respect what I believe the other reason is also. Perhaps we will have some of those talks again, I miss them. In a way this blog is to prompt some of that thinking. I think it is believed that I can be convinced once again of this all-loving God. I am not so sure. It will take a lot more than merely “because” . . . I remember struggling with this once before in my life . . . I am reminded that Bonhoeffer struggled with the church as it failed to stand up against Hitler. I am not sure I struggle with the church. I am not really interested in the church per se . . . my bigger struggle is with God as an all-knowing, all-loving being. It just seems to me at this point, there is so much hurt, hate, mistrust, and anger in the world that how can an all-powerful and all-knowing God of love be active in the midst of such sadness and discontent?
I am actually adding into my posting. Ironic, that I have been pondering God in this posting (One should note that I still believe in God demonstrated by the fact I am having this conversation.). However, I should remember my younger sister, Kris, who passed away 6 years ago today. Please forgive me for not being a better brother. I have learned more about what it means to be a loving sibling from the two exceptional siblings I have blessed enough to have in my life. It actually makes me wonder about the third one, whom I have not yet met. I know she is important too, and I think it is the middle one who is the glue who keeps them all together. I think she is an interesting glue, perhaps more like velcro, but I think that analogy will go unexplained at the moment. I think you would have been a blogger. I remember you showing me some of your writing. You were an outstanding writer. Perhaps I am trying through this blog to carry on something of you. I am not sure I ever thought of that before. I am not sure I would do it as well as you, but I offer this as a honor to you.
I need to revise the ending of this because it is actually Tuesday morning. I needed to add some to my entry. I got some work done at home; I have met with students already this morning; I need to run my colleague to pick up a car. I am feeling like my brain is running in twenty different directions and my body is standing still, but that is what the end of the semester does normally to me. Add the last couple days of managing this tenure stuff and it is merely a bit more ridiculous. C’est la vie!! Thanks for reading as always.