Friday, November 3, 2006

Close encounters...

I promised to write about my experience at the ICS Worldview Conference with Richard Middleton--no I haven't forgotten, though it seems that everything takes longer when I am only online when I am at school. As it happens, I am here for another "academic event"--listening to lectures by two faculty from Calvin College. We are between lectures now, and just after dinner, so I thought I would steal a few minutes to write while all my friends (and my husband) are probably cracking into one of ICS's bottles of homemade (by us) wine, and playing cards or some such thing...

The conference last Saturday was enlightening. Middleton's take on biblical interpretation is near Nik Ansell's (they graduated in the same year from the same institution!), and focused on the narrative of the biblical story as our clue to interpretation. A welcome perspective, I think, which opens up a lot of the possibilities of the Bible to speak to us today. I am not going to dwell on this point, however, but rather the workshop I attended by a fellow ICS student, working on her PhD in NY right now, which was entitled "The Role of Encounter in the Story of Creation." I think the work she did in the workshop to get us thinking about the idea of encounter was so good, I want to take it as the theme for this blog. Encounters can be scary, but they can also be a source of possibility and discovery that is very positive. I think that the story of our last week can be told by a series of these vulnerable and possibly frightening encounters that have led to the unfolding of possibilities (well, maybe not all of them, but we will see how I can stretch them!)

Dangerous Encounters: Yvana and the too-close-to-her-bike van--Yes, this is the story of my first biking "accident." (There are a series of ad's here in Toronto up on the subways and on TV (apparently) about workplace safety and avoiding using the term "accidents" since most of them are preventable, and this is no exception, I am afraid). I was biking to school with Mike behind me, and after crossing an intersection (one of my least favorite spots on the way because of poor visibility and bumpy roads) I looked behind me to see a van trying to get around the streetcar, just as I was trying to get around a pothole. Needless to say, I'm sure, I had a very close encounter with this van, getting bumped twice and flying over the right side of my bike to bruise my pride fairly badly and scrape my knee (through two pairs of pants--good thing I had them on!). Thank goodness I had my helmet on--when I knew I was going to be falling I just let myself go, in a sense, knowing that I had lots of padding to protect me, considering it is nearly winter! and it would be better than fighting it at that point. I wasn't badly hurt, as all the good people of Toronto within sight came to discover. We even got to speak to a fellow biker who had been in a similar situation at this very intersection, who did what he could to right me and calm me afterward as well. Not a pleasant encounter, but also one that, if it has to happen, worked out about the best that it could. I believe that the possibility is opened here for a new pair of jeans!

Embodied Encounters: Yvana versus seminar presentations-- I had the daunting task this week of presenting for both of my classes--which are, as some of you know, on adjacent days: Thursday and Friday. I think they both went fairly well, and at least got some related discussion started... I spoke today about the relationship between the mind and the body in knowing--something that is very important to me, and something that I hope to do a lot more work with. Without getting into the specific and dirty details, I hope to get beyond the dualism between mind and body (as many of my professors have advised me) and talk about the embodied mind, or rather the body as the mind, or the mind as the body... I don't know what formulation exactly that I am going to work with, but I am somehow hoping to see these together.

To be continued with:

Confrontative Encounters: Mike versus the (un)penetrable bureaucracy of Robarts Library...

And
Disembodied Encounters: Mike versus the world...

2 comments:

Paul T said...

Yo,
just to let you know, I have been reading the updates. Its always good to hear how you 2 are doing. Just wanted to drop you a line: hello, and to tell you how much you are missed. But keep up with the studies and I can't wait to see you around Christmas!!!!
PT

Kidgit said...

I'd laugh hysterically but I'm sincerely glad you're not hurt. I hope that you're recovering nicely. And that pun is intended :)