Theologian explores spirituality, sacramentals in Toni Morrison’s ‘Song of Solomon’

first_imgMembers of the Saint Mary’s community gathered in Carroll Auditorium to hear M. Shawn Copeland, noted theologian and Boston College professor emerita, speak on spirituality in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.” This talk was the first of the Center for Spirituality’s spring lecture series.Early in her lecture, Copeland explained that she wanted those who study literature to know theologians such as herself do not intend to make works of fiction suit their discipline’s needs. Gina Twardosz Dr. M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College professor emerita and a noted theologian, spoke on the spiritual significance of Toni Morrison’s novel “The Song of Solomon,” Thursday.“Quite frankly, I want to ward off any suspicions that may lurk among professors in English and American literatures — professors and students who may be concerned about theologians instrumentalizing or distorting fiction,” Copeland said.Her overview of the novel distinguished it as more driven by culture than action.“‘Song of Solomon’ really is a psychological novel,” Copeland said. “It’s much more concerned with an examination of the inner lives of its characters and their responses to historical and familial circumstances than it is with action.”Because of its focus on these themes, “Song of Solomon” encourages readers to better understand humanity, she said.“Literature teaches and tutors us, coaxes and coaches us — all of us — even theologians in the mysteries of the human mind and human heart … well-written, demanding novels challenge,” she said. “They resist reduction both to naïve literalism and overblown symbolizing. Theology and literature draw our attention to what is vital and important, turn us toward what is transcendent, toward what transcends us toward the potentialities of our own self-transcendence.”Copeland explained the novel’s major characters and their history. With the aid of a family tree, she explained the connections of the Dead family, around whom “Song of Solomon” is centered. She then gave an overview of the plot before launching into the novel’s connections to spirituality.“Some of you may find the notion of spirituality and relation to ‘Song of Solomon’ surprising, and others may think linking the novel to Catholicism or Catholic spirituality to be dubious or odd, or perhaps flat-out wrong,” she said. “I understand spirituality as a way of life, a way of living, a way of being in and moving with and through the world.”Catholicism is a religion, Copeland said, but also a spirituality.“This way of life and living extends the word made flesh through community and communion, in and through and beyond time,” she said.She noted several examples of characters in “Song of Solomon” who take on their own spiritual journeys. Among them is Milkman, one of the novel’s main characters. Events in his life “fundamentally and profoundly” changed him, she said.“What began as a material quest evolved into a spiritual journey. Milkman has found a treasure far more precious than gold,” Copeland said. “He has found his family’s history … a powerful and empowering spiritual gift.”Another character through whom Morrison explores spirituality is Pilate, Copeland said.“The way in which Pilate Dead lives her life — the way she is, the way in which she moves in and with and through the world — this was as a developed and developing relationality to sell others, the world and the transcendent … because human living always is fragile practice in fleshing vulnerabilities and virtues, judgements and decisions, surrender and discipline, atonement and conversion,” she said.The character of Pilate also introduces readers to sacramentals, another of the lecture’s themes.“In particular, [Pilate] introduces us to reliquaries, containers for precious or sacred objects,” Copeland said. “Sacramentals remind us of and orient us toward transcendence. … Such signs include physical objects, some candles, rosaries, medals, relics, statues and music.”These signs were among the things that helped Pilate sanctify her time, Copeland said.“‘Song of Solomon’ is indirectly didactic,” she said. “The characters of the novel illustrate what it means to value family, venerate ancestors, cherish children and old people, honor friendship … and respect all those encountered along the way.”Following the lecture, questions from the audience revolved around the themes of Catholicism and African American culture.“This is a heavily cultural novel, and if you’ve only thought of black culture as pathological, then you’ve really missed out on something important,” Copeland said. “There are a lot of subtleties here that black people don’t all master. Mastering your culture, really appropriating it fully, is really a lifetime project. Few people are really able to do this. This is why novelists are so important.”Tags: Center for Spirituality, song of Solomon, toni Morrisonlast_img read more

“Ghana’s best players play for Kotoko!” – David Duncan

Kotoko coach David Duncan has laid another salvo of words sure to ignite debate countrywide“If you are playing for Kotoko then you have to consider yourself to be amongst the best,” he said on Wednesday in Kumasi.The occasion was the pre-match press conference for the club’s crucial Caf Confed Cup second leg game with El Eulma this weekend. The coach has brought some verve into the team’s dressing room since replacing Mas-ud Dramani.And he’s wasted no time in grabbing headlines with his proclamations.”Kotoko, if not the best in Africa, then certainly is the best in Ghana and therefore if you are a player of this club, you should have the mindset of being the best.”For the time being, Duncan’s money is where his mouth is, for he is yet to lose. He also hinted at the presser of a very attacking setup when the Algerians come to town. “A player for Kotoko should think of himself as being the standard for many players to measure themselves with and therefore they should start thinking and exhibiting such traits.”Kotoko were 14th when the former Hearts coach took over; they are currently fifth on the log in the league.–Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith read more

Will Jordy Nelson’s big game for Raiders come this weekend?

first_imgALAMEDA — Jordy Nelson was Jon Gruden’s big-name signing this offseason, the 33-year-old who supposedly still had the jets and hands to be an effective wide receiver in the NFL.Through two weeks – yes, it’s only two games – he’s yet to live up to that billing.While Jared Cook (nine catches for 180 yards in Week 1) and Amari Cooper (10 catches for 116 yards in Week 2) have already posted big games, Nelson has caught only five passes for 53 yards over two weeks. On Sunday alone, Nelson caught …last_img

Report: Former A’s closer signs eight-figure deal to join Dodgers bullpen

first_imgSAN DIEGO — Former A’s closer Blake Treinen discussed a possible reunion with Oakland this offseason, but the right-hander ultimately elected to pitch elsewhere next year.Treinen and the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $10 million for the 2020 season. Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported the signing.Treinen was non-tendered by the A’s earlier this month after posting a 4.91 ERA in 57 appearances this season. The Dodgers are betting on Treinen’s ability to regain …last_img

A tour guide in your pocket

first_imgRobben Island, a barren 2-kilometre-longpiece of rock in Table Bay off the coast ofCape Town, is world-famous as the placewhere Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for18 of his 27 years in jail.(Image: South African Tourism)Janine ErasmusVisitors to South Africa now have their own personal tour guide permanently on call, with the launch of the innovative new Mobiguide – a service that allows tourists to download multimedia tour guides to popular destinations onto their mobile phones, laptops and other portable media players.From its official inception in October 2007 to the launch at popular tourist destination Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town in March this year, Mobiguide has already generated much interest.For R30 (about $8 or €12 at current exchange rates), plus service provider charges, visitors can download audiovisual tourism guides that enhance the experience of visiting some of South Africa’s most popular destinations. Content ranges from the Stellenbosch wine route, Robben Island and Kirstenbosch in Cape Town to Soweto, Newtown and Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. There are also guides on South Africa’s famous Big Five safari experience.On average the clips run for around four minutes and feature original footage and historical clips from national archives, as well as narrative and music. Clips can be previewed and downloaded at the tourist destinations themselves, from the Mobiguide website, or by going to on a mobile browser.The guides are currently available in several languages, including English, French, German and Mandarin. These were specifically chosen, says Mobiguide’s IT director Dan Seidman, based on statistics of tourists to South Africa.“We actually found that Dutch is the second most commonly spoken language among South African visitors,” says Seidman, “but Dutch people generally speak very good English and are not averse to using English-language products. French covers not only France but also the Francophone countries in Africa. The Asian tourist market is growing very quickly, and we found that tourists speaking Mandarin Chinese often don’t have a fluent grasp of English – they indicated that they would like the product to be made available in their own language.”Seidman says that new languages are in the pipeline, among them Portuguese, Italian and Spanish, and local languages Zulu, Sotho and Xhosa. This is because Mobiguides are not only targeted at tourists, but there is also a goal to get South Africans more interested in their heritage too, as locals make up a large percentage of the tourism sector.However, the production of new guides in other languages must be balanced with the need for guides covering new sites. Seidman says they may well end up taking both options, depending on what the production budget allows.The mobile generationDownloading audio and video clips to a mobile phone is by now an everyday occurrence, and Mobiguide is capitalising on that by offering its guides in popular formats that are accessible to most media devices. The formats include mp3, mp4, avi and 3gp.Popular South African artists such as award-winning instrumental group DNA Strings, and musician/songwriter Riku Lätti, perform the backing tracks on Mobiguides – these may also be downloaded individually.The idea for Mobiguides was born, says founder and MD Amanda Forsythe, during her years as a French interpreter working for the French embassy. Her job often entailed taking VIPs to tourist destinations around South Africa. She found that general information about South Africa’s culture, history and development was not always available at sites of interest, and even less so in languages other than English.“I simply wanted people to be able to cross the language barriers that often prevent us from really understanding one another,” she says on her blog. “And I wanted people to really understand this extraordinary country, South Africa. I wanted them to see the beauty of this land and its people, as well as the passion and pain that form the foundations of the new South Africa.”A little research revealed that the costs of introducing audio guides, and the equipment required such as headsets, would be too expensive. Consequently the idea had to be temporarily shelved but when Forsythe met her current business partner Dan Seidman in 2006 the two put their heads together, enabling Forsythe to turn her passion for languages and travel into the Mobiguide concept. This, she claims, is a first for Africa and possibly the world.To date Forsythe has produced all the Mobiguides herself, from taking photos and shooting footage to research and writing, voice-overs, translations, and more.Canadian-born programmer, entrepreneur and former derivatives trader Dan Seidman is also well travelled and has lived in various countries around the world. Between them Seidman and Forsythe have degrees in history, languages and philosophy.Showing off what South Africa has to offerMobiguide is registered with tourism authorities in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and works closely with South Africa’s national archives, local municipalities and world heritage sites.“Tourists don’t always realise exactly what is on offer in areas other than Cape Town,” says Seidman. “The most visited place in South Africa, by far, is the V&A Waterfront shopping centre which welcomes 1.8-million tourists annually. Robben Island is a distant second with 600 000 visitors. We’re hoping that when tourists visit the Mobiguide website to download clips on Cape Town they’ll notice that there are also interesting destinations in, say, Johannesburg, and will decide to extend their stay to explore these options.“A lot of stakeholders are realising that multi-lingual information is a must and some are interested in investing with us to produce a Mobiguide on their destination. For instance, we’ve received inquiries from places like Maropeng, the Cradle of Humankind.”The company is always looking to expand its offerings and invites users to get in touch through the website if they feel their location, no matter where in the world it is, would make an interesting addition to the Mobiguide portfolio.Mobiguide has also introduced the Mobitalk mobile application, which is also expected to be of great use to travellers. This offers e-mail, SMS and chat services at a fraction of the normal cost – but only to another device that has Mobitalk installed. A VOIP facility will go live in June, enabling users to make low-cost voice calls using the internet. Mobitalk also provides instant access to the Mobiguide system. The application can be downloaded free of charge from the Mobiguide website.Useful linksMobiguideMobitalk – Gateway to the NationGauteng TourismCape TourismSouth African National ArchivesWorld heritage sites in South AfricaSouth African Tourismlast_img read more

Future Global Food Gap Remains

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorDES MOINES (DTN) — The gap remains persistent between global growth of agricultural production and the expected need for food, feed, fiber and bioenergy demands for 10 billion people in 2050.The Global Agricultural Productivity Index, released annually at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, shows a spread between projected production and demand. Agricultural Total Factor Productivity, (TFP) is growing globally at a rate of 1.63% annually yet the growth needs to rise 1.73% annually to sustain the needs of a larger population at mid-century.The Global Agricultural Productivity Index was created by a consortium of several major agricultural input companies that formed the Global Harvest Initiative. The group turned the report and related work over this year to the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.The challenge, as consistently measured in these GAP reports, remains with “alarmingly low” TFP growth in low-income countries. Agricultural growth in these low-income countries is projected to rise about 1% annually, but the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals state productivity from low-income farmers needs to double by 2030.“These productivity gaps, if they persist, will have serious ramifications for environmental sustainability, the economic vitality of the agriculture sector, and the prospects for reducing poverty, malnutrition, and obesity,” said Ann Steensland, author of the 2019 GAP Report and coordinator of the GAP Report Initiative at Virginia Tech.The report states that without intervention, current agricultural productivity trends “will produce significant negative consequences for environmental sustainability, economic development and human nutrition.” Farmers will use both more land and water to boost production, which will put more strains on the natural resources already threatened by climate change, the report states.The United Nations shows roughly 822 million people are malnourished, a number that has been rising since 2015. Due to higher global population, the percentage of people malnourished around the world declined for more than a decade but has leveled off since 2015, between 10.6% and 10.8% of the population.Globally, agricultural stocks of staple crops remain high at the moment. Global wheat ending stocks are projected for the 2019-20 crop at a record 287.8 million metric tons, according to the October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released by USDA. Rice world ending stocks are projected at 175.1 million metric tons, also a record volume. 2019-20 global ending stocks for corn and soybeans are both projected to be down slightly from recent years.The GAP report with its history tied to global input and production companies, often repeats similar themes and this year’s report reiterates past messages. Strategies for higher production revolve around more investment in public-sector agricultural research and development, as well as extension services. Science and information technologies should be expanded to enable producers of all scales to manage environmental and economic risks, the report states. More investment should occur in infrastructure such as transportation, communication and financial services. Countries should expand trade agreements that improve regional and global trade. And more effort should be invested in post-harvest losses and food waste.Chris Clayton can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(PSSK)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Clippers discover depth at catcher

“My job is to help out the pitchers as much as I can,” Espino said. “That’s my job on this team and that’s what I’m going to do as a backup catcher. Defense has to be my top priority and after that, I want to have good at-bats, put the ball in play and hope for the best result.”In Sunday’s loss against the Toledo Mud Hens, Espino had one hit in three at-bats, with an RBI single. He provided stability from behind the plate as he caught nine innings from Hector Rondon, Steven Wright and Frank Herrmann. Espino threw out Casper Wells in the fourth inning on the only attempted steal of the day by the Mud Hens.Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh commented on Espino’s value to the club.“He really works well with the pitching staff, and he’s had some big hits for us early in this year,” Sarbaugh said. “He’s a hard worker and a great guy to have in the clubhouse.” The catcher position is the most grueling position in baseball. Spending nine innings every game crouched in a catcher’s stance, wearing knee, shin and chest protectors, a protective helmet and a face mask in the heat and humidity of the summer can wear a player down.Occasionally, the Columbus Clippers need to give their starting catcher and top prospect Carlos Santana a day of rest. Backup Damaso Espino has shown to be a valuable asset to the Clippers in these situations.On April 21, Santana was injured when he fouled a ball off of his right knee. While the injury was not considered serious, he was taken out of the game and listed as day-to-day.Espino has provided stability at the catcher position when Santana is out of the lineup.Espino has played in eight games for the Clippers this season and has a .227 batting average. Despite his struggles at the plate, his defensive abilities have been impressive. read more

3 Ohio State wrestlers listed No 1 in their weight classes in

Redshirt freshman wrestler Kollin Moore gets his hand raised after defeating Penn State’s Matt McCutcheon at 197 pounds on Feb. 3, 2017 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Nicholas McWilliams | Former Sports EditorThree Ohio State wrestlers — heavyweight Kyle Snyder, 187-pound Kollin Moore at 187 pounds and 125-pound Nathan Tomasello — were listed in No. 1 spots in FloWrestling’s preseason NCAA wrestling rankings on Monday.Buckeye wrestlers are represented in the top-12 of every weight class. FloWrestling also ranked Ohio State second in the NCAA in its preseason rankings. Coach Tom Ryan’s group ranks behind Penn State, which won the NCAA team championship the past two seasons.The Buckeyes, coming off a runner-up finish at the NCAA team championships last season, has three other team members listed in the top five in their respective weight classes. Junior Myles Martin is ranked second in the 184-pound class. Redshirt senior Bo Jordan is ranked third at 174 pounds while his brother, redshirt junior Micah Jordan, is listed fourth at 157 pounds. Sophomore Luke Pletcher (133 pounds) and redshirt sophomore Ke-Shawn Hayes (149 pounds) are both ranked ninth in their respective weight classes. Two new additions to the Buckeyes are also ranked. Joey McKenna, who transferred from Stanford, is ranked sixth at 141 pounds and Te’Shan Campbell, who transferred away from Pittsburgh, is ranked 12th at 165 pounds. Seven Penn State wrestlers are ranked, including five who are ranked No. 1 and two others ranked fourth and fifth. The Buckeyes will face off with the Nittany Lions on Feb. 2 or 4 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Michigan, which FloWrestling ranks third in team rankings behind the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes, will showcase eight ranked wrestlers in its lineup during the upcoming season with six being ranked in the top six. Ohio State will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a dual meet with the Wolverines on Feb. 11. The Buckeyes kick off the 2017-2018 campaign on Nov. 4 when they compete in the Princeton Open in Princeton, New Jersey. read more

Jubilee fire burning two weeks Residents asked to stay away

first_img Dump fire burning, deliberate act says Minister No arrests likely for landfill fire, says Minister Recommended for you Related Items:#FireIce, #JubileeGardensfire, #magneticmedianews, #NassauDumpFire Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, March 20, 2017 – Nassau – Two weeks later and that dump fire in Jubilee Gardens is still burning – a persistent situation and Minister of Environment, Kenred Dorsett gave the update that it is 90% contained.   It was said by the Minister that the 10% still burning is causing enough smoke to keep residents out of the subdivision for a little while longer says officials.Gel Tech Solutions has left, but they have also left their FireIce product for ground use.   Fletcher Air has been kept on to conduct more air drops of the product as the Minister has forecast that it will be another week before repopulation of Jubilee is encouraged.  It was explained that Environmental Health has a plan to assist with the transition back home for the hundreds of residents and that another fire in Carmichael Road is demanding EHDs support of the Fire Department as well.As for where waste and garbage is going while the landfill is being extinguished; Senior Deputy Director, Thomasina Wilson said to media that residential waste is going to the original landfill and that commercial and industrial waste is being taken to Spikenard Road where hurricane debris is usually stored.#MagneticMediaNews#JubileeGardensfire#FireIce#NassauDumpfire Air quality diminished, Acquinas monitoringlast_img read more