Fr David Baunach

| human being | catholic priest | artist |


https://github.com/davidbaunach/website.git



I believe this is the 7th or 8th iteration of this website. The main purpose has always been to share my art and later homilies, as well as learn more about website design and hosting and all that good stuff.

And I've learned a lot over the years. Starting with Blogger back in the day, moving to Wordpress, then Wordpress hosted on a VPS, most recently Publii as a static site generator, and finally this, my attempt at a mostly html, with just a smattering of css, and hopefully no javascript website.

This is to be a simple site, a la 1996ish. Not even an rss feed. I'm doing this, with the goal to try self hosting at some point, and also keep it simple enough that it'll be easy to bring over to p2p protocols to test them out.


Everything on this webpage is within the public domain.
Do whatever you want with it.


Homilies

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You can LogGit my latest homilies here: https://techpriesthub.xyz/forgejo/terrantechpriest/techpriest_homilies.git


2024.01.14 Homily

1.

"John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus."

This is the work of a prophet, to show people who Jesus is.

2.

I was in Chubby's BBQ about a week ago. One of the waitresses seemed to be home on Christmas break from college. I overheard her talking with two other customers, it seemed she knew them fairly well.

/

She was relating a story, of why she avoided a certain part of campus. Apparently, there was a wild looking man, with a boombox blaring scripture passages, calling people sinners and chasing them down, telling them they need to repent. So she avoided that place, and eventually campus security banned him from campus. If only she knew, that she was in the presence of a prophet.

3.

John the Baptist went to join many of the other prophets: in being murdered because he told people the truth when they didn't want to hear it. In particular, he told highly influential people, people with power and authority, that they were sinners, and they should repent. God asks us to be prophets, knowing full well that our fallen world kills prophets. He sends us on a mission he has already undertaken, we follow in the footsteps of God. We are not called to be popular, but faithful.


2023.11.19 Homily

Our first reading, in praise of the worthy wife, and our Gospel, the parable of the talents, do not immediatly seem to be connected.
Until you realize the good servants, who increased their talents, were doing exactly the same thing the worthy wife was doing: being fruitful with the gifts they had.
The wife turning raw fibers into fabric, and giving generously to the poor.
The two good servants, engaging in trade, to increase the gift that had been given to them.

Living a fruitful life has many aspects.
We are given the example of industry and generosity in the first reading, and the example of trade in the Gospel.
The virtue at work which allows us to live a fruitful life, is fortitude.
Someone has perfected the virtue of fortitude, when they are able to overcome obsticals that get in the way of doing good.
When they are able to overcome laziness, indifference, fear, and great difficulties, in order to do something good.

The bad servent admits, that he hid the talent out of fear.
Perhaps he also hid it out of laziness, successful trading takes effort, even taking it to a bank takes effort.
He might have even hidden it out of indifference, we can't know for certain.
What we do know, is the punishment for that sin of giving in to laziness, indifference, fear, or great difficulties, is Hell.
We were not created to be cowards.

I have a small exercise you can do to aid in your journey towards fortitude.
Fear is very often what holds people back from doing what is good.
Make a list, identifying a few of your own fears.
Share that list with God in prayer, and ask His help and direction, in overcoming those fears.


2023.10.01 Homily

The second reading this weekend, is very significant to me.
I memorized the second half of it years ago, and I pray it fairly often.
Listen to the words again:

Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

A hymn to humility.
A canticle in praise of Jesus: our Lord and Savior.
It is so beautiful.

Do you have some verses like this, that you have memorized and are able to pray whenever?
If you do, approach it with new eyes every once in a while, share it with a friend or a loved one.

And if you do not, that is your homework for this week.
Find some passage from scripture that is meaningful to you.
Memorize it and pray with it often.

The Bible is an inexhaustible treasure, return to it often, pray with it every day.


2023.09.24 Homily

Our first reading offers some clarification on our Gospel:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD."

So if we find ourselves sympathizing with those who worked all day, we are just thinking our human thoughts.

Because on a human level, it makes no sense to pay someone the same whether they worked one hour, or a full day.

But let's stretch our minds to think a little more like God.

We have some vague understanding of what God wants, we can see it in His actions:

Again and again, God stretches toward us, trying to get rid of anything that stands between us.

Making covenants in the Old Testament, dying to destroy the barrier of sin, and rising to give us new life.

God wants something like a relationship, this much we can discern from His actions.

And if the pay that He is offering is eternal life with Him: there is no way to give any more, or any less.

If we convert on our deathbed, or serve faithfully from our birth like the Blessed Mother, there is no greater or lesser reward.

We are all equal when it comes to heaven.

And this helps us understand where those who worked all day went wrong in grumbling about their pay.

If God desires relationship with us, following His example, we should be desirous of relationship with each other.

And once we do, we will rejoice when anyone is added to the Body of Christ through Baptism.

Even, and maybe even especially, if it is just moments before their death.

May we leave behind our human thoughts and ways, and adopt the thoughts and ways of God.


2023.07.16 Homily

When I was in seminary, we had many classes on scripture. And in one of those classes, we had an assignment to write a short paper on a passage where Jesus was preaching to the people, much like today's Gospel passage.

I liked writing provocative titles for my papers, so I entitled that one "The Failure of Christ."

And my thesis was that, Jesus being God, his conversion rate of people who heard him preach, to people who started following him, was pretty darn low.

The rest of the paper went in a more conventional direction.

God does not force anyone to believe in the truth: He offers it, he pushes and prods, but He gives us freedom.

In His preaching, Jesus will have the same conversion rate as any other preacher, not because He fails, but just because that's the way He created us.

And with that introduction, I direct the rest of this homily to those parents who have adult children.

Especially those who suffer the pain of having children they've raised in the faith, who abandoned it after they left home.

It's a deep wound, it can bring about all sorts of doubts and fears: was it my fault? Was there something else we should have done? What willhappen to them when they die? What will happen to my grandchildren?

This parable is for you.

No matter how well you prepared your children to receive the Word of God, it is still their soul, and their life.

The freedom is theirs.

We must learn to be like God, to follow this example of Jesus: God Himself did His best, and yet not all believed.

But to close, our tradition gives us another example to follow in these cases: St Monica.

Who through tears and prayers over seventeen years besought God for the conversion of her son.

And he finally did convert, after those seventeen years of pain and sorrow and hope for his mother.

We must hold in tension, the fact that everyone is free, and there is nothing we can do to force people to live the faith.

But also, that we should never give up hope, and that through our pain offered up, and ceaseless prayer, we give our children, family, friends, and even enemies, the greatest chance to turn back to God.


2023.03.19 Homily

2023.01.29 Homily

I want to begin with something I've never mentioned in a homily before: video games. I grew up playing video games, and I still play a few from time to time. One of the games I played a lot, especially in college, was Team Fortress 2, a multiplayer first person shooter. Basically you get assigned to a team with a bunch of other players, pick your character, and fight against another team to accomplish an objective. Picking your character was important, each one had certain strengths and weaknesses, and a team needed the right mix to be successful. There where 9 different characters: the Scout, the Soldier, the Pyro | the Demoman, Heavy Weapons Guy, the Engineer | the Medic, the Sniper, and the Spy. You'd start a match, and whenever a player would die, they could choose a new character before they came back, so the mix would constantly change over the course of match, each team trying to adapt to the strategy of the other. This is called a "class system" and it's popular in many first person shooters. It adds another layer of complexity to a game, another level of strategy to have to balance your team against the other.

In a way, Jesus in the Gospel is offering us a chance to choose our character: The Poor in Spirit, the Mourner, the Meek | Hungry and Thirsty for Righteousness, the Merciful, the Clean of Heart | the Peacemaker, the Persecuted, the Insulted. A chance to choose the blessedness we desire: the Kingdom, Comfort, Inheritance | Satisfaction, Mercy, the Vision of God | the Child of God, Heaven, the Great Reward.

If we strive for holiness, we will cycle through all these characters at some point or other. We will mourn over our sins. We will show mercy to our fellow sinners. We will make peace between brothers and sisters. We will be persecuted and insulted. We need to cycle through them all to become saints. God needs them all to build the Kingdom, they each have their part to play to balance out the Church.

I'm going to give some homework today: go through this list of Beatitudes. Find one in particular you want to follow. And seek, for that blessedness.


2023.01.22 Homily

I wonder, if when Jesus heard that John was arrested, he thought about his own future arrest and murder. The news seems to have catapulted him into action. He had been baptized by John, tempted in the desert, and now, he begins his ministry in a whirlwind of activity, calling his followers, preaching and healing and casting out demons.

St Peter Damian, a Doctor of the Church, has this to say on the subject: "Nobody can fight properly and boldly for the Faith is he clings to a fear of being stripped of earthly possessions." Peter and Andrew, James and John, they apparently did not have that fear, they left it all. Jesus himself did not have that fear, he had already left everything, and would live on charity throughout his earthly ministry.

The whirlwind could not begin, the triumph of the Faith, could not even take it's first few steps, until the "fear of being stripped of earthly possessions" had been overcomed. That is the lesson of John the Baptist: preach the truth, and you're likely to end up in jail, and be murdered by a tyrant. The exact same thing happens to Jesus. The exact same things happens to the Apostles.

The whirlwind could not begin, the triumph of the Faith, could not even take it's first few steps, until the "fear of being stripped of earthly possessions" had been overcomed. That is the lesson of John the Baptist: preach the truth, and you're likely to end up in jail, and be murdered by a tyrant. The exact same thing happens to Jesus. The exact same things happens to the Apostles.


Homily 2023.09.24

Our first reading offers some clarification on our Gospel:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD."

So if we find ourselves sympathizing with those who worked all day, we are just thinking our human thoughts.

Because on a human level, it makes no sense to pay someone the same whether they worked one hour, or a full day.

But let's stretch our minds to think a little more like God.

We have some vague understanding of what God wants, we can see it in His actions:

Again and again, God stretches toward us, trying to get rid of anything that stands between us.

Making covenants in the Old Testament, dying to destroy the barrier of sin, and rising to give us new life.

God wants something like a relationship, this much we can discern from His actions.

And if the pay that He is offering is eternal life with Him: there is no way to give any more, or any less.

If we convert on our deathbed, or serve faithfully from our birth like the Blessed Mother, there is no greater or lesser reward.

We are all equal when it comes to heaven.

And this helps us understand where those who worked all day went wrong in grumbling about their pay.

If God desires relationship with us, following His example, we should be desirous of relationship with each other.

And once we do, we will rejoice when anyone is added to the Body of Christ through Baptism.

Even, and maybe even especially, if it is just moments before their death.

May we leave behind our human thoughts and ways, and adopt the thoughts and ways of God.


2023.01.15 Homily

Three Things. For the first, we read in the book of Exodus: "The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month will stand at the head of your calendar; you will reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every family must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a household is too small for a lamb, it along with its nearest neighbor will procure one, and apportion the lamb's cost in proportion to the number of persons, according to what each household consumes. Your lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You will keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole community of Israel assembled, it will be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They will take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They will consume its meat that same night, eating it roasted with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or even boiled in water, but roasted, with its head and shanks and inner organs. You must not keep any of it beyond the morning; whatever is left over in the morning must be burned up. This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you will eat it in a hurry. It is the LORD's Passover."

The second thing, is the barn in which Jesus was born in Bethlehem. There is a theory, that he was born in the temple barns in Bethlehem: the place where the lambs were raised for sacrifice. Specially trained shepherds watched over flocks of sheep bred to produce offspring without blemish. When the lambs were born, they were inspected, and if they were fit for sacrifice, they were wrapped in swaddling clothes, and raised with the utmost care. And that is the clue that Jesus was born there. These swaddling clothes would not be in other barns, for Jesus to be wrapped in them, means he was born in this special barn, where the lambs for sacrifice were also born.

So for the third thing, we return to the Gospel: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." In birth, marked for death. By his stripes, we are healed. By his death, we are reborn. Our sins forgiven, in the slaughter of one lamb.


2023.01.08 Homily

The magi followed a star. And this should give us pause. After all, how many of us look at the stars regularly enough to notice a new star appearing.

Really, it was the same then as it is today. At that point in time they had scholars who paid attention to the stars, just as we have astronomers who do the same thing. Keeping track of patterns, noticing new arrivals, or even when stars fade away for various reasons.

These magi were those type of scholars; the stars were what they studied, and they had seen something out of the ordinary. There are many options of what they might have seen: a planet rising in a particular part of the zodiac, the appearance of a comet, a star going supernova. Whatever they saw, they determined it corresponded with a prophecy about the arrival of the King of the Jews. And they began a journey to bring him homage.

Standing on the outside and looking in, this process can seem kind of ridiculous. Seeing a sign in the stars, and leaving for a distant land, hoping to find a newborn king. They were stepping out in faith. Whatever they saw, must have been compelling.

Where do we look for signs? If we are not looking to the stars, then where?

It is a question we must ponder. God wants to speak with all of us, but if we do not listen and look, His words and signs, will go unnoticed.


2023.01.01 Homily

We need to have a little history lesson to understand the meaning for today's feast of Mary, the Mother of God. And this complicated lessons starts in the middle of the third century AD, when the Greek term for Mother of God: Theotokos, starts to appear. Mary is Theotokos, the Mother of God, because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human. This did not become formally defined by the Church until the Council of Ephesus in the year 431, but the term was in use at least one hundred years earlier.

One thing to know about Church history, is we usually don't formally define things, unless a heresy comes around first and makes it necessary. In this case, the heresy was Nestorianism, started by the archbishop of Constatintinople: Nestorius. He denied Mary the title of Theotokos, and to do so, had to split apart the divinity and humanity of Jesus, so that Mary was only the mother of the humanity of Jesus, the Christotokos. This direct attack upon the hypostatic union, which holds that Jesus is fully divine and fully human, was the main problem, but out of it grew the problem of seeing Mary as just the mother of a part of Jesus. Which is another thing to note: get one things wrong in Christianity, and other things will go wrong as well. Error begets more error.

To wrap up the history lesson: Nestorianism was growing in popularity, it was easier for people to grasp than the intricacies of the hypostatic union, and so the Council of Ephesus was convened. Nestorius was declared a heretic, removed from being archbishop of Constatinople, the hypostatic union of Christ was reaffirmed, and Mary was declared Theotokos.

Now, what to do with all this information? As our Gospel says: Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. It is an act of humility, to accept that some aspects of our faith, are difficult to comprehend and understand. But then it is an act of courage, to at least attempt to understand them. To do the research, to learn, and to keep all those things, reflecting on them in our hearts.


Christmas 2022 Homily

There are two lessons that Christmas teaches us.
The first, is pay attention to the small things.
/
We have a tiny newborn, born to insignificant parents, in a backwater town, on an ordinary day.
But that tiny newborn, was the King of the Universe.
/
His first visitors where shepherds, a class of men ignored and avoided.
And he led a life so ordinary, that besides an inscedent at the temple, nothing more is said about it until Jesus began his public ministry.
//
When we look for God, we do well to look to the small things.
The cry of a child.
The plea of a beggar.
The streets of a small town.
The tiny whispering voice.
////
But then comes the second lesson: be on the lookout for angels!
For God comes to us as an infant, but that arrival, was announced by heavenly messangers.
Terrifying supernatural beings of light.
Appearing to Mary and Joseph.
Appearing to those shepherds.
//
God breaks into our world in tiny and seemingly insignificant ways.
But the spiritual significance of those little actions, is invaluable.
That is why the angels show up: to give some indication that what is happening, is beyond our comprehension.
////
May we take with us these Christmas lessons:
To look for God in the tiny and insignificant events of daily life.
And prepare yourselves, to see angels!


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Writings

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You can LogGit my photo log here: https://github.com/davidbaunach/photo_log.git

You can LogGit my Blog here (fully polished stuff will eventually end up below): https://github.com/davidbaunach/Blog.git

You can LogGit my videos here: https://techpriesthub.xyz/forgejo/terrantechpriest/techpriest_tv.git


LogGit

Using Git to distribute digital media.

Right off the bat I want to set expectations: I know almost nothing about programming or dev work, all I can really do is html, and if I want to make myself hate the world, I can do some css. So essentially I format documents. That said, I love offline-first, p2p, smallnet, and all that good stuff.

So when I saw Solderpunk's article on using Git for p2p distribution (https://portal.mozz.us/gemini/zaibatsu.circumlunar.space/~solderpunk/gemlog/low-budget-p2p-content-distribution-with-git.gmi) and then saw Degauss's project gwit (https://sr.ht/~ivilata/gwit/) that was inspired by it, I wanted to help. But I quickly realized there wasn't much I could do to help build out gwit, quick look at what Degauss was doing, and realized it was above my head.

Decided to go in a different direction, lean on my strengths as an artist, and just give the idea (of using Git to publish stuff) a name and an image.

Started with the name, after a few different iterations, settled on LogGit. Wanted the name to express the intention of using 'Git' as a 'log' to track changes to files over time, thus allowing for changeable content.

Then the image, drew inspiration from the Git logo, but kept it simple and small (32x32 pixels):

And then the idea: use Git to distribute stuff.

For anyone who is comfortable with computers and has some basic understanding of Git, we can start doing this now.

I'm testing out the idea in my free time, using a Git gui on my computer, and cloning static sites whose author's have made their Git repo public (many thanks to 100r.com and j3s.sh to making their repos easy to find). I also added the LogGit image and the link to clone from the public repo for my personal site and a few other projects I work on.

Cool thing I've found already, is that rss is no longer needed, whenever a change gets made to a site, I can pull the changes, look in the Git history, and see what was added or deleted.

What I like about this, is that nothing needs to be built, nothing major needs to change, just need to publish a link to clone the repo.

I also like that you can use the infrastructure of the enemy to publish.

Go ahead and host the repo on Github or any other major git forge, can typically do it for free, but the original always remains on your device, and you can move it elsewhere whenever you want, and leave your new location as your last commit. Next level would be to self-host it on a Forgejo/Gitea/whatever instance, or what I haven't tried out yet (but plan to soon) is host it yourself on Tor and keep things really sneaky.

I threw together a basic site with the info here: https://davidbaunach.github.io/LogGit/ but you can also LogGit here: https://techpriesthub.xyz/forgejo/terrantechpriest/LogGit.git to get the most up-to-date version (I won't be adding updates to the Gihub version unless they become necessary).

Lastly, here's the repo where I'm trying stuff out, so far, have just been messing around with the idea of blogging, seeing how easy it would be for people to comment on posts via pull request: https://techpriesthub.xyz/forgejo/terrantechpriest/LogGit_stuff.git Probably will test stuff out there, and if it seems promising, move it over to Github so it will be easier for others to interact.


The Phone Problem

Link this post: https://davidbaunach.com/#the_phone_problem

Tldr: simple redundancy is best.

Context

Been running a long term experiment about finding a healthy balance in making myself available to others, and guarding time for personal needs and development. Previous successes have included: the backpack experiment, moving to a two phone setup, and quite a few other tiny changes in my life as a priest that would be a little boring to list out.
What has been occupying my mind in the last few months, especially with the realization (prompted by making the Steam Deck my laptop replacement) that portable computers are finally here and they work amazingly well, is that having a phone number, seems stupid.
It's archaic tech in the worst way, there are better options for voice/video calling and for messaging, and it's highly centralized and completely falls apart in a disaster.
It's also used for all sorts of tracking and identity verification, with very few methods of blocking those tracking attempts being feasible.
With the Steam Deck, or any other portable pc, all necessary means of comunication can be maintained, a phone number is now an unecessarily complicated, and potentially harmful, redundancy.

Replacement

As I've pondered the ways to journey towards a phone number-less life, it's obvious the actual shift is going to be messy.
There are tons of options out there to replace telephone communication, all across the spectrum of corporate to more open: WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messanger, Discord, Telegram, Signal, Wire, Session, Keet, and probably some others I can't recall.
The first problem is do I just stick with one and start handing that out as my new "phone number." Or do I start a few, and give people some options in case they are already familiar with one of them.
And then while I don't have many, I do have some elderly people in my life and work as a priest who are not going to be able to make the jump to any of these options. I'm thinking the age cut off is about mid 80's, I know people in their late 70's and early 80's who use Facetime and Facebook Messanger to communicate with their children and grandchildren, so I think for the most part they'd be fine. But those in their late 80's and on up, I think they're not going to be able to make any sort of shift.
The final big problem to consider (there's lots of little problems, not going into those), is the jerk factor.
Everyone within my socio-economic and geographical region has a phone number. Trying to move away from that is going to threaten the status quo and make me stick out like a sore thumb. I'm going to be making everyone else's life difficult through this decision.
I think I'll ultimately be okay with that, but it does give me a reason to move slowely.

Process

My first intended step is to setup a bunch of those different messenger platforms. I'm guessing that having 4-6 will increase the likelihood that someone will already have an account on that platform.
Next step is only offering those as options to contact me. Just never give my phone number as an option, unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
Final step will be well down the road (I assume): finally getting rid of my phone number! I'm guessing this will take years to get all my present communication over sms transferred over to other platforms. But the day will happen eventually! Maybe...

Caveats

I understand a few roadbumps to my overarching plan: government stuff requires a phone number, the bank requires a phone number, doctors require a phone number.
On the one hand, I'd love to fully go off grid and not need to worry about any of those things, but that's not an option.
These are the reasons I think it will be years to fully get rid of my phone number, and I kinda think I might never be able to get rid of it.
Might just need to keep a dumb phone/local phone with a number I only use for government-banks-doctors for the forseable future.


Various Things

Kagi

I've often dropped the phrase "if you're not paying for it with money, then your data is the payment" in my feeble attempts to convince family and friends to drop Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc... And I say feeble, because it never really seems to work. I need some new strategies.

About a month ago, decided to follow my own advice, and started using, and paying for, Kagi. Google and Bing, as well as the various other ways of getting their search results, have been kicked to the curb!

My one month review begins with the fact that I search quite a bit. Blew through the 300 searches plan in two weeks, so I'm on the next tier now.

Search results have been great, a very few times I've had to venture to the second page of results.

I'm not a fan of them trying to add a bunch of ai features, but I understand that it's in vogue at the moment, and they all seem to be opt in, so I'm just ignoring them.

I'll give it a 9/10 (gotta cut one point for the ai garbage), highly recommended as a search engine, and giving Google the boot is a wonderful bonus.

Gris

Picked up Gris on the Summer Steam Sale, and just finished it yesterday.

Absolutely beautiful art style, gameplay (love that you get to bring things back to life by singing!), and storyline. I almost cried at then end.

Also, seems like it was made for the Steam Deck.

It's getting a 10/10, will definitely be replaying in the near future.

Archiving

I've started to take offline archiving seriously over the past month. A combination of Tumblr and Twitter going full silo, as well as Youtube vids dissapearing from my playlists, and then just the general ephemeral nature of the Internet.

First step was adding more storage to my two main backup devices. I already had Resilio/Syncthing setup to keep things synced across those two devices, so once the new storage capacity was in place, just needed to add a few folders and away we go!

Backing up vids has so many options, I'm not going to go into what I use, it's changed just in the past month, and will probably change again.

But for websites and blogs, I played around with two tools: first I tried out NB and then Offpunk.

Offpunk is the winner for my needs, but NB is a very interesting option.

NB was easier to figure out for someone not terribly familiar with the terminal, so it was a good a starting place. And it does store snapshots of webpages, and allow you to browse stored sites, as well as having a whole bunch of note taking functionalities. However, the way it processed webpages for storage wasn't the best, certain parts would get cut off, and it doesn't even try to get images, which aren't necessary, but are sometimes useful to have.

Offpunk is only about storing websites for offline view, and also adds a syncing feature, which seems like it will be useful for blogs that get updated every once in a while. It also stores images, highly pixelated, but it's enough to give an idea of what the image is about. The way it browses through the synced sites is definitely smoother than NB as well. 10/10 for my purposes.

It also works with Gemini protocol, which is something I want to write more about, but I'll save that for the future.


Steam Deck Success

The final step is complete: I've got my Steam Deck setup as a full replacement for my phone. The last puzzle piece was getting an Android emulator working for those few apps I still need. After some research, seemed like just using the built in emulator from Android Studio was the best bet, and it works like a charm! I'm running MySudo for phone and texting on the emulator, and there's a few other apps I'll probably add eventually. Everything else I need either runs on SteamOS, or in a virtual box.

Only major problem I wasn't able to solve was gps navigation. My plan for that is just to turn my old phone into a dedicated gps device that'll live in my car. Won't be needing it for anything else anyway.

The reason for wanting to fully replace my phone, is functionality. The Steam Deck is a portable pc. I was already using it to replace my work laptop, it's a smaller device to transport between offices, and with a full dock+keyboard+mouse+monitor setup at each office, it's more enjoyable to use than a cramped laptop.

It's also an entertainment center, with most of my Steam library being playable, as well as my collection of media available over Jellyfin. I just keep a usb c to html cable in the bag, and it's ready to connect to any available screen.

But I will close with my final pain point, because it's not all skittles and beer. A physical keyboard and mouse for when I'm not docked. I haven't found a Bluetooth set that's easy enough to carry around in my bag, at least not yet. I'm sure I'll find one eventually, but the set I already had, and the one I recently purchased, are both too large. So that will be the next part of the quest, ever onward and up!


Lots of Things

I've been a bit of a lurker for the past few months. Things are always a bit insane during Lent for priests, and this year was no different.

Got a bunch of things to share, and figure I'll work backwords.

Easter

After all four of my Easter masses where finished, celebrated with a cigar and some scotch, then a nice steak dinner. Even shared a little of the steak with the cat (not pictured, the moment was too fleeting).

scotch and cigar

steak dinner

Tumblr

Found out that Tumblr is moving in the walled garden direction. Not sure when it started, but this popped up when I shared a post with a friend not on Tumblr. Not sure what I'm going to do about this, I really don't like it, initial thought is finding another place to publish stuff I find on Tumblr. I don't want to do that here, but I also hate the idea of starting up another social media thing somewhere.

tumblr is becoming a true hellsite

Music

Over a year ago I got rid of my subscription to Spotify, and started rebuilding my MP3 collection. Been using Bandcamp or ripping cds I can buy directly from the mucisian if possible, though I've had to get used cds or go through Amazon for a few things I couldn't find elsewhere.

Because of this I've switched to listen to music as an album, and that's been a paradigm shift. I used to build playlists around what I wanted to hear, now I'm directed by the artist to hear what they want to express.

My latest album purchase was Parts 1 by Xsodect, and I highly recommend checking it out. Chill yet exhilerating electronic music. Which I heard about in...

100R

...the March newsletter from Hundred Rabbits, an artist collective of two that sails around the Pacific ocean on a sailboat, making art, coding video games, and doing a bunch of other cool stuff. Someone on SSB mentioned them, and I fell down the rabbit hole (pun very much intended) of exploring all their stuff. Check out their website here, they're making some really cool things!

Future

I've got a bunch of half-written blog posts and projects and experiments that I want to get around to finishing soon. Looks like there will be a little free time to dedicate to fun stuff in the near future, but we'll see if that holds true!

Peace and Joy!

2023.04.10


The History and Aims of the Catholic University: An Overview

Link to this paper: https://davidbaunach.com/#history_and_aims_catholic_university

A 20ish page paper I wrote in grad school:

Abstract:
A broad historical and theological overview of the development of the Catholic university. This paper is framed as giving the aspects a Catholic university aims for. The writings on the subject by St John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, John Henry Cardinal Newman, Christopher Dawson, Helene Wieruszowski, Denis Lawton, and Peter Gordon are explored. Prominent themes include the relationship of faith and reason, the necessary universality of education, and the service the university provides to society.

The History and Aims of the Catholic University: An Overview

By Dcn. David Baunach

May 6th, 2016


Table of Contents:

The Catholic University: An Overview

Where should Jonny/Jill go to college?

St. John Paul II on the Catholic University

Benedict XVI's Lecture at Regensberg on Faith, Reason and the University

John Henry Cardinal Newman on The University

On the Article: Christopher Dawson and the Renewal of Catholic Education

The Medieval University by Helene Wieruszowski: A Brief Summary

Looking at the Development of the University from Medieval Roots Until The Enlightenment with: A History of Western Educational Ideas by Denis Lawton and Peter Gordon


The Catholic University: An Overview

There were two goals for this project. The first was to come to a greater understanding of the roots and development of the university system within the context of Catholic Europe. The second was to explore the objective of a Catholic University according to popes and other significant figures in the recent tradition. The overarching end of this project was that I would be able to answer the question of what a good Catholic University is, and be able to help someone pick out a university for their children to attend.

The plan of attack was straightforward: historical overviews and primary sources painted the picture of the medieval university up until the Enlightenment era, and works of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI gave us the main activities and aims we should hope to find in a Catholic University. The bibliography below gives the works read and referenced.

Historical Development: Medieval Roots to the Enlightenment

To find the roots of the university, we start with a value: the value of learning. When we go back to the beginnings we find that the seed of the university was a desire to learn things, and things that were not immediately practical (theology and philosophy spring to mind as wonderful examples). Students gathered around a master to learn. These early schools became increasingly popular in the Carolingian period, and started to be incorporated into monasteries. However, in the tenth and eleventh centuries the importance of these monastic schools began to wane as schools centered around cathedrals began to wax.

An important factor surrounding the rise of the cathedral schools, which would eventually become the university, was the desire for better educated clergy. This situation facilitated the rise in prominence of cathedral schools, and as the twelfth century came to a close, the size and capabilities of some of these schools had improved so much that they began to be recognizable as universities.

Through various power struggles between the masters and students and authorities (both secular and sacred), the structures we are familiar with were forged by the end of the thirteenth century. Guilds or departments for different fields of learning, a rector at the head of the university, and rights and rules of conduct for students and masters were all established. Thus as this early period drew to a close, and from the seventh century to the thirteenth we can see the conception, development, and birth of the university within the Western Catholic context.

Continuing on, we pick up the development again during the Renaissance. As we proceed, a new value enters the scene. That value of learning without immediate pragmatic benefit was still in play, but in this period we see the addition of the value of revolt and rebellion. This valuation is seeking things that are new and different: new methods, new ways of thinking, new things to think about. An offspring of this value was a revival of a classical value for learning: moral development. Education was to instill in the learner an upstanding moral character. This motivation continues through the Enlightenment. The value of revolt continues also as we move out of the Renaissance and into the period of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

This period wasn't really marked by any major developments, just an increasing level systematization. This is attributed to the Jesuits, who organized curriculums and implemented testing and examinations to promote competition in learning. And this brings us to the Enlightenment, where the value of revolt rapidly accelerates. Emphasis on the individual, the value of reason, and desire for scientific progress marked the educational motivations of this age.

We see these motivations up to today; and while it seems the moral motivation has dropped out of sight on the wider scale, we will see in the next section that this goal is forefront in the Catholic understanding of what the university should seek to provide.

The Catholic University: Popes and Thinkers on What a Catholic University Should Be

My method of study was to begin and end with papal teaching and thought on the university, and in between to look at the thought of some prominent Catholic thinkers on the subject. However, for our purposes we will begin with what I learned from those thinkers first, and then conclude with the two popes.

The first was John Henry Newman. I read a selection of his essays that touched on the university and its aims. His main thought came down to this: there is a universal desire among human beings to learn, and the university is the place to satisfy this desire. It is to be a place that has the fevered excitement of the exchange of ideas, but also a place of discipline and sober study. And he points to its very title as indicative of what should be studied there: everything! The university is to be a universal place.

The next Catholic thinker is Glenn Olsen, and I studied an essay of his that critiqued the state of Catholic university education in the United States. His main theme continues from Newman, he wants universality in university education. His critique centers around how this is not what happens at Catholic universities in the United States: their curriculums are narrow and stifled. Yet Olsen ends by pondering if perhaps we will continually be unable to reach the ideal.

St. John Paul II does not think this is the case. The work I studied was Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and not only does he present the ideal, but also institutes canons to guide universities in pursuing it. This ideal begins with the Gospel: a university is to find its identity in its Catholicity. A natural product of this identity will be an evangelizing aspect. The university, as a place of dialogue between the Church and the culture, is in a prime location to engage in the work of evangelization.

Catholicity and evangelization are vital, but St. John Paul II also lays out the primary mission of the university, which is threefold. It consists of the search for truth through research, the preservation of knowledge, and the communication of knowledge. In doing this, the university will exist for the good of society.

The search for truth ends up being his central focus. St. John Paul II argues that it is in the search for truth that the Catholic university will shine. The reason is that it knows the source of truth, while seeking for the truth. In searching they follow the way marked out for them by one they know.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Regensburg address, is also focused on the search for truth, but looks particularly at how this search is approached. For Benedict, the approach has to be one that takes into account faith and reason. His argument is that for reason to be fully accessed, faith is required, and for faith to be fully lived, reason is necessary. They are both needed, if only one or the other is used, any learning will turn in on itself and be self-destructive. Benedict then shows how both faith and reason are fully activated within the Christian worldview, and thus within a Catholic university, the integration of faith and reason is both possible and worthy of pursuit.

And now, we put it all together and get…


Where should Jonny/Jill go to college?

So you're sending your kid to college, what to do? Assuming you want to give your child the best start in this crazy world that you can give them, there is one question to consider: do you want to help them be a saint? If the answer is no, encourage them to pick a lucrative career path, get them into a school that will help them land the job, and your work is done. Hopefully they'll be grateful enough to care for you in your old age.

If you answered yes, then the journey will be long and arduous, but worthwhile. You obviously cannot force your child into sanctity, but like a good gardener you can tend the bed of their soul, encourage good growth, and cull the bad. Growth in sanctity is like the flowering of a rose, for though it grows from a thorny stem, its petals unfurl into a delicate blossom. Just so, though one's life is full of temptations and pain, the glory of God is made manifest amidst it all. This glory is accomplished by striving after perfection, by seeking to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. For the human person this happens by seeking perfection in every aspect of their life. All virtues are important, and among these lie the intellectual virtues and all connected with them. Discipline and wisdom, knowledge and persistence, among many others are as important as willing the good and avoiding the evil.

From this perspective, your child's education is not about getting them ready for a job, it's about aiding them in growth as a human being, which in turn aids their growth as a saint. God gave us intellectual capability so that we may glorify him by using and perfecting it, education is thus an act of worship and praise.

This education takes a certain form. As Catholics, we are privileged to be in a close relationship with the creator. We know the source of all truth, we have the perfect study partner in our educational endeavors. All avenues of knowledge are open to us: mathematics and psychology lead us to (and come from) God just as much as theology and philosophy. Everything is important, nothing is trivial.

And if your child engages in this great undertaking of perfecting the intellect, they can become saints who beget other saints. They may not be the next Aquinas or Edith Stein, but no intellectual endeavor is wasted. Even if they be just a Thérèse or Solanus Casey, everything they went through will have helped make them who they are.

Where to Send Them?

I hope to have convinced you that what your child learns in higher education is not the concern. What's more important is where and how. The place must not be one that falls into the trap of thinking that one field of knowledge is more important than the rest. This will happen to a certain extent at all schools, but if it is a matter of pride for that school to be narrow, it's best avoided.

The place must also clearly have the goal of helping its students to become good human beings. What I mean is that their goal must be learning and development in the student, seeking academic and intellectual perfection. Our ultimate goal for your child is sainthood, and while it would be ideal if the school shared this goal, at the very least they should be aiming for perfection in the intellectual sphere.

And that's really it. There's lots of other things you could look for, but if you find a place that revels in the universality of knowledge, and that strives for human excellence, then at least their heart is set on the right goal. Look for these things, grill any faculty you can to see if they are truly overarching goals of the institution, and above all pray during the whole process. Ask God to show you the way and he will. Ultimately, even if you do everything right, it's all up to God anyway, and when you drop your kid off at their new dorm it will be a leap of faith.


St. John Paul II on the Catholic University

This paper is a straightforward look at St. John Paul II's understanding and vision for the Catholic University. For a source, we look to his apostolic exhortation Ex Corde Ecclesiae, in which the saint laid out the objectives of Catholic Universities.

Before I read the exhortation, including the descriptive article “Catholic” before university seemed unnecessary. However, after reading Ex Corde I see it as neigh impossible to leave off. It is not enough to simply study about the university. Following the saint it seems best to explore the full thing, the institution in the noblest form, having the purpose of finding the whole truth. To study the university without the faith would be to study a small piece.

St. John Paul makes a big deal about Catholicity in this exhortation, no doubt as a clarion call to the institutions of his day to live up to their calling. I initially approached this exhortation looking for his understanding of universities as a whole, so for the most part I did not find any specifics worthy of record. As a whole St. John Paul was saying that the whole activity of a Catholic University is to be imbued with the spirit of the Gospel. The university is to express this within the community, in an internal way, as well as in an external way. It is to follow the Gospel in how it runs itself and in how it interacts with the world.

That's the gist of it, and at least a good third of the document is concerned with the thoroughly “Catholic” aspect of the Catholic University. That being said, there was one part of it that I found interesting and worthy of note. Towards the end of Part I, St. John Paul speak about the Evangelizing aspect of the Catholic University. As a “living institutional witness,” the university plays a powerful role in the evangelizing efforts of the Church as a whole. Because of its formative education of students, and its ability to dialogue with culture, the Catholic University can and should be a powerful evangelizing agent.

Besides the explicit Catholicity of the Catholic University, the rest of the document lays out what the university should look like as a whole. St. John Paul states that the fundamental mission of a university is threefold: the search for truth through research, the preservation of knowledge, and the communication of knowledge. The ultimate reason for this mission being the good of society. He ends up saying quite a bit about the search for truth in the rest of the letter, and a little bit about communication of knowledge, but doesn't say nearly anything about the preservation of knowledge. (I guess he thinks libraries are doing a great job and don't need any help)

In regards to the search for truth, St. John Paul makes clear in the introductory paragraph that the Catholic University's privilege and goal is the certainty of knowing the font of truth, and at the same time seeking the truth. This puts the unattainable position of the Catholic University into sharp relief against that of any other university or college. The Catholic University knows and is in relationship with the source of all truth. Thus, in it’s search for truth, it is not limited, it's looking for everything:

It does this without fear but rather with enthusiasm, dedicating itself to every path of knowledge, aware of being preceded by him who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life"(8), the Logos, whose Spirit of intelligence and love enables the human person with his or her own intelligence to find the ultimate reality of which he is the source and end and who alone is capable of giving fully that Wisdom without which the future of the world would be in danger. (Paragraph 4)

In exaltation of the Catholic University, I think St. John Paul is saying that not only is the Catholic University in an unparalleled position to find the truth, but additionally it also has the burden of making use of this privileged position!

For if the Catholic University is to be fruitful, it is to search and communicate. Much has been given to this institution, and much is expected. Seeking the whole of truth allows the Catholic University to aid the Church in dialoguing with every culture. Seeking the whole of truth allows the Catholic University to guide and initiate new technological and scientific developments. Seeking the whole of truth allows the Catholic University to integrate all knowledge.

The exhortation ends with a list of general norms to be added to the Code of Canon Law. St. John Paul II laid out a vision, and put it into effect. He has called the Catholic University to a high standard, and in the final conclusion, he prays that they will live up to it through God's help.

Finishing the exhortation, it is clear that in scope it is abstract. It gives goals to achieve, vices to avoid, and general paths to follow. Specifics remain to be put into place. The adventure of reaching these goals in differing cultural and political climates is left to administrators, teachers, and students. The community of the university will have an exciting and harrowing time configuring their identity within these norms and goals. But as with all things in the Christian life, that is as it should be [-:


Benedict XVI's Lecture at Regensberg on Faith, Reason and the University

Like a planet locked in orbit around the sun, Benedict's thinking in this lecture is locked in orbit around one theme: the interplay of faith and reason. From the beginning he hints at it, by the middle he is showing its importance, and at the end he argues why it must happen. Faith and reason is the sun.

Benedict's argument stemming from this theme is that for reason to be fully accessed, faith is required, and for faith to be fully lived, reason is necessary. Reason on its own is the impulse to give credence only to science, which of course leaves out the majority of human questions and understanding. By faith on its own he means a kind of fundamentalism that draws from a source without questioning or seeking to go beyond an initial understanding of the source.

The addition of faith to reason allows room for reason to breath. Questions become accessible, even if they are not ultimately answerable. The same thing happens with the introduction of reason into faith: it is able to look at itself, analyze its source and understand its intricacies. He sets this out as the ideal, and shows how it can be found within the Christian tradition.

Starting with St. Paul's turning away from Asia and towards Macedonia in his evangelical journey, Benedict argues that the integration of the biblical faith with Hellenistic reasoning entered into the Christian tradition. For example the very term and understanding of logos has had a huge impact on Christianity.

To sum up thus far: Benedict has a theme, faith and reason; he has an argument, that both are needed for the full development of either; and finally he shows how both are present within Christianity. He has a reason for laying all of this out. The splintering of faith and reason that has happened, especially in more recent times, has led to an inability of cultures and religions to dialogue with each other.

Benedict states, really without need of argument, that the situation of miscommunication between cultures and religions is dire. He closes with a sense of urgency: faith and reason are needed to salve the situation. And this is exactly what the university is set up for.

This is the part that really affects this project. He's saying the same thing as St. John Paul, but he has added a sense of urgency. And though he does not say this reintegration of faith and reason can only happen at a university, he does seem to say that it is the appropriate place.


John Henry Cardinal Newman on The University

[Newman: What is a University?

In this essay, Newman comes to the conclusion that the University is the place where everything happens! All the schools, all the areas of inquiry, all the arts, all the sciences: in a word, everything. At the risk of being sacrilegious, Newman seems to be saying the University is to be the source and summit of humanity. Where everything comes from, and where it all returns to.

He briefly distinguishes what the atmosphere of the University should be like. He paints the picture of a symposium or colloquium, excitement and ideas bubbling and boiling. But that's not all. That excitement and feverish activity is a part, but not the whole. There is also serious and sober study, disciplined and sustained.

Part of this essay attempts to indicate the necessity of the University as a place where student-teacher interaction can take place. To back this up, Newman argues that for someone to seriously advance in a subject they will seek out, and indeed need, interaction with a master. And while I couldn't agree more for practical and concrete subjects, I wonder if the advances of our age has made this obsolete for certain pursuits.

For example, I wanted to learn how to paint way back when. I didn't have access to classes or anything like that. I read books, articles, watched videos online, and I slowly learned. I am not at complete mastery, but I could be if I continued my study. Now in this case it seems that an instructor would have certainly sped up the process. But I think all that would be saved is time, the goal could be reached by either road.

The above was not a major point, but the Internet and readily available tutorials and other resources has made his point a little more convoluted and clouded. That being said, on the whole this essay serves to impart an ideal, and that ideal is the University as everything. It is to be “The School of Universal Learning.” Learners and teachers from every pursuit.

[Newman: Free Trade in Knowledge: The Sophists

This chapter/essay was not what I expected. It was basically a long defense against the naysayers of founding the University in Ireland. His defense is simple: build it and they will come. Knowledge and wisdom are things that everyone wants. He brings up examples of ancient schools in Athens and Rome, how people would come just to learn, not for money or power or wealth, just to learn from a master.

Newman brings up something I forgot to mention in the first section: that the university is like a metropolis: it is a place people go to for the sake of itself. They go to become better. I think the point he is trying to make is that no matter what they do it will be enough, for people will come to learn, and they can grow over time. A final point that was little more than an aside: Newman argues that this was a good time to start a university. He looked at the universities founded in the middle ages and pointed out how they needed protectors at times, royalty that provided security in the face of adversity. Newman points out that the place of the university is so much better understood and respected that this isn't the case anymore. There has never been a better time to erect a university.

[Newman: The Strength and Weakness of Universities: Abelard

I read this chapter/essay for obvious reasons [-:

This essay contains a simple argument: the very strength of a university, which Newman already outlined (that it is the universal desire of humanity to grow in knowledge and wisdom) can also be its downfall. While he doesn't state so explicitly, I believe the downfall of Abelard that Newman is highlighting stems from a lack of community. Abelard saw himself in an unattainable position, and nobody ever succeeded in breaking him out of it. He had many faults, but because of people desiring knowledge, he always had a flock of students. Basically, the University will be a place where this type of sin can easily spread, and so it must be watched for and fought.


On the Article: Christopher Dawson and the Renewal of Catholic Education

This article by Glenn Olsen looks at Christopher Dawson and his thoughts on Catholic education as a means to reach a conclusion on the question of choosing a curriculum for Catholic institutions. Dawson held the Chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Harvard, and apparently commented much on the state of Catholic education, and what it could become.

He was a critic of many trends, particularly single-mindedness, especially in regards to: focusing on certain classics to the exclusion of other classics, thinking older is better, and focusing on Thomism to the exclusion of most everything else in philosophy. But he also had a goal: “...the central insight of all Dawson's work was that religion is at the heart of culture—that culture is embodied religion—and that the most obvious subject for historical study is the origin, growth, maturity, and perhaps death of cultures.”

His criticism can be seen as a critique of narrowness, his goal as being one of breadth and depth. Instead of looking at threads of the tapestry, he wanted to take in the whole of the tapestry, and the weavers that put it together. He wanted education to include the whole picture.

Historical context was a big part of this. The importance of history being that it gives necessary context to everything else. Without it education is self-centered and un-illuminative. Looking back at the history of Christianity as being the heart of a developing culture through the ages: what this was and how it happened would be the prime subject of study for Dawson. He saw the study of the Christian culture as more important than studying antiquity, or any other individual thing. History as a series of cultures was how he saw the history of the world, and he wanted this model to replace the status quo.

It seems like he had ideas similar to those of JPII: Catholic education should be something different. It should be asking bigger questions, seeking deeper wisdom, not content with the way things are.

In summation, Dawson saw the present state of affairs as a watered-down curriculum from ages past. Lost was everything that had made it great, and it remained a mediocre and decaying corpse. But the main point for Olsen is that perhaps the ideal is out of reach. Reaching for one thing precludes reaching for another, and in the end we need to go for what is best and live with the consequences.


The Medieval University by Helene Wieruszowski: A Brief Summary

A prefatory note: this summary is of the first 50 pages, and is looking for a general understanding of the beginnings of the university as an institution. The author begins with an obvious fact. This period we are looking into didn't keep meticulous records of every event, thus we will not be able to easily see the development of the university. What she does intend to show is the events and developments that we do know, and what picture this paints of the early days of the university.

Helene states that the university grew out of an age, it was an expression of an era where learning was valued beyond its immediate practical application. It started simply, with students gathering around a master. Charlemagne provided an impetus at the first, and monasteries had a promising start in opening schools. But in the post-Carolingian era things shifted away from the monasteries. The schools centered around the cathedral became the focus.

With the reforms in the background, the schools set up at the cathedrals were there for the benefit of training and educating clergy. Around this time we also see a surge in the amount of wandering scholars. The ease of travel and the model of education of students gathered around a teacher made it easy for scholars to wander from place to place.

Towards the end of the twelfth century though, things started to solidify. The heyday of the wandering scholar was drawing to a close. The three significant universities rose to prominence during this time. The numbers of students and masters increased, everything was booming. But we are not yet at the point where they can be fully considered universities, they were still in the embryonic stage. It was towards the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries that the university would come to birth.

Helene ties this development with the rise in importance of the masters. By flexing their muscles by suspending lectures, threatening to leave Paris, closing the school, etc…, the masters were able to gain more and more privilege from both royalty and the Church. This lead to the formation of familiar structures: guilds or departments for different fields, a rector at the head of the university, and so on. By the time we reach the end of the thirteenth century, the great universities would appear much more familiar to us than their twelfth century origins.

Some other significant facts that I failed to include within the chronological order are regional differences, importance of dialectics, and heretical themes and their end. Helene goes over regional differences briefly, showing how Italy was a little ahead of the game in having schools set up before the Carolingians. Germany was the next significant player, taking the lead in scholastic development until the middle of the eleventh century, after which France rose to the task and carried the torch.

The importance of dialectics is not to be underestimated in the nascent universities. It played a part in the wandering of scholars, and a greater part in the milieu that found value in education and reasoning. And finally, we have heretical tendencies. Various heretical threats raised their ugly heads in the twelfth century with the universities. What followed was a back-and-forth fight of bans being made, masters ignoring them, new bans, more ignoring, and it goes on. What came out of this fight was the movement of making philosophy (the usual culprit in the heretical themes) into the handmaid of theology. At the heart of this movement we see the likes of Bonaventure and Aquinas.


Looking at the Development of the University from Medieval Roots Until The Enlightenment with: A History of Western Educational Ideas by Denis Lawton and Peter Gordon

Beginning with the chapter on the Renaissance, we find our author painting a picture of this time period as one of rebellion against the recent past in favor of the more distant past. The trivium and quadrivium were being looked at closely and critically. Additions were made to the traditional approach in the forms of literature and physical education. We also see a change in the motivation of education, morality enters the stage as a reason for learning. An example of all these developments would be St. Thomas More, who for the sake of literature studies insisted on the study of Greek, advocated a strict rule of life (part of which was manual labor), and urged learning as a lifelong endeavor. Overall, the Renaissance is marked by an emphasis on critical thought and a wide field of learning.

The next period of time would be the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. A pertinent piece of information for this period is the arrival of the printing press. Books became cheaper, and ideas were able to spread faster. On the Reformation side of the continent, these ideas were a movement towards mass literacy, because the Bible needed to be able to be read by all. On the Counter-Reformation side of the equation we see some developments particularly spurred on by the Jesuits. The first is a systematic organization of curriculum, and the second the implementation of testing and examinations which were used to promote competition in learning. It's good to know who I have to thank for that [-:

This brings us to the enlightenment. The themes of this age are an increased emphasis on the individual, valuing of reason, and desire for scientific progress. Looking at the picture up to this point, this age seems to be the institutionalization of rebellion as a method of learning. Nothing was to be safe from criticism, everything was up for grabs. Something of interest for this project would be the phenomena of salons and societies. These groupings of like-minded individuals happened outside of any formal learning structure, and yet much learning happened within their confines.

In conclusion, this whole period of time is where we can find the emphasis on moral formation within education that I was searching for. It happens early on with the Humanists of theRenaissance, and was seemingly cemented firmly into the Catholic model under the influence of the Jesuits.


Bibliography

Benedict XVI. “Lecture of the Holy Father at Regensburg: Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections.” 2006. Accessed April 24, 2016. http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_be n-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg.html.

John Paul II. “Ex Corde Ecclesiae: Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul Ii On Catholic Universities.” 1990. Accessed April 24, 2016. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_ 15081990_ex-corde-ecclesiae.html.

Lawton, Denis, and Peter Gordon. A History of WesternEducational Ideas. Woburn Education Series. London: Woburn Press, 2002.

Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University. Rethinking the Western Tradition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Thorndike, Lynn. University Records and Life in the Middle Ages. New York: Columbia Press, 1971.

Wieruszowski, Helene. The Medieval University. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1966.

Clayton, David. The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education,and Inspiration for Family, School and College. Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2015.

Holmes, Robert M. The Academic Mysteryhouse: The Man, the Campus, and Their New Search for Meaning. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1970.

Leach, Arthur Francis. Educational Charters and Documents 598 to 1909. New York: AMS Press, 1971.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Idea of the University: A Reexamination. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

Riedl, John O. University in Process, Aquinas Lecture 30. Milwaukee: Marquette Univ Press, 1965.

Ridder-Symoens, Hilde ed., A History of the Universityin Europe. Vol. 1 and 2, Universities in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Tejerina, Fernando, ed. The University: An Illustrated History. Madrid: Turner, 2011.


Getting Started with Manyverse

Here's a walkthrough on how to get started on Manyverse, a peer-to-peer, offline first social media.
1. Download the app, you cannot have the same acount on multiple devices, so if you want it on your phone and computer, go ahead and download it on both, but be ready to setup seperate accounts (people usually name one account 'joe smith phone', and the other 'joe smith computer')
I highly recommend starting with your computer account, the computer app is more dependable.
2. Setup your account. Everything will be empty, don't worry, that's normal. Setup your profile, upload a profile pic, write a description of yourself.
3. Now, let's get you connected. go to https://ssbroom.techpriesthub.xyz/ in your browser on the same device, on the top right part of screen, right next to 'sign in,' you'll see 'create new invite.' Follow the prompts and connect.
4. On your connections tab, click through to see the room, and start following everyone you see online.
5. And now we wait...
6. Unfortunately, people need to follow you back for you to connect to the network (this is a pain point, and I haven't found a good way to get around it).
7. In the meantime, make an introduction post, and use the hashtage #new-people and #newhere to get noticed.
7. I'll try to follow back accounts that join the room at least once a day, so check back after a few days, it'll start downloading posts once we're connected, then start following some people, liking, commenting, all the usual stuff!
Advanced things to try:
A. Increase replication hops: go to settings, and increase replication hops to 3 or 4 in order to load more accounts to your device. This will require more memory (each account you can view is stored on your device, which means it's accessible offline, but it also means you can take up a lot of memory if you're not careful), so you can also click through to storage, and increase the storage limit to whatever is good for that device.
B. Find other open room servers to connect to here
c. Connect to pub servers: if you want to meet a lot of people really quickly, a pub server is the way to do that. I'll leave it up to you to do more research and decide if it's something you want to do. Search terms to get you moving in the right direction are: 'ssb' 'pub' 'server'. SSB is the protocol Manyverse is built on, stands for Secure Scuttlebutt. Pub servers have a few drawbacks, but if you want to find other people fast, it's the best way.


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: the Experiment: the Follow-Up

A couple weeks ago, I started an experiment:

Everything I need to survive in a bag (including a towel, of course).
My phone lives in the bag, not in my pocket. I take it out of the bag when I want to use it, and put it back when I'm done.
The bag also contains my tablet, a sketchbook, couple of books, and some other odds and ends (and of course, the towel).
End goal is to keep the phone on the same level as everything else: a tool, which I use for specific jobs, and then put back in its place when I'm done.

The idea was, I'd try it out for at least two weeks, even if I hated it, in order to get some better data than just trying it out for a few days.
However, after just two days, I decided it was no longer an experiment. I would never go back.
I used a backpack for the bag, and that extra step of having to dig around the backpack to find the phone (I drop it in, and it disappears, just like it should) provides insulation from the immediacy the phone used to represent in my life.
I had often surmised the availability that a cell phone offered was radical, i.e., not natural. It made me a slave to others. Everyone I typically interact with expects calls and text to be returned within the hour, because that's what they would do.
But just having the phone not in my pocket, evaporated any compulsion I had to answer right away. The anxiety of being "available," melted away.
And then there was the other aspect of having a tiny computer at my beck and call. That itch to look things up, scroll through media, revel in distraction.
But again, just that little bit of removal from immediate proximity, of having to dig the phone out of the backpack, helped immensely to curb that obsession.
It made the phone a tool. When I need it for something I fish it out and use it for that task, then it goes away. Same as the sketchbook, the tablet, and the various other things I keep in the bag.
So overall, a successful experiment. I doubt it'll be the same silver bullet for everyone, but I'm really thankful it helped me find some balance and peace in my digital life.
One final note though: to stop me from reflexively putting the phone in my pocket, especially at first, I figured I should have something else take its place. I decided on two things: my pocket watch, and my pocket knife. I had carried both these things during high school, but got my first cell phone shortly after graduation. I ended up ditching the watch, since the phone told time, as well as ditching the knife, since I didn't want to scratch up the phone.
Having these two tools back has been amazing. With the pocket watch back, I ditched the wristwatch, which always felt like it literally shackled me to a clock. And the pocket knife comes in handy way more than I expected.
In closing: we should have never taken the phone off the wall.


Saint Maker Whitepaper

Executive Summary

Building a framework (the Saint Maker) to form evangelists, meant to encompass all aspects of life, making use of any technologies now available, and those developed in the future. The tool for developing the Saint Maker will be a university. The university will consist of teaching companies where students work to cover tuition. The three-fold reason for this model is: to assist in the university's mission by being more inter-connected with daily life, providing various benefits to students, and to help reach financial self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.

Necessity

Problem: how to evangelize the whole world?

Solution: form faith-filled, hard-working Catholics. They will evangelize the world.

Problem: how to form these Catholics?

Solution: through a framework of formation that catechizes praxatically and formally.

Problem: present frameworks (parish catechesis, Catholic schools [including home schools], Catholic universities, and even parishes in general), have a low success rate compared to their failures.

Solution: our present methods are too fragmented. A true solution encompasses all aspects of a person's life. As God meets people at all times in their lives, the solution must be present at all times and in all places as well. We need a way to connect everything: parish life (liturgy, prayer, charity), family life, catechesis, learning, social life, financial life, business life, family life.

Problem: there presently exists no way to extrinsically connect all these things outside of the individual them-self (who obviously connects all these things by being the point of conflux).

Solution: technology for a complete solution is not yet achieved, but using existent technological means, a framework could be made that begins to bridge all those areas of life.

That is our goal.

A way to connect prayer and work, family and friends, liturgy and learning. All within an explicitly and overwhelmingly Catholic context. To form disciples of all nations.

Nexus

The overarching goal is to use any present and future technological means to create a framework for Catholic life that promotes sanctity.

The task is the same as it's always been, but new tools to aid in accomplishing that task are continually developed.

A full answer of what the Saint Maker will look like (this nexus that impregnates the whole life of a Catholic with Catholicity), is not yet clear.

To find clarity on how it needs to be designed, the first step is to develop a place for the incubation of this nexus, and that place is a university.

University

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, the Catholic Church knows how to run universities.

This one will have a goal: making a community that has both the capability and the resources to develop the Saint Maker.

Since we will be building a new university, there are aspects that must be considered to make it the ideal incubation chamber for our task. The typical divide from academia and everyday life, is not helpful in regards to the goal of this university. In bridging the two, we can build a university that is better equipped to design and build the Saint Maker, as well as provide benefits to students not found in a typical university setting.

University Life

A student begins by applying online. This first step is even a class, as the application is a tutorial in how to effectively fill out applications for employment. Part of that application is applying for your first job in the university.

If accepted, follow up tutorials are begun to prepare for a job interview, which will also be a teaching opportunity. Concurrently, tutorials are begun for placement in a dorm, which is carried out exactly the same as applying for an apartment.

With acceptance to the university, a final job offer, and a dorm “rented,” the student is ready to move in.

The first semester is practicum oriented: classes in everything you need to be a successful adult in this world (faith being most important, so classes in how to live a saintly life, but also money management, time management, how to study, how to learn, how to think effectively, how to keep a house, etc).

Towards the end of the first semester, begin transition into formal education. Making use of online and in-person classes (both developed by the university but, especially initially, also from other universities), and also other programs for blue collar work (apprenticeships and certificate programs).

During first semester, the student will apply for a mentor. This mentor will help them through the growing pains of the first semester (which will be substantial, especially in comparison with your typical university experience [due to essentially needing to act like an adult from day one]), and should also function as a very basic spiritual advisor.

There will be no separation between academia and the rest of the world, this will be exactly like the real world. There will be no breaks in the student's job, they’ll need to negotiate time off to visit their families.

The university will also function as it's own micro-economy. Students will be paying their way by working, but a profit-sharing system will help encourage diligent work, help them learn money management, and further stimulate the local economy.

Our hypothetical student will continue into their second year, able at any time to apply for a different job or a different dorm. University life is year-round, both to better integrate into real life, but also to avoid any difficulties in staffing university jobs.

As the student approaches the end of year two, it's their turn to become a mentor. Necessary training will happen during the year, and the student will learn how to sort through applications as they pick their mentee.

The student continues until they complete their formal education program, at which point, they should have all the necessary skills to move easily into the real world.

At this point it also seems another mentorship program can be available, with students studying Human Resources helping recent graduates find and secure a job.

Embryonic Saint Maker

The one thing that travels with most people throughout their day, is their phone. It is not a perfect end goal of what the Saint Maker is trying to accomplish, but it’s a start.

Growing along with the university, will be a mobile application, that will be the start of the Saint Maker. It will be a type of digital parish.

A place for prayer, community, challenge to conversion, and comfort in times of distress.

It can also serve dual purpose as an interface for students with the university. Again, a further inter-connection between different aspects of life.

Road Map

The university, with a set goal of developing a formational nexus spanning the entirety of human life, must be designed to facilitate achieving that goal. And in the interest of treating funding as something intrinsic to this mission, the university must be self-sustaining almost from the beginning, and moving as quickly as possible to generate the resources to pursue it's goal.

With this in mind, and seeing the examples of colleges that are set up so that all students work to earn their tuition, it seems the best model to follow (graduate with a degree and a resume).

The university will essentially be made up of teaching “companies.” This should be beneficial for the students, as well as providing a way to begin from nothing, and grow organically, without a large initial funding drive.

Phase One

Step 1.

Web Development Teaching Company: immediate goal of building the online tools needed for the fledgling university, also providing a place to work for the founding students. Goal is to be self-sufficient as soon as possible.

Step 2.

Food Truck/Restaurant Teaching Company: first step towards a physical location (since the Web Development Teaching Company can exist completely online), can be run by a small crew, and provide jobs for few students.

Step 3.

Begin Retreat Center: end goal is to have a fully functioning retreat center run by a Hospitality Teaching Company, but at this point construction will be begun on parts of the retreat center to provide housing for students as the physical location of the university is built up.

Step 4.

Hospitality Teaching Company: manages the embryonic Retreat Center/dorms, to be expanded as soon as the retreat center is fully operational. (potential for properties in the area to be purchased and run as AirBNB's to expand company and provide more revenue)

Step 5.

Restaurant: end goal of the Food Truck is to establish a full Restaurant, again to provide jobs for students, but also food for the students and faculty of the growing campus of the university.

Step 6.

Full Retreat Center: phase one will be complete when the Retreat Center is fully constructed, students have been moved to new housing, and it is run by the Hospitality Teaching Company.

Step 7.

Construction Teaching Company: to facilitate building the campus, as well as providing jobs for students, but ultimately to build the center of the university campus:

Step 8.

Build Church: to be the visual beating heart of the university. Not rushed, planned carefully, built to last, and absolutely beautiful for the glory of God and the spreading of the Gospel.

Step 9.

Build Library: not just a building, and not a typical library. It is to be a place fulfilling the usual tasks of a library, both online and in it's physical location. But it is also to be a laboratory which will work on the Saint Maker.

Phase Two:

At this point, with the university off to a good start, it will be time to begin committed work on the Saint Maker. All the tools will be in place, but from this vantage point it is difficult to know how the work will proceed. Only God knows how long it will take to get to this point, and we will leave it up to Him to direct the work when the time comes.

Concurrently, the university should continue to grow, with new teaching companies and other additions to the campus.

Get Involved

Pray for the success of this undertaking!

Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Saint_Maker

Join our Discord: https://discord.com/invite/PGcbfEx8hz


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Reports


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Shepherd Living

A nomadic shepherd in the USA

A gentleman who lives as a nomadic shepherd, traveling around with a few dairy sheep, doing odd jobs for farmers, bartering sheep milk for food and other things.

The video is a great look into Aaron Fletcher's life, but the website is where it's at! He's got some interesting inventions, and some wonderful activism work for the homeless.

Video: Homeless shepherd shares hunter-gatherer diet & survival tips

and

Aaron Fletcher's website

Tiny House Video

A tiny house vid that touches on a lot of topics

I've watched this video (even though it's a whole hour) at least 4 times. It's a walkthrough of Brad “Darby” Kittel's tiny house building operation, filmed in 2014. This eccentric gentleman has a wealth of knowledge on the materials he salvaged, sustainability and resource stewardship, house building methodologies, and whole bunch of other stuff.

Major thoughts prompted by this video: necessity of living small, keeping minimal possessions, which leads to a richer life in human interaction, spending as much time outdoors as possible, seeking a depth of knowledge in your field of expertise, and being creative to avoid government overreach [-:

Tiny Texas Houses' "Willy Wonka" on making magic reusing wood

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Contact


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Social Media

Email

I'll get an address listed here eventually

Wanna Support My Hobbies?

I don't really need help, but if you want to express appreciation, here's my Kofi

Or for BTC, here's my PayNym: PM8TJihgqgNnTpjsuBXihbuwXeLGJDuTpKikLpwy6z66LFRVmAJzSPa3vMnGMbrv6sELZYdWRv3sU7srujo3m4j2e1g8y5sWSJYhb595uLATs5KY7AzS

Or, if you're really sneaky, here's my XMR address: 8BvWRtnKm9rHGJAcShMQzp4N96EFJ3mtwSZ3ReBAWBDU17h2rFx6yxaBqZmxLiW3RDUpRmoy2dgo1EbAY3JJaGDX6BLL9Y3


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Store

If I ever have things to sell, they will be here



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Here are some links I think are cool:

The Saint Maker

100 Rabbits

Ellie's Notes

André Staltz Blog

j3s.sh

Offpunk

Agregore

RangerMauve

NIGHTEN

nix

techypriest

Andre Garzia

Ploum

theSam.Zone

Matthew Lorentz

makeworld

moddedBear

Control Alt Delete

Paul McBride

Matt Brown

Sven Luijten

Eric S. Raymond

123homefree

Jade

lunacb

Forever

marginalia

Mick

Kratky Method

ch3ngl0rd

xxiivv

wiwi blog

Robin

smolweb

Alex Schroeder

Melanocarpa

Greta Goetz

Nick Tauro Jr.

webring.xxiivv

scottnesbitt


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