Schola as scavenger hunt

After many years in school, it was jarring and liberating to learn that the Latin schola, i.e. “school,” meant “leisure” or “free time.” That memory prompts me to see retirement as a scavenger hunt, a free time/schola activity. Not every scholar is a retiree, but (hopefully) a retiree is a scholar–a person on a scavenger hunt.

Yesterday morning, Richard Rohr referred to the biblical tent of meeting (holy place) as necessarily “outside the camp,” which gave the prophets freedom to use their imaginations to dissent from the way things were “inside the camp.” Rohr pointed readers to Walter Brueggemann’s comment: “Because the totalism [that is, the system] wants to silence, banish, or eliminate every such unwelcome [prophetic] intrusion, the tricky work is to find standing ground outside the totalism from which to think the unthinkable, to imagine the unimaginable, and to utter the unutterable.”

The scavenger hunt was on. I found the book. More about that tomorrow. For now, a question from Rohr: How might we maintain that same sense of prophetic freedom outside the contemporary political and religious “encampments” of our day while avoiding the temptation to become our own defended camp?

From “Schola et Labora,” Michael J. Naughton and James P. Shea, Prime Matters, December 4, 2020

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