Mass Lector prep notes, part 2

March 28, 2018 – 8:29 am

This is taken from a series of emails from February 2017; see part 1 here or the eventual translation notes (which include the original readings).

Next installment of lector prep notes: reading in the car (or train, or bus, or waiting for a meeting to start, or… I do not schedule in extra time for this, this is all stolen moments)

I’ve had the handwritten (and thus pseudo-chunked) of the readings in my purse for the past few days now. This stage is a long one for me — it’s reading and absorbing the Scriptures. It usually ends up with me memorizing them… sort of. Not memorizing the words, but memorizing the meanings.

I’ve read enough cognitive science research to know that we remember things better when we try to remember them (and then check and correct) than when we simply look at them and try to remember, so I always start *without* the paper, by trying to remember what… the readings… were about. (Actual first attempts, here — with absolutely no shame, because this is what it looks like when anyone without an eidetic memory starts.)

Reading 1: From Sirach. Something about following God’s law; that’s the big theme and it’s important. Also that God does not make exceptions on that; he doesn’t tell some people “yeah, you can sin.”

Psalm: …yay following God’s law, it makes me happy? Probably “blessed” and “delighted” are words in there… the Psalms use those words a lot.

Reading 2: Paul telling people about God’s… he doesn’t use the word “law,” I don’t think. But it’s something like “I know this stuff, you know this stuff, this is God’s stuff, the folks in charge are clueless and so they killed Jesus.” Also he quotes Isaiah on “eye has not seen, ear has not heard” but I don’t know why.

So yeah! You can see that my first attempt understanding of these is not terribly mature — I don’t understand these readings very well; I don’t remember what they mean, I don’t know what they link to, I only have vague blobs of ideas that “following God’s commandments is important” and “you should learn these things and not be clueless about them.”

But notice that I actually have some knowledge of what I’m missing (“why did Paul quote Isaiah?”) and now have targeted stuff to check and look up. And also notice that by starting with the meanings (and not the words), I focus on the themes that link across the readings! And that I’m not stuck in the English — that I’m going for conceptual understanding first, and pondering that! I deliberately try to paraphrase when I write these notes — even if I can remember the exact English words, I’ll say or write out paraphrases in parallel, to make sure my understanding is deep and not just parroting.

So now, after I work from memory as much as possible… I now go back and look at the readings and fill in a more detailed understanding of what I missed (for instance, the first reading has the theme that you can individually choose to follow God’s law under any circumstances; it’s your choice — that’s a HUGE idea in there that I didn’t touch in my first rendering). And I talk with God about what things might mean, and flag stuff that I’m not sure about, or that flags my attention (in the second reading, it says that God did these things for our glory — wait, not his glory, or… general glory, but our glory, for us? Oh my gosh, *our* glory! )

My notes/thoughts/attempts become progressively more detailed as time goes by, and as my understanding of the readings deepens and they soak not just into my brain, but into all of me. It’s really a lot like very small continuous background-process Lectio, for me. This process, the reading-understanding-praying process… I spend the most time on this one.

I did not write up the third part, which is the “actual translation part” (i.e. going from whatever mix of languages I use as source texts… into ASL) — but that’s the part most people fixate on, and I’m trying to specifically write about the stuff around it. For a glimpse at my process, you can see the eventual translation notes (which include the English versions alongside the ASL gloss/notes) and look for how this process has informed it.

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  2. Mar 28, 2018: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » Mass Lector prep notes, part 1

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