1) “Maybe it’s time we tell you,” the Atlantic seems to be saying, just more than a week after the world seemed to turn upside-down, “that we humans haven’t always believed in progress. To the contrary, it’s a rather new idea.” In Joel Mokyr’s essay from yesterday, “Progress Isn’t Natural,” our optimism towards human endeavors and scientific discoveries is at odds with what before could be described as “ancestor worship,” a feeling of due respect for tradition and classical texts prior to the Enlightenment:
After 1600, Europeans developed scientific instruments that allowed them to see things the ancient writers could never…
1. Awesome, awesome story about a funky gospel music guitarist in the Atlanta area named Don Schanche, who also happens to be white. The Bitter Southerner published Don’s story, which gives a beautiful picture of racial reconciliation happening not on some abstract or systemic level, but interpersonally, on-the-ground, as a fruit of the gospel. The message which reconciled Don to his own faith is the same message of welcome and acceptance that he received from those within these little, nowhere churches where he played.
I learned how to find the key when a singer jumps into a song without warning, how…
In honor of this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature–couldn’t resist expanding/doubling the length:
Call me a heretic, but I consider Bob Dylan to be something of a prophet. The man not only sees the world with astounding clarity and verticality, he shares that vision with others in ways that are as luminous as they often are perplexing. And he’s done so without compromise or deference to fashion. Well, at least, minimal deference to fashion (exhibit A, right). Put it down to having been transfigured.
Nowhere is this more evident than in his work from the 1980s, a period unfairly…
A year and a half ago I wrote a post on Mockingbird about Thomas Kinkade, the prosperous “Painter of Light,” mostly responding to a then recent article highlighting his death due to a drug and alcohol overdose. I attempted to offer a thoughtful interpretation of Kinkade, his art, his unfortunate demise, and the Evangelical embrace of his work—how I see all of these things as interrelated. Some people disagreed, and others even regarded me as being arrogant about art and taste.
Admittedly, what I wrote was tongue-in-cheek at points. I’ve never respected Kinkade’s art, so I poked some fun at his expense, which in retrospect may have been…
We’re only just beginning to roll out the clips from our pair of Spring Conferences. Here’s the next installment from Tyler – same name but not the (exact) same talk as the Dylan-centric one DZ gave in New York a couple weeks later. Enjoy:
As per usual, we’re making the recordings available at no charge; we only ask that those who were not able to attend this year *consider* tossing something in the hat to help cover the cost of the event. Download links are followed by an in-line player for each session. The main sessions were also videotaped, and we’ll be rolling the clips out gradually over the next few weeks.
Twenty-five years ago, Rick Abath, a hippie Berklee College of Music dropout, was working the night shift at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Two men dressed as Boston Police officers asked Abath to let them in. When Abath did, they informed Abath that it was a robbery, covered his eyes and mouth in duct tape, and handcuffed him to an electrical box. During the next seven hours, the thieves stole 13 objects from the Museum worth around $500 million. Abath passed the time by singing…
The scientist who yields anything to theology, however slight, is yielding to ignorance and false pretenses, and as certainly as if he granted that a horse-hair put into a bottle of water will turn into a snake.
–H. L. Mencken
Saturday was my birthday, and I was showered with a heap of my favorite kind of gift: Stories about triumphant people whose lives have been ruined. I’d like to say that it is theological conviction that makes me read these stories end to end, but it is probably some sort of dopamine-stimulating Schadenfreude. Either way, it is an embarrassment of riches.
As promised, the new Dylan record reviewed by a true expert and friend, Mr. Ken Wilson:
I’m a bit of a Dylan fanatic. I’ve seen 51 shows and counting (Lord willing); I make his mother’s banana bread on his birthday; I’ve heard so many live versions of his classics that I fancy (the heart is deceitful), when hearing an off-night mp3, that I could improve his phrasing. Nothing serious, even if my cockatiel is named “Bob.”
But he’s my favorite character, not my hero. I only skim the thick volumes that treat his every lyric like it’s as reference-rich as Finnegan’s Wake….
WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, weekly podcasts, a quarterly print magazine, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ three full-time staff, David Zahl, Ethan Richardson and CJ Green, and four part-time, Sarah Condon, Scott Jones, Bryan Jarrell and Marcy Hooker. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by The Rev. Aaron Zimmerman.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its tenth year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our fundraising burden for 2017 is roughly $290,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gifts translate directly into mission and ministry. Can you help? Please feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like more information.
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