WILL WE? (Photo credit: Jim Wilson/The New York Times) A stunningly violent shooting in Tucson, Arizona, and we are talking again about violence and violent images. And the war of words has begun. I have to confess that I am frequently bewildered by the violent use of violent metaphors in our public speaking
As it happens, when Classic 99 went off the air in July 2010, it never died. Classic99.com continues to live stream its vast catalog of classical and sacred music online, just as it did when it broadcast on the FM dial. Matter of fact, I’m listening to it as I write this post, and I’m even hearing the familiar voices of former KFUO-FM announcers, now volunteers for the Internet station. And The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has announced that the Synod’s Board of Directors voted to provide an additional $193,000 through at least mid-2012 “not only to continue but to improve the way it provides quality classical and sacred music to listeners via the Internet.” And, evidently, both the online station and its listener base are expanding
By now, it has been making the email and Facebook rounds many times over: The Opera Company of Philadelphia hides in the Center City Philadephia Macy’s on Saturday, October 30, and during the height of the busy shopping day breaks into an “impromptu” performance of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” It was a “Random Act of Culture,” funded by the Knight Foundation as a campaign to bring “classical artists out of the performance halls, into the streets – and our everyday lives.” The only reason we know about it—and have “seen” it—is because it was posted on YouTube. And in the weeks since it has gone, as they say, viral. Three years ago, I wrote in a more academic venue about the experience of Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular as an experience of cultural “transgression.” It seems that a similar…
I spent some of my Thanksgiving holiday catching up on the stack of magazines that had piled up, mostly issues of The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly (got to keep an eye on the high and low brows). Perhaps the most thought-provoking read I have come across lately is by The New Yorker ’s Malcolm Gladwell , of Blink and Outlier fame, in his New Yorker article “Small Change” on why social media like Twitter and Facebook will not (despite popular opinion) lead to great movements for social change. His reasoning is based on a sociological distinction between “weak-tie” and “strong-tie” activism
I gave up my Starbucks addiction a long time ago. (In a previous life, the Webster/Old Orchard Starbucks was a near-daily stop on my way to work until I realized that it was part of the reason I gained 25 pounds and lost most of the cash in my wallet.) But I couldn’t help seeing Starbucks’ still new ad campaign while I was recently in the airport. “Take Comfort in Rituals.” Does it bring to mind visions of a hot cup of chai?
From the 2009 Interfaith Partnership Annual Dinner. Photo credit: www.interfaithstl.org
So, on the same day last week, President Obama stood in a backyard in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and gave a lengthy answer to the question “Why are you a Christian?” while the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released the findings to its survey on Americans’ basic religious knowledge . The survey has already been discussed here and in many other places, but I’ll only point out that virtually all Americans basically flunked the test
The first Bach at the Sem concert of the season will take place this Sunday, October 10, at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on the Concordia Seminary campus
Stephen Fowl “Scripture in the Church: Formative or Formality?” is the title of the 21st annual Theological Symposium, to be held Sept. 21-22 on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Christwire.org has become a popular Web site for news and reporting with an ultraconservative Christian slant. And it’s all one big joke. I have to confess I was completely unaware of Christwire until I ran across the New York Times article that outed the identities of Christwire’s founders, Bryan Butvidas and Kirwin Watson
King David, The King, Bono, and the cult of celebrity. Did the story arc of celebrity start with the biblical figure of David?
A little over a year ago, I wrote here about the premiere of the short film “Ragman.” Now, with over 25 international film festivals on its cart, two awards and a finalist for a third, “Ragman” is finally available on DVD . The film, directed by local artist Dale Ward (I was the production designer), is a direct adaptation of the well-known parable by renowned writer Walter Wangerin . Simply, it is a subtle story of grace and transformation
So the story has been kind of buried with all the other news making the headlines, but it’s still worth talking about. With the retirement of John Paul Stevens and the impending confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, the Court faces the prospect of not having a Protestant justice for the first time in its history
Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son” Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on” God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin’ you better run” Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?” God says, “Out on Highway 61” The word of the Lord according to Bob Dylan, in the opening lines from the title track of his landmark album Highway 61 Revisited . It is a sly and menacing retelling of the famous episode of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac from Genesis 22 . And Dylan sets it along the famous highway of the blues that stretches along the Mississippi River from New Orleans up almost to Canada. It is the highway where legend has it Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to play the…
…is the title of the newest book from the Concordia Seminary Press. The American Mind Meets the Mind of Christ is a collection of essays edited by renowned scholar Robert Kolb . Here’s the synopsis from the back cover: Whether it is an altar to an unknown god or the New Atheists, Christians have always faced the challenge of translating the Gospel message within the surrounding culture. This is no less true for the tangled web that is 21st century America
The “Chandos portrait” of Shakespeare Last night I taught our first class in a course entitled “The Bible as Literature” in Wash U’s University College . So don’t be surprised if there’s a few posts here over the next weeks with that title before the colon. One of my basic theses for the course is that perhaps the most foundational event in the history of English-speaking literature was the translation of the Bible into the Authorized Version, otherwise known as the “King James.” Shakespeare is a very close second. To illustrate my point, we played a famous little game with the King James version of Psalm 46