making me nervous

In a few weeks, I’ll sit around a table of delicious German food with some of my closest friends to discuss a true story of transformation, tragedy, and terror. We’re going to discuss a book about a life – the life of a man who would not tolerate a theology that would wipe out a race of people. Reading the book, Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, a few years ago was terrifying. I had walked inside the gates at Auschwitz in Poland and seen the incinerators; I had stood in the tower and looked across the field of long buildings built for suffering and death.

The account of this brilliant German man with the right pedigree and the right education and the right friends is ugly in its revealing of everything wrong about the world… about the human condition… about everything culture slowly and slyly considers “right” without question.

But book clubs with biographies are meant to focus on the past, to stir up nostalgia or pride or gratitude that terrible times had such wonderful people to overcome them. So why is The New York Times making me nervous today? Why do I think Bonhoeffer’s words would ring as poignant today, in our much progressed culture of tolerance?

Why does today seem so terrible?

I have to read the news in waves – a little bit here, a bit there… some in the morning and some over lunch. Because it feels ominous. A sliver of a column on the front page was dedicated to the continuing conflict in Syria while a lion and her cubs enjoyed a photo and feature further down on the page. Zoos are having trouble deciding what to do when babies “don’t fit the plan.” I guess those babies were part of, “All the news that’s fit to print” in a more prominent sense than the failure of any diplomatic, peaceful measures by Annan in the battered and bruised country of Syria.

This probably reads like a jumbled jigsaw puzzle and that’s because it is. I know I’ve got a hope secure and I know I’ve got to share this message, but is this world making anyone else nervous? When I sit around that table in a few weeks, enjoying good German food with kindred spirits, I have a feeling they’ll know exactly what I mean.

Tchaikovsky, Curators, Aurora miracle, libraries of famous authors, and the music of KB

Well, here are some links I’m rolling out on this Tuesday. I’m dragging my feet a bit, but I’ve got to run before I lose motivation. Check these things out, friends, and let me know what you think.

  • When I was growing up, I would pull out classical bundles of music from the shelves in the piano room and ask my mom to play. She would always say, “Oh, honey… it’s been so long. I don’t even know if I can play this anymore…” but I could always tell she’d give in to my request and let dinner or the dishes or the laundry wait a few minutes so we could revel in the classics. This piece from BrainPickings,  “Tchaikovsky on Work Ethic vs. Inspiration brings me back to those moments in the music room, but not just because my mom worked hard at being a musician. Also because she worked hard at being a mom – inspiration came in both cases as a result of her work. This post is about a letter Tchaikovsky wrote to his benefactress and the whole thing is beautiful – please go read it!
  • Sometimes I don’t understand art, I’ll admit. But, maybe it’s the philosopher in me that loves what art says about who we are as a culture. Artists (and curators) kind of get to play the music that contemporary culture writes as it defines itself through values and norms. So, this piece in the NYT, The Fine Art of Being a Curator” struck me because of what it means for the music. Ahem.. So, if culture decides what is important right now, artists translate those things to canvas, buildings, statues, etc., then curators get to decide what does the best job of playing the music. Maybe this is another post in the making. The article is really very straightforward – talks about how curators are becoming more established as a field. I just can’t help but ask, “Who sets the standards for good art?” But that’s probably because I’m not, “in the know” about these kinds of things.
  • What would you say if a doctor told you that you had a brain defect that saved your life? That’s nearly what happened for a young Aurora woman after she was shot at the theatre during the Dark Knight premiere. Read the story here, A Smiling Providence in Aurora, Colorado from Denny Burk.
  • I love books and I love libraries – this post takes us inside the libraries of famous writers and I have to stop myself from drooling. Each nook looks so dreamy!
  • I like rap. This new album from KB “Weight of Glory” is pretty spectacular. I wanted to post a video that wasn’t all lyric, so check out this “behind the scenes” look at a young man who’s got serious talent and serious opportunity to bring the message of hope through his gift. Worth a listen, for real.

    Here’s the video he talks about to the song, “Open Letter”

That’s all for now. I’m going to go pound the pavement on a night run.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

Captivated, Prometheus, Eugenics, and Yosemite

It has been a LONG while since I posted links for “this & that.” I’ll just trust you’ve been doing your own sleuthing. In the chance that you haven’t, here are some things you should look up.

  • Friends, please watch this trailer for the documentary, “Captivated.” The lure of media-saturated living is so great and happened so subtly that we barely realize our bondage.
  • I mostly get my movie recommendations from the blogs I read and this post by Thabiti Anyabwile makes me want to look up listings for Prometheus right away. Now, for finding the time to go to the theatre…
  • Oh, did you think eugenics was a thing of the past? This brilliant piece in the NYTimes, “Eugenics, Past and Future” reveals where the idea (because things like public policy always start with ideas and end up with society-altering implications) originated and which great minds were involved in its inception. Now, what does the conversation look like today? I wish there wasn’t one.
  • This timelapse video of Yosemite is breathtaking. Such beauty – really unexplainable beauty. If you’ve got 4 minutes, you won’t be wasting it by watching this video.
  • This is a hard story to read, so don’t click unless you are ready. It’s not one that is filled with hope in the last lines or rings of redemption – this story is streaked with pain.  This freelance writer (and blogger) writes about her very real and frightful struggle with a daughter who has acute mental illness,In the never after.

Now, can I make a shameless plug? Um, I’m trying to … well, I’m trying to “be” a blogger. I guess I mean that in the sense that I’d love to have more “hits” and “pings” and all those things that make your readership grow. Not because I have something to say, or maybe it is because of that. In any case, I’ve been told one of the ways to find more readers is to have them “like” you on facebook. There is a facebook image on my sidebar and if you click on it, you can “like” my blog on facebook. There, I said it and I can’t give you anything for doing it. Just do it if you want to and don’t do it if you don’t.

Okay, friends. Please

let LOVE fly like cRaZy!

therapy, cohabitation, syndrome success, and momentary marriage

Several things made me emotional today – in mostly good ways. I’d like to share a few of them with you in the form of these links in hopes that you’ll be encouraged, challenged, and spurred on. These are all inroads for conversation. That’s how I see it. The more we take in of our culture, the more ready we are to “give a reason to anyone who asks about the hope that we have.” Hope is not something that shows up once or twice a week. Hope makes appearances in conversations over a coffee or a beer or on the sidelines at a little league game. And these can be inroads, so let’s not waste our opportunities to engage.

  • I appreciated this article from Qideas, “Overcoming the Merely Therapeutic.” In a 2005 study (according to researchers Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton), teenagers say that worship is, “something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he’s always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process.” Revered Gregory Jensen responds to these findings and also reviews a recent book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 (2012).
  • This article by Scotty Smith, “Pray the Scriptures” for how it seeks to battle the, essentially therapeutic idea, by knowing God through His Word and then forming a conversation from that knowledge.
  • If you’ve got high school graduation parties to attend, think about giving a gift off this book list. It will last longer than the food gift cards and picture frames, promise.
  • This is a brilliant article by writer George Will in the Washington Post on the life of Jon Will – 40 years and going with Down’s Syndrome. I felt like I just watched a beautiful, short film of a life lived well (and still living).
  • Switching gears a bit, this article from the New York Times is more than interesting. The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage is important on so many levels. Something about being published in the NYT gives a topic legitimacy and makes it a valid conversation over cards.
  • This article, “Who Wants to Buy Honduras,” hits pretty close to home for me. With a country whose past is layered with corruption and poverty, are charter cities really the way out?
  • In view of the recent Desiring God conference on men and ministry and masculinity, I appreciated this article from Michael Horton, “Muscular Christianity.” Do you have thoughts on how manly Christianity is or if it is even worth deciding?
  • Lastly, I want to encourage you to watch this film on Ian and Larissa. Their marriage story is absolutely broken and beautiful. May God receive the glory!

Okay, friends. That’s all for now. Click one or two if you have to choose, but just do something with the knowledge.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy