Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quotes from The Intellectual Life

The intellectual is not self-begotten; he is the son of the Idea, of the Truth, of the creative Word, the Life-giver immanent in His creation. When the thinker thinks rightly, he follows God step by step; he does not follow his own vain fancy. When he gropes and struggles in the effort of research, he is Jacob wrestling with the angel and “strong against God. (xviii)

It requires penetration and continuity and methodical effort, so as to attain a fullness of development which will correspond to the call of the Spirit, and to the resources that it has pleased Him to bestow on us. (3)

Ambition offends eternal truth by subordinating truth to itself (6)

A life with too ambitious an aim or one content with too low a level is a misdirected life. (xxii)

All roads but one are bad roads for you, since they diverge from the direction in which your action is expected and required. Do not prove faithless to God, to your brethren and to yourself by rejecting a sacred call. (5)

When the world does not like you it takes its revenge on you; if it happens to like, you, it takes its revenge still by corrupting you. Your only resource is to work far from the world, as indifferent to its judgments as you are ready to serve it.

Genius is long patience (8)

Things have value in exact proportion to what they cost. (253)

To understand a single thing thoroughly, we should understand all things. (141)

The half-informed man is not the man who knows only half things, but the man who only half knows things. (122)

Order is a necessity, but it must serve us, not we it. (194)

The Handling of Books

Patrick T. Reardon wrote an insightful article about the practice of dog-earing, highlighting, and writing in books. Have faced some of the same trials and ultimate concerns over the sanctity of bound material, I understand his quirky points--even if that makes me quirky too. I once stopped reading a book because it fell off of the bedside table and the cover creased.

Friday, August 24, 2007

English Lit Up in Smoke?

In a recent article in the Telegraph, A.N. Wilson writes a remarkable article about personal freedom, literature, pubs, history, political correctness, and smoking that manages to offend almost everyone. That takes talent!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Horton Foote

One of my favorite authors, playwrights, and screen writers is Horton Foote. Alex Witchel has a great article about Foote, his history, and his upcoming productions. At the age of 91, Horton Foote is still very active--for which I am grateful. I have had the wonderful opportunity to produce several of his plays with high school students, and films such as Tender Mercies, Trip to Bountiful, To Kill a Mockingbird, and 1918 are among some of the best screenplays written.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Sound of Silence

Andrew Waggoner wrote an interesting article about the need for silence in our culture saturated with noise and muzak. He writes:

In many world societies, however, there are still spaces—if only interior, or metaphorical, or temporal—set aside for contemplation, for noiseless recalibration of the soul, and in contemporary American culture there are almost none. Our social rituals are constrained by the incessant soundtrack imposed in our public spaces, and our places of worship, by and large, have given themselves over to a muzak-based sense of liturgy that tells us at every step of the way what to feel and with what intensity.

Music gets its import from both the ordering of sound and silence in time. Where there is no silence, music begins to lose its distinction. And we as listeners are numbed by the aural wallpaper.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Legend of the Poe Visitor

Every January 19, a shrouded visitor lays three roses and a bottle of cognac on the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. After worldwide publicity, someone has finally come forward to explain the mystery, or have they?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Signs on the Times

Here's a fascinating article on the process in changing the fonts of highway signs. Who knew the history of such things? Could this be the end of Highway Gothic?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Discussion on Harry Potter VII

This past week we had our third and final discussion of the Harry Potter series and it various elements of medieval symbolism, alchemy, and Christian content.

It's a fascinating series by a remarkably gifted and highly intelligent author. Kudos to J.K. Rowling for keeping us enthralled, engaged, and thinking for the past ten years.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Arts Articles

This year marks the 150 anniversary of Edward Elgar’s birth. An assessment of the English composer’s life and legacy appear in the New York Times.

Anglican Church officials announced that the new Anglican church hymnals in Jamaica will include reggae songs by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh⎯despite the fact that they were Rastafarians who vocally opposed Christianity.

While Elton John may go a bit far (with a lot of things), his comments about the dangers of the self indulgent art produced by individuals and computers is right on target. There is indeed a much needed component of community within artistic endeavors.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Worship Notes: Why We Print the Music in Our Church Bulletin

The people of God are called to worship Him in song. Our lack of musical knowledge inhibits this activity. Therefore, we print the music in the bulletin in order to encourage part-singing, to more easily facilitate the learning of new music, and to increase musical literacy for the glory of God.

From the beginning of our life together as a church, we have printed the music for worship in the bulletin. The statement above was part of our bulletins for the first two months of our church. However, how exactly does singing in parts make a theological difference?

Worship serves to bind a group of people into a community. Utilizing music that can be sung in parts serves as a valuable tool to this end. Part-singing encourages a sense of belonging, community and reliance.

Part-singing encourages a sense of belonging by the very necessity of each of the harmonic parts being sung. The individual has the sense of being an integral component of something beyond just their voice part. There exists the sense of being needed.

Part-singing develops community by incorporating individual singing with the other parts. It creates an awareness of what the other members of the community are singing as well as building bonds between the parts. Reliance on one another contributes greatly to the sense of community.

Part-singing necessitates dependence upon the surrounding people as the individual parts are sung. This is apparent when we physically divide into voice parts and are surrounded by people singing the same notes or when we stand next to a different voice part and rely on one another for pitch, intonation, and entrances.

All voice parts are equally needed⎯just as all members of the body serve different but vital functions.

Yet another benefit of singing in parts is the opportunity to sing music suitable for one’s voice. For instance, the lack of bass lines disrupts the very harmonic foundation of music as well as eliminates the possibility of men singing a part intended for them. Choosing music with these elements often requires us to select music rooted in the past but yet accessible for the time and place in which God has placed us.

T.S. Eliot wrote in his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” that someone who seeks to be contemporary must understand their place in history. If one does not understand that position, their work slips from the permanent to the novel. By definition, a true contemporary is also a traditionalist because he understands what went before. G.K. Chesterton refers to the idea that “Tradition is the democracy of the dead.” One must take into account the whole entirety of the Church--the Great Cloud of Witnesses, the invisible Church that stretches through the ages and is comprised of the called of God--when planning worship. Worship is an activity outside of time that is directed to a God beyond time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

We Need Your Help

Because of computer and technology problems a couple of months ago, we lost our entire database of email addresses. This was the list that we used to send out the monthly literary newsletter that also gave further information about how to pray for the ministry, a schedule of events, and upcoming conferences.

If you were on the former list, please take the time to sign up again (the sign-up box is on the right-hand side of this page). If you’ve never been on the list, now’s a great time to make sure that you get all of the information for the coming year. We’re planning some exciting things around here in the coming months and look forward to telling more about them as time unfolds!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Loss of Cultural History

Richard Pells wrote a fascinating article about the lack of cultural studies and cultural ignorance in college American History courses. “History Descending a Staircase: American Historians and American Culture” makes a compelling case for integrated subjects as well as exposing the current trends and thoughts in academia about American Studies. While I don’t agree with all his thoughts, Pells makes a strong case for examining the past through multiple interrelated perspectives.