Weekly Round-Up, February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

There is so much good happening in the world of theology and the arts. At the end of each week, we'd like to share with you a few of the great things we've discovered this past week from around the internet.

Biola's Center for Christianty, Culture, and the Arts is rolling out a wonderful daily Lenten series throughout the season.

God has given us the arts as an alternative and heightened way to communicate. The arts are the language of the soul, distinct from ordinary, every day language. They speak to us at the very core of our beings, calling for passionate responses. Indeed, The Lent Project’s simple formula of coalescing scripture, music, visual art and poetry into an integrated whole has elicited an overwhelming rejoinder from our viewing audience.

Mark Cousins is a filmmaker and critic worth paying attention to, and he recently outlined a dream film course for the British Film Institute. It's not an actual course, but it is a corrective for the kind of "sensory deprived," to use Cousins' term, film programs that are common around the world.

My course would be called ‘50 weeks to learn film’. Like the great American theatre director and educator Peter Sellars, on day one, when the students arrive, I’d tell them that they’d all passed, but that now comes the hard part. Then, together, we’d pick up a pack of 50 cards, each of which has a week-long theme or project written on it. We’d shuffle the deck, and then lay them out in a row. That row of themes would be the course. And what would the themes be? Deep breath...

Fr. Ivan Moody, writing for the Orthodox Arts Journal, considers Modern Art as an opportunity to experience theophany.

Can those of us who are active believers and also artists partake of such an experiment? Can we engage with the daily deathbed which is, in fact, the entire world, as we simultaneously seek nourishment from our lived faith? Can we transmit this by means of art? My answer to this question is absolutely affirmative; if I did not think this possible, I could not continue to do what I do, as composer and priest (two paths that cross each other with remarkable frequency).

If you are among our snow-bound readers, look to this Tumblr and the words of Beckett applied to photos of the Boston snow for consolation as compiled by playwright John J. King.

Ibeyi was recently profiled in NPR's First Listen. The album player is gone now, but the profile itself is still there for your reading pleasure. The video above is from their self-title album.

Religious references and Yoruba-language chants swirl around the entire album, with songs steeped in references to various orishas, including Oya, Aggayu, Oshun, Shango and Yemaya.

The most talked about movie of the week was the cinematic adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. Our friends at Think Christian published a conversation between wife and husband, Lauren and Kory Plockmeyer recorded immediately after the end of their Valentine's day date to see the film.

Lauren: It’s possible to be in a loving Christian relationship and participate in BDSM. That’s not what these characters are doing.

Kory: So then what does it mean to formulate a healthy, positive, celebratory Christian sexual ethic in light of Fifty Shades?

Calvin's Festival of Faith and Music is coming up at the end of March. The entire festival lineup is worth a look. Our own Barry Taylor will be presenting the opening night Keynote.

The Festival of Faith and Music is the gathering of a community of pilgrims who are on a journey to hear, promote and create the music of epiphany—music that catches our breath with its discovery of delight in the ordinary, eternity in the exceptional.

Finally, maybe crack open a good book this weekend, because fiction matters. We aren't surprised, but neuroscientists seem to be. In a piece for the New York Times, Annie Murphy Paul reports on recent findings that indicate reading fiction does good things for the brain that can't be facsimilated otherwise.

Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.

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