Weekly Round-Up, January 9, 2015

January 9, 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.

The attack in Paris this week shook the world in large part because the attack was perpetrated in the name of religion against a media outlet known for its political cartoons, Chalie Hebdo. Among other things, it was religion versus art on the front page of every newpaper in the world. On Being's Omid Safi wrote a great article giving advice on how people of faith might process this event.

We begin where we are, where our hearts are. Let us take the time to bury the dead, to mourn, and to grieve. Let us mourn that we have created a world in which such violence seems to be everyday. We mourn the eruption of violence. We mourn the fact that our children are growing up in a world where violence is so banal.

We lost a legend this week – Andraé Crouch. Robert Darden wrote a great obituary for Christianity Today that gives an overview of Crouch's life, impact, and legacy.

Crouch was an innovator, a path-finder, a precursor in an industry noted for its conservative, often derivative approach to popular music. He combined gospel and rock, flavored it with jazz and calypso as the mood struck him and the song called for it, and is even one of the founders of what is now called “praise and worship” music. He took risks with his art and was very, very funky when he wanted to be.

Our very own David Taylor, board member for Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), took a few minutes to talk about why pastors ought to care about the visual arts and consider joining CIVA themselves.

Also at Christianity Today, Alicia Cohn wrote a fascinating history of Wonder Woman and the changes the character has undergone since her creation.

Superman doesn’t pander. His personality and motivation are fundamental to his character. Supergirl’s personality, like those of most female superheroes, changes according to the plot of the comic book she’s in. That’s one thing Wonder Woman has going for her: She’s no one’s knock-off.

David Bazan's struggles with Christianity have long made him an interesting and, at times, controversal figure in rock. This past week at Think Christian, John J. Thompson wrote a great overview of Bazan's career and his latest project, Bazan Monthly.

Bazan Monthly is so loaded with Christian imagery I wonder what sense those outside the faith can make of it. Unlike previous Bazan music though, either under his name or the numerous side projects he has undertaken, these songs seem more about his own mental and spiritual cul-de-sacs than about the evangelical fundamentalists he is still fleeing. As such, he has crafted some of his best work yet.

On Being also published this brilliant reflection on the life and work of Thomas Merton by Parker J. Palmer.

I met Thomas Merton a year after he died. I met him through his writing and through the communion that lies “beyond words,” met him in the seamless way good friends meet again after a long time apart. Without Merton’s friendship and the hope it has given me over the past forty-five years, I’m not sure I could have kept faith with my vocation, even as imperfectly as I have.

The New York Times' published an Op Ed this week from John Guida that wonders whether or not blockbusters are destroying the movies.

It’s red-carpet season in Hollywood, rolling on until the Academy Awards, an abundance of trophies and best-of lists. But for many observers, it’s also a time to take a look at the state of the industry. And for some of them, the view is more dreary than award-worthy.

Finally, alumna Rachel Paprocki wrote a lovely reflection for the Burner Blog (now housed at Fuller's Patheos portal) about the kind of communion she found working for a bakery in Los Angeles.

How much more wonderful could congregational life be if clergy and churchgoers treated their shared existence together in the Sunday sanctuary less like a time for training in apologetics and more like this: That precious stolen moment in the beginning of the day, before anything has had a chance to go wrong, when the coffee is fresh; the solitary, bright noon lunch of crisp vegetables; the slow evening pause for a breath and a sweet treat before the midnight oil is lit and the ovens turn on to bake tomorrow’s bread.

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