Category Archives: Arts, Culture, and Media

Art, Videos, Books, Music, Movies, Poetry, Podcasts

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 8/4/14

… Why wouldn’t you take care of it?   🙂

*NSFW Language*

 

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Disgraceland

Every week at St. Lydia’s we read a poem (I wrote a bit about it here). I read Disgraceland by Mary Karr last week, which goes well with this song by Fink, I think. Here’s a bit of it:

Christ always stood
to one side with a glass of water.
I swatted the sap away.

When my thirst got great enough to ask,
a clear stream welled up inside,
some jade wave buoyed me forward,

and I found myself upright
in the instant, with a garden
inside my own ribs aflourish.

Read the entire poem here.

 

Cristo Redentor

IMG_3284I am in Brazil right now with my wife visiting her family. My parents are here as well, and today we went to the statue you’ve probably seen in photos of Rio de Jainero, Cristo Redentor, which means Chris the Redeemer. I haven’t had too much time to write up any thoughts about faith, but I wanted to share with you a photo I took of the gigantic Jesus looking down on Rio.

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 7/14/14

…what a beautiful way to look at life from an amazing man!    🙂

The Reconciliation

It’s been a really long day, but before I go to bed I thought I’d share with you this painting by Maria Lassnig that I recently saw at P.S. 1, which is part of the MOMA. It’s called The Reconciliation. I think it pairs well with a little Iron & Wine.

Lassnig 1

Necessary Work

Sometimes you need crunchy guitars to get you through the day, and some days you need to listen to Bach to drown out the rattle and whirr of the window unit. I know this particular song is turning a bit into a cliché, the piece of music that those of us who know nothing about classical music listen to on repeat, but I don’t really care. You could call anything old and beloved a cliché, except it hasn’t lost its beauty and meaning. Not to me, anyway.

The other day I wrote this note to myself (another necessary cliché, perhaps) as I was wading through a long to-do list:

photo (15)

Of course, I was in the middle of writing an email and listening to music when I stopped to write this down. I am a hypocrite, sometimes because I know the right thing to do but choose not to do it, and sometimes because I am pulled in so many directions I am often trying to go both ways at once.

Maybe that’s why we pray, to carve out a little space, to find a way. Prayer is simply pointing yourself in a direction.

I haven’t been praying much lately, to be honest, but nonetheless prayers are still answered. The next issue of Trinity news is almost done and St. Lydia’s met its fundraising goal though donations are still needed if you have a few bucks to throw our way (and I feel the need to show you this ridiculous and fantastic meme that Emily Scott, our pastor, made).

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Work doesn’t always feel like a clean and simple checking off of to-do lists (I’m sure you know this). It’s often messier than that because it involves our own fallible hands and minds and, worse, other people. The work of living together and creating something good, whether it’s a magazine or a church, music or a meal, is sometimes a slog, but it’s also necessary and it’s the only way forward.

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 6/30/14

…this looks like fun!    🙂

 

Thoughts for Thursday

Just this, today. I don’t know about you but I’ve had a rough week! I love Mary Oliver’s poetry and the peace it brings my soul.
Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver
© Mary Oliver

Love is Work

I’m currently reading the Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, which are all about, well, empathy. I especially love the title essay, which you can read here. Here’s an excerpt:

Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us – a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain – it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to this sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say going through the motions – this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgement of effort – the labor, the motions, the dance – of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.

This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always rise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled,  that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.

Basically, this is a reminder that loving your neighbor as yourself, and even loving yourself, is a choice you have to make. Sometimes love is easy, and sometimes love is work.

 

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 6/23/14

…don’t worry be happy!    🙂