But when people asked who I was, I said, "I'm Dead In My Trespasses." Scary business that.
In other news. . . .
Emerging Adulthood: "Getting a life"
There's a superb article by the sociologist Christian Smith in the latest Books & Culture where he traces this new phenomenon that's being called "emerging adulthood," a span of years that runs from 18 through our mid-30s. Interesting times we're living in. Here's a quote:
"What has emerged from this new situation has been variously labeled "extended adolescence," "youthhood," "adultolescence," "young adulthood," the "twenty-somethings," and "emerging adulthood." I find persuasive Jeffrey Arnett's argument that, of all of these labels, "emerging adulthood" is the most appropriate—because rather than viewing these years as simply the last hurrah of adolescence or an early stage of real adulthood, it recognizes the unique characteristics of this phase of life.
These, according to Arnett in Emerging Adulthood, mark this stage as one of intense (1) identity exploration, (2) instability, (3) focus on self, (4) feeling in limbo, in transition, in-between, and (5) sense of possibilities, opportunities, and unparalleled hope. These, of course, are also often accompanied by big doses of transience, confusion, anxiety, self-obsession, melodrama, conflict, and disappointment."
My New Best Friend Dallas Willard
Well, I keep liking pretty much everything I read from the old Willard. Here's another tasty bit from the never-ending Divine Conspiracy:
"Currently the minds and souls of Christians and non-Christians alike are constantly hammered by the innumerable fists of an 'information society' and an inescapably media-saturated social consciousness set squarely against the reality of the kingdom of God. Without necessarily intending it, these forces almost irresistibly direct our feelings, imagery, thinking, and belief against the world of Jesus and his Father and against the profound needs and hungers of the human soul.
It is not a matter of conspiracy. It is actually something much more powerful. It is an anonymous and many-faceted structure of 'authority' that stipulates what is to count as knowledge and reality. It is silently but ponderously conveyed by our entire system of education, Christian or otherwise. The essential teachings of Jesus emphatically do not receive its stamp of approval."
Mark Noll on Song, culture, divine bounty, and issues of harmonization
Mark Noll has written a beautiful essay on music. It comes as part of the Christian Vision Project which Andy Crouch edits, and appeared also in the recent issue of Books & Culture. Noll's is the kind of writing I would aspire to one day.
Here's the last rousing portion of the essay:
"The increasing number of such examples makes it possible to imagine a fully harmonious and spiritually edifying service of Christian worship where new Christian believers played Palestrina on the indigenous musical instruments of Burkina Faso, where an African American gospel choir led in a chorale of Heinrich Schütz, where white middle-class Presbyterians surged with Christian ecstasy to the beat of a drum, where teenaged believers filled up their iPods with the Robert Shaw Chorale, and where learned Western theologians delighted in a nearly infinite repetition of "God is so good, he's so good to me."
That it is possible in these last days—in days of increased cultural self-awareness, cross-cultural contact, intra-cultural antagonism and appreciation—to imagine (if not yet to realize) such a vision means that the miraculous day draws nearer as described by the psalmist millennia ago:
Praise the Lord! … Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Or, we might say today, "Praise him with syncopation and on the beat. Praise him with 5-tones (the Thai xylophone), 12-tones (most Western music), 24-tones (Arab music), and all scales in between. Praise him a cappella, with orchestra, and with drum set. Praise him with works of supernal intelligence and greatest simplification. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Together."
And now for something different . . . .
How do people get so smart? And when do they have time to make this stuff? This is an ingenious piece of animation.