Bits & Bobs at the start of the year of the end of the earth

According to the writers of this Wikipedia entry, 2012 "is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar." What do the Mayas really think about it? Check out your local Mayan Predictions to find out.

Myself, I'm going to keep eating dark chocolate malt balls and writing this blog till the brimstone burns up all the electrons that make it possible for you to read it.

Here then a bit of this and a bob of that at the start of 2012. I've got a series on the vocation of the artist that I'd like to begin and a "Best of" for 2011, but those will have to wait till the baby is fed, the diapers are changed, the bottles are boiled, Phaedra is loved on and the comprehensive exams are given first dibs on any energy that is left over for the day.

First things first, though: You gotta come to that Laity Lodge retreat, March 1-4, where we'll talk about the care of artists and swim in the Blue Hole of the Frio River and eat the best food you'll consume all year long. It's a win-win-win, people. Stay tuned for more info.

1. The Technology Loop.  You know you've been sucked under by it. You know you're a sucker for letting yourself be sucked again, over and over. You wish you had one technological gadget to organize it all. Here it is, courtesy of Portlandia.

2. Will art history majors save our economy? You betcha, and Matt Milliner has the goods on it.

3. The David Crowder Band is calling it quits, but David Crowder will keep doing his thing: making music in service of the church. Check out this fine interview over at CT.

What's next for your? What will you do for income? 
I'm going to be making music for the church in the future. I just don't know exactly what that will mean and look like. I just know that I love writing for the church and to help people express themselves to God in a very direct manner in terms of corporate or collective singing. If I'm not doing that in some fashion, I definitely would feel like there's a vacancy. And so I'm sure there's more to come.

4. Ever want to bust out in song on a plane 30,000 feet above ground level? I have. A bunch of times, most of which would have mortified Phaedra. But these folks have the chutzpah and the goods to pull it off with class (on economy class). Call it worship just shy of the heavens. And make sure you listen to the clipped-off comment by the woman sitting somewhere behind the video camera.

5. Stephen Colbert, the latter day mystic? It's hard to believe (or perhaps not) that these words are attributed to the padrone of "The Colbert Report," but they're worth chewing on, as reported in this piece by The New York Times Magazine.

"In 1974, when Colbert was 10, his father, a doctor, and his brothers Peter and Paul, the two closest to him in age, died in a plane crash while flying to a prep school in New England. “There’s a common explanation that profound sadness leads to someone’s becoming a comedian, but I’m not sure that’s a proven equation in my case,” he told me. “I’m not bitter about what happened to me as a child, and my mother was instrumental in keeping me from being so.”

He added, in a tone so humble and sincere that his character would never have used it: “She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us. What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice.”

6. Andy Whitman goes to his Jesus Freak Reunion. See here, via Image Journal.

7. A thing about the liturgical arts.

He suggests that “liturgical arts will offer the best service to the church when embedded in something larger than themselves.” He maintains that the beauty inherent in art is valuable, but that the arts fulfill “a primary purpose in the actions and purposes of the liturgy.”

Yes, I said that. I said it in an interview for a publication by the Anglican Mission (now organizationally in a state of limbo, but, well, whoever let that stop one from loving the Anglican liturgy? Not me.) And Phaedra's art made it into the article too, so that's even funner.

8. Bruce Benedict's Top Ten Congregational Songs for 2011. I really enjoyed reading his list and the explanations that accompanied them.

Way to go, Cardiphonia. Keep up the good work.

9. The enchantment of simple, elegant lines. This is a really beautiful work of Chinese painting, which the artist has animated in three dimensions.

3D Chinese painting animation - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

10. Three books I look forward to reading in the next month.

The Study of Liturgy, edited by C. Jones, G. Wainwright, E. Yarnold and P. Bradshaw (Oxford: 1992).
I'm thoroughly enjoying my readings in liturgical theology and this includes an anthology-like collection of essays by distinguished members of the field. It's organized around basic categories such as "theology and rite," "initiation," "the Eucharist," "ordination" and "the calendar." It'll be a great resource as a quick read of issues and concerns surrounding each facet of the liturgy.

Space, Time and Resurrection by T. F. Torrance (Oxford: 1969).
This spring semester Jeremy will run a seminar for his doctoral students on Thomas Torrance. This is the book we'll be reading for our first gathering. We'll also venture into The Mediation of Christ, "The Trinitarian Mind," "The Transformation of Natural Theology," "Natural Theology in the Thought of Karl Barth," "Theological Science" and "The One Baptism Common to Christ and his Church."  I'm excited to spend time with a man I first visited in seminary, with his Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Faith, a book that awakened in me a love for the Great Tradition. The book hurt my head every time I picked it up, but I was a better man for it.

Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy, because I can't justify reading The Hunger Games trilogy for a third time in a row but I can read another, perhaps just a wee bit too similar, set of dystopian novels featuring a spunky teenage girl, who just so happens to live in society that is divided into five factions--Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent)--each dedicated to the cultivation of, yes, you guessed it, Aristotle, a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a "perfect society."

C'mon, you know that's going to be a good read. At least for the first 100 pages. Hopefully more.

My firstborn is a girl. I want her to be spunky like Katniss. I now need to check out her doppelgänger, Beatrice.


Jim Janknegt said…
I have been rereading "The Spirit of the Liturgy" by Joseph Ratzinger. At first when I read your quote about art and liturgy, I thought you were quoting him. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it.
Jim, I have read it. It's good stuff indeed.
Rosie Perera said…
That Technology Loop clip won't play in Canada, but I found it somewhere else that will:

Love the airplane song! Reminds me of the time when members of my congregation broke into the Doxology in 4-part harmony in a Chinese restaurant as a blessing for our meal.

And about the quote from Stephen Colbert, wow! I love his show. Had no idea he had this in his background, nor what appears to be a sincere faith. Thanks for sharing that.
this post melts my mixtape heart...
t. said…
Mr. Taylor, I'm a college kid in Texas going to school for a BFA in Studio Arts, and I find myself straddling a line of what I want to do with it: my passion is not always to create, but more often than not to encourage and teach other artists, to pray, to nurture... I want to learn more in general about art and artists and Jesus, but I don't know if I am right for the retreat? I'm 23, unseasoned, still trying to find a calling, and getting excited. What do you think I should do? Come? Get more schooling first?
Thanks, and keep warm over there!
t. said…
Well, I faced my fears, and I pulled the trigger.
I'm coming. God, help me.
Dear Tarah, I'm glad you're coming. Some things can only be figured out in the context of community, and certain things can be figured out best in the context of a kindred community. I think you'll find a lot of folk who share similar passions and callings and whom you'll be able to ask questions of and share you're own journey.

Welcome in advance!

t. said…
Thank you David, I completely agree! I'm excited to come.

Eric Meckley said…

Veronica, author of "Divergent" is one of my dear friends and was a student involved in Northwestern's Reformed University Fellowship while I was an intern there. She married one of my best friends, another NURUF student last fall and I was in the wedding. What'd you think of the book? I thought it was great stuff and the follow-up, "Insurgent" comes out in 3ish months. We "Divergent" last May for the book club I started ( So glad to have stumbled across your blog, I look forward to reading more, and I'd love to get a run-down from you after the Anglican1000 conference because I don't think I'll be able to swing the trip.

All the best,
Eric Meckley
Dude: that's awesome. Wow, so cool. I haven't read the novel yet, am waiting for a library copy. Would love to talk when I do, and we can talk A1000 too. Thanks!
Eric Meckley said…
Yeah man, they are super cool. Would love to chat about both things once they're done! And if you're simply chomping at the bit, I'd be glad to bring the copy of "Divergent" from the Meckley Library to church tomorrow!

- E

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