Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday Mixtape [on Wednesday!]

Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon

Here's an excerpt for the review I wrote for the IAM Readers' Guild blog:

If a poem were picked to describe Robert Farrar Capon’s intentions for writing this book, it should be Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s verse:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.”

The title itself is not misleading – The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection – speaks plainly its intention to take us beyond the pantry shelves and cupboards full of cookbooks, promising tasty dinners and happy times.  Still, our group here in Endicott, NY was a little caught off guard, expecting recipes to inspire us as much as words and getting, instead, a complex plainness (“those who do not find me a snob will call me a boor”, p. 9) in the author’s approach to food, life and spirituality.  What we thought would be an evening of recipe sampling became instead a collective scratching of the head – was it that we were intimidated by the old-timey baking methods or just not inspired enough to take the time?

Substitute onions for blackberries. Add the verb chopping for plucking and the poet has captured the entirety of Capon’s second chapter in one free-from verse.  Capon entreats us to pay attention to the lowly root vegetable:  “You think perhaps that it is a brownish yellow vegetable, basically spherical in shape, composed of fundamentally similar layers. All such prejudices should be abandoned. It is what it is, and your work here is to find it out.”

 How could any one of us approach this ordinary task with blasphemous, willy-nilly chopping methods ever again?  We’ve seen too much to go back.  Are we really willing, though, to take the time and creative energy to approach lowly food items as an act of worship, as the author almost demands?  We’ve been ruined for the ordinary.  And we left money at the bookseller for the privilege.
read the rest here...

  • Once again, Erin's picks at Design for Mankind tickle my fancy.  Just picturing these hot-tub recliners in my tea cup makes me giggle!
Film & Television:
  • We watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox on DVD.  It's one of my favorites from last year.  If you haven't watched it yet, well...your life is lacking some lovely bits of whimsy and delight.  And that's all I have to say about that!
  • Last week I raved about Life -- the Discovery Channel's follow up series on Planet Earth. I'm not a professional at this whole writing for review genre, so here's a more eloquent summary on the show from someone who is just that.  Read her words; they're really good.
  • Yet another throw-back to last week's post:  my friend Brian Moss and his quest to get enough pledges from patrons by March 31 in order to record his next album, Prayerbook Project, no. 2.  Here's an update on his progress.  While you're there, please consider adding your own pledge to the total.  This is an excellent opportunity to be part of bringing new melodies to the Psalms accessible to church ministries and homes that are not subject to industry charts or retail pricing or the short-attention-span of the radio airwaves.  What I'm trying to say, is that it's a worthy cause and I think you should do it.  How's that for full disclosure??

Portrait of You as the Good Samaritan 
Jim B. Janknegt

I was first introduced to the work of Jim Janknegt through the Hope Chapel and Diary of an Arts Pastor blogs. I then became more familiar with his work when I discovered several on image collection CDs I purchased through CIVA.  I am fascinated with  Janknegt's technique and contemporary expressions of ancient story.  Looking at one of his paintings is like looking through the I Spy books I used to read to my children -- there's always some new detail to discover.  Someday, I would like to own one of this artist's paintings.


March was full of rich and various opportunities to experience beauty and laughter and fun and community through the arts  -- everything from a poetry reading with the 81-year-old whippersnapper, Luci Shaw to the low-down blues show with friends at the Hideout.  From enjoying the gravity-defying stunts of PUSH physical theatre to the pretension-defying music of The Welcome Wagon and Miriam Jones.  There was also that lovely refuge of a weekend with Jason Harrod and eighty of our closest friends.

As my family and church community go into the final days of this Holy Week, we look forward to opportunities for our senses and memories and beliefs and practices to be provoked through a theologically and biblically-informed and community-shaped use of the arts - music, installation, theatre, and dance.  Above all, may we grow deeper as artists into the image of our Savior who come, not to be served, but to serve.

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