Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Mixtape [the backlogged edition]

i made you a mix tape of all my favorites from this week!

That tag line should read: i made you a mix tape of all my favorites from like the past month or so!  It's been a little busy and intense around here lately as Brian and I continue to seek God's purpose for our lives through prayer and community.  We really have no idea what He's asking of us right now and, frankly, that makes me feel tired.  But, there is much truth and goodness and beauty to help me engage in moments of rest and celebration -- and, sometimes -- catharsis.
Here's some of the best I've enjoyed these past weeks:

I'm working on reviews for the IAM Readers Guild blog for the March and April selections: The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor and Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry.  I'm also trying to finish reading and reviewing Saint Patrick by Jonathan Rogers for Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze.

In other news, I was contacted by Baker Books to read and write a review for Brett McCracken's Hipster Christianity sometime this summer.  Seems like a little pattern is forming here, eh?

If the book is anything like the blog, I'm looking forward to reading it.  In the posts Brett has written during the research phase for the book I've become aware of my own skepticism concerning "cool churches".  The more honest way to say that last sentence? I physically shudder when I stumble across websites, magazines, facebook links, et al, promoting cool churches.  Last week we just got a support letter for a new "cool church" plant in our area and my stomach started to hurt just reading the name of the church (one word, of course).  Typically, physical convulsions are not the sign of a mature thought process and I'm hoping Brett's research and conclusions will help me be more discerning about what's going on underneath the hip persona of the movement.  I'm guessing there's a lot good and a little bad and I'd like to know the difference.  Anything that develops compassion in me instead of suspicion is a good thing.  Without knowing him well, I trust Brett's work to do that.  I guess I'll be letting you know sometime this summer!


  • Color Me Katie wows me again.  I have a couple of friends like her (Macia) that kind of sprinkle cheer and fairy dust everywhere they go. 
  • I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it here a few times, how proud of my sister Kaley and her now world-famous-blog Cha-Ching on a Shoestring.  This post celebrates the hardship that launched the site.  You should read it and bookmark it for the next time you're in a hard place.
  • Filed under the same category of people I'm proud of, my friend Tracy's new blog: For Such a Time.  If you like to look at pretty, creative, crafty ideas, you'll like Tracy's blog.  Her gift of making beautiful things out of random, (and I guarantee you) inexpensive supplies has, among many other ways,  been formative in the way we celebrate Good Friday at Union Center.  Here's to many happy blogging memories, Tracy!
  • Remember my new friend Jason Harrod?  We thought we were pretty stealth "discovering" this guy.  Imagine my surprise when I read that author Cathleen Falsani's known him -- and his music-- for years!  Read her words about the musicians, but don't miss her words about the song.  My own words are that the song is gorgeous and full of truth -- both lyrically and melodically.  It speaks about marriage in not so much terms that say "I wish I was in love" or "I want to be married" but more like "Hey, you married people...we need you to work at this because it adds beauty to the world".  He says it way more poetically, of course.  (you can see why I'm not a songwriter!)  So, while you're at it, get the song, too:

Film & Television:
Over drinks and chicken fingers with friends this week, my friend Beau asked me what shows I'm watching right now. I was stumped.  I guess I've been enjoying Discovery Channel's Life (although I have a few complaints with it's overly-polished audio effects and sound-biteish script read by Oprah) and the family's been laughing along with ABC's Modern Family (I know. I'm as surprised as you are by that confession), there's not much else tripping my trigger right now.  We're starting over with West Wing on Netflix. Next time we have $200 laying around  unspoken for, we just might buy this series because, dang, I love the writing on that show!

Also I cried during this movie a couple of weeks ago.

Bright Star is the story of the relationship between Fanny Brawne and John Keats. It's about poetry and romance and chastity, and if that's not enough for you you've got to watch this for the beautiful dresses Abbie Cornish (as Fanny ) gets to wear.  Oy with the gorgeousness!

The Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2

I knew it would happen. And it finally has.  I've become a big fan of Andrew Peterson's music.  First, my friend Haley Ballast began sending me clips just because she's a wonderfully kind person that way.  And, then, my friend Laura gave me his Resurrection Letters for my birthday.  Sometimes, it takes me a while to climb into music (or a book or movie or artwork, for that matter), to really hear it, you know? Life is too busy, too noisy, too needy to be entranced by subtleties.  For example, I needed to listen to and read the lyrics of the song Hosea to really begin to get it.  Then, there's the whole step of letting the lyrics sink down into my soul and polish up raggedy and unformed parts of me.  As for the song Hosanna, I've not heard a better contemporary attempt to express the  meaning of the broken crowds shouting "Save, we pray" as they laid down palm branches to the Christ on a donkey's back.

Visual Art:
Once again, Erin at Design for Mankind has introduced me to something lovely.  This is the work of Kate MacDowell and I've enjoyed every piece of porcelain sculpture I've seen.  Don't you just love the idea of nests of birds singing in your lungs as you take breaths in and breathe breaths out?  Me, too.

And how could I not love the work of someone who begins her artist statement with these words by C.S. Lewis:  We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words--to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. – C.S. Lewis.

Click here to see the rest of her portfolio.

I close this week's edition with some words I was told by a guest speaker at our church this weekend: Nothing could be more biblical than to seek out the glorious ...  
(click here if you'd like to hear his whole message on the subject of Hope.)

Here's to a new week of seeking!

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