While on occasion I find it helpful when blogs I read cite other blogs, usually I prefer something more substantive from the blogs I read. But then, on occasion I violate that rule. I'm doing that now, and yet I hope that it's more than just a collection of cites, as I give it some content.
- In light of my recent trilogy of posts paying tribute to vinyl records (see Vinyl Pleasures Parts 1, 2, and 3), Kristin Chapman cites a recent Pew study that says that 82% of consumers still prefer old-fashioned CDs. Her own post indicates that she prefers downloading because "it’s fast, easy, and I only have to purchase the songs I like rather than getting stuck with all the songs on a CD." Just my point! How do you know what you like unless you listen more deeply and patiently? Songs in major keys with bright, sunny chorus are ear candy --- they immediately captivate us. Other songs that are denser, more complex, or in minor keys do not usually have such immediate magnetism and yet may hold greater treasure. Technology is shaping our listening habits and not for the better. She's asking for comments, so give her one here.
- In "Creative Collaboration," Jill Carattini gives us a meditation on the communal nature of the creative process, noting that "creativity in all its forms--even in the simplest acts of living and acting--is inherently an interactive process." She links that observed truth to the doctrine of the trinity, in that the act of creation was, for God, a communal project --- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For more on this, read Dorothy Sayers' Mind of the Maker, and consider the great songwriting partnerships which have existed, like Rogers and Hammerstein, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Lennon and McCartney, and the Sherman Brothers. The Sherman Brothers? Yes. Two very funny guys who wrote the memorable songs from Mary Poppins and other Disney movies. A very funny and enlightening insight into their creative process is contained in an interview at the end of the soundtrack for the movie, in its 2004 enhanced, special edition reissue. Wouldn't you like to know how they came up with "Supercalifragilisticexpealidotious?" It's like listening to the Car Talk brothers. I will say that the most creative times I have enjoyed when writing have been when I had a nice balance of reflection and interaction, of being alone and of being with people. But this just isn't for creative people (for artists) but is an idea that carries over to all of life. We need both solitude and community. And by the latter I mean face time, not virtual interaction. Somehow, in these times, we have ended up with a dearth of both.
- Max McLean writes about how much fun it was to play the devil in the dramatic adaptation of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, which has played in both Washington, DC and New York. The inverted world of the book takes some getting used to, but this literary strategy helps, us does all good art, in telling the truth in a subtle, indirect way and thereby sharpening our understanding of it. As McLean summarizes: "The Screwtape Letters is a metaphor for one of Lewis’s basic theological ideas. As described in Mere Christianity, this world is “enemy-occupied territory.” Screwtape may be the ruling demon in one district. He has ruled effectively for many centuries with “unbroken success.” By exposing him, Lewis hopes to free other would-be patients from his grasp by escaping into the loving arms of the demon’s “Enemy.” The most recent run of the play was sold out, but you can see a video segment of the performance. Let's hope it has another run.
- It's Bob Dylan's 67th birthday today, and Craig Burrell offers a little tribute here with a video of his 1964 performance of "Chimes of Freedom" at the Newport Folk Festival. This reminds me that I have bootleg recordings of a concert he did in Toronto during his "gospel period," with gospel singers, preaching, and more. Wow. Can you imagine how fans would have felt? They often booed him. Listen to what he said about that: "Years ago they... said I was a prophet. I used to say, 'No I'm not a prophet' and they'd say 'Yes you are, you're a prophet.' I said, 'No it's not me.' They used to say 'You sure are a prophet.' They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say 'Jesus Christ is the answer.' And they say, 'Bob Dylan's no prophet.' They just can't handle it." By the way, I'm not one to question whether he is still a Christian. I think the "gospel period," when his songs were more blatantly spiritual, was just a confessional phase he passed through. He's never disavowed his faith. Perhaps the second volume of his autobiography, Chronicles, to be released later this year, will enlighten us. But don't count on it.
- In a recent post, I told you about an upcoming missions trip I am taking with my family to Kaihura, Uganda. The mission, called Embrace Uganda, now has a blog. I'm not sure how active the blog will be, as I did not create it, but at least it will provide some basic information about the trip. You can access the website or blog to keep up with planning for our trip. And you can (please) pray for us!
Well, enough ruminations! Maybe some of the above will give you food for thought or action. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, and yet remember that the day is a memorial. Perhaps these words of Abraham Lincoln, part of his Gettsburg Address, will help you:
"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."