All posts tagged “Sandra McCracken

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Repaso: January 18, 2013

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1. Writing in the morning
Roxana Robinson shares her morning writing routine in the New Yorker:

On a good day, I’m caught up by something larger than myself, held in the light by some celestial movement. For a brief charged time I may be irradiated, able to cast a shadow version of something I only imagine. The shadow will never be the bright true self that I know exists, but it will be as precise as I can make it, as real, as sharp, as beautiful. I will cast this shadow into the air, where it may never be seen, or where it may be seen at a great distance, and only by one person, someone I will never know. The point is to cast the shadow out into the air. I start in, tapping at the keyboard, setting down words, hoping that the light will catch me up.

2. Whispers of faith in literature
Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image, had a nice piece in the Wall Street Journal late last week:

Today the faith found in literature is more whispered than shouted. Perhaps a new Flannery O’Connor will rise, but meanwhile we might try listening more closely to the still, small voice that is all around us.

3. Fixing (or failing to fix) Haiti 
Last Saturday marked the three year anniversary of the big earthquake in Haiti, and AP reporter Jonathan Katz has an important new book out about what has gone wrong in the recovery process. The Economist also has a piece taking a look at the situation, and it’s not flattering:

Billions of dollars of aid were pledged to Haiti after the earthquake, amid much talk about “building back better” and working with—not around—the government so as not to perpetuate the “Republic of NGOs”. But according to reports from the Centre for Global Development, a Washington think-tank, and the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, many aid pledges were unfulfilled. And in practice, most of the money that was disbursed went to a handful of international bodies, which mainly spent it on temporary relief (tents, shelters, water-tankers and so on) and the salaries of expat staff. Grand schemes to remake Haiti came almost to nought, partly because they lacked local input: outsiders have finally come round to the view of many Haitians that what is most needed is speedy and cheap housing.

4. 125 years of National Geographic
The Big Picture has a collection of photos from National Geographic dating back to the early 1900s to commemorate its 125th anniversary, which was this Sunday.

5. Dynamite
If you haven’t heard Sandra McCracken’s new record Desire Like Dynamite yet, you need to. Read this great interview with her, and watch this acoustic version of one of the new tunes.

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

[Image credit: National Geographic via The Big Picture]

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Repaso: November 23, 2012

1. The measure of meaning
Last week Sandra McCracken released her latest record, Desire Like Dynamite, and (along with the new Indelible Grace project) it has provided a wonderful soundtrack for our return visit to Lancaster for Thanksgiving. She shares some of the album backstory here, in particular what she’s learned from poet-farmer-essayist Wendell Berry:

This is my great hope and belief about art: it is culture-making. Do with it what you will. Poetry can change people. Story can change the world. Global good starts as tiny as a Truffula seed. And if the sun and the bees and the rain and the birds give us their graces, we could have ourselves a harvest of renewal by summer’s end.

2. Wanting to be made well
Marlin Vis, who lived among Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem for five years, writes for Think Christian:

“Do you want to be made well?” This was Jesus’ question to the man laying by the pool of Bethzatha, where he had been for 38 years. Stop with the excuses, Jesus told him. Stop blaming your situation, stop blaming the angels in heaven or the devil in hell or anyone or anything else for that matter. Pick up your bed and get out of this place of sickness and despair. Do you want to be made well or not? Until the Israelis and the Palestinians want healing more than they want killing, the rest of us are doomed to helplessness.

3. On Sandy and art loss
I’m a little late in including this one this week, but artist Mako Fujimura writes movingly about the experience of learning what was lost – and what was saved – in the storm:

When you are a professional artist, meaning that you are making a living off your work, you do learn to say good bye to your work every day. That is what it means to be making a living. A friend recently told me that this is similar to a farmer not getting too attached to animals that will be slaughtered. Not a pleasant thought, but appropriate, somehow, as the art is feeding us, and my attachment cannot be too deep either. But the attachment to your creation IS deep and abiding. No amount of rational persuasion will change the depth of my pain as I heard the list of works destroyed.

4. Call to action on creation care
Members of the Lausanne Movement – theologians, church leaders, scientists, and creation care practitioners – have been considering what the gospel has to do with creation care. They’ve issued a call to action based on two primary convictions. Here’s the first one:

Informed and inspired by our study of the scripture – the original intent, plan, and command to care for creation, the resurrection narratives and the profound truth that in Christ all things have been reconciled to God – we reaffirm that creation care is an issue that must be included in our response to the gospel, proclaiming and acting upon the good news of what God has done and will complete for the salvation of the world. This is not only biblically justified, but an integral part of our mission and an expression of our worship to God for his wonderful plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. Therefore, our ministry of reconciliation is a matter of great joy and hope and we would care for creation even if it were not in crisis.

5. Africa for Norway
As one with Norwegian blood, I sincerely appreciate this:

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

[Photo credit: boston.com]

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Repaso: Evangelical Anglophilia explained; doxology & desire; pastors & their people; Kristof goes to church; Kuyper mindmap; Tom covers Bob

1. Why American Evangelicals love the British
Molly Worthen has an interesting post at the new Religion & Politics blog (tagline: “fit for polite company”) about people like us and why we’re so hung up on guys like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and John Stott. We Americans apparently have an intellectual inferiority complex, for one thing. Whether you buy all her arguments or not, it’s a good read. Here’s a bit of what she has to say about Stott:

John Stott represented British evangelical moderation at its very best. He spent much of his career advocating dialogue among evangelicals, Catholics, liberals and charismatic Christians. He recognized early on that the center of gravity in global Christianity had shifted to the developing world, and worked to break down the ethnocentric mindset of evangelicals in Europe and North America and convince them that preaching the Word and fighting for social justice were two sides of the same coin… Just as Tolkien and Lewis baptized the world of myth, magic and fantasy for evangelicals whose churches had long proscribed such things as demonic, John Stott helped evangelicals recover a capacity for compassion and civil conversation that was lost in the fog of the culture wars.

2. Doxology and desire
Sandra McCracken makes amazing music and she also happens to write beautiful essays, like this one at Art House America:

So with each passing day, I am becoming more attuned to the particular DNA I have from each of my parents — biology and theology — pushing me forward on the journey of conservation. I might be unqualified, but everybody has to start somewhere. Rather than burying my head in the sand like I am inclined to do, I have to lean into my discomfort. I’d rather deepen my longing, not assuage it. And I look to the great hope that all things will one day be restored and renewed. I want to honor and care for God’s creation not because of a marketing team pulling on my checkbook, but because of a doxological pull that tugs on my conscience.

3. Pastors and their people
I’ve decided I want to read everything Rich Mouw has written. I first read this and then this and, most recently, this. In a recent essay at Faith & Leadership, hosted by Duke Divinity School, he writes about the gap between the worlds in which pastors and their congregants live. He describes a conversation with a successful businessman who lamented the fact that his pastor didn’t understand the challenges he faced day to day:

I have thought much about that conversation. If I were that man’s pastor, what could I do to speak more directly to his felt needs as a businessperson? One thing I would not do is to preach detailed sermons about economics. My lunch partner made it clear that he was not asking for that kind of thing, and I agree with him. What this person was asking for was more sensitivity to the kinds of complexities he faces on a daily basis — a reasonable expectation. And his pastor could respond to this need in helpful ways without becoming an expert on corporate finance.

4. Kristof and Hybels have a chat
Last Sunday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was interviewed by Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Church about oppression against women and opportunities to right those wrongs. It’s a fascinating conversation, and the 40 minute video is (for the moment, at least) here. If you’re interested, here also is my review of Kristof’s book on the subject.

5. Wisdom & Wonder mindmap
Fellow Kuyper nerds will be interested to see this amazing mindmap by Steve Bishop of the first four chapters of Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art. It all makes sense now.

6. Tom covers Bob
Some of you may have seen this already, but during a stop in Nashville this week, N.T. Wright picked up a guitar and played a Bob Dylan song, citing its “wonderful biblical imagery” and its solid eschatology. What a treat (though, admittedly, this might just be evidence of my own Anglophilia).

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

[Photo credit: a man lights his pipe and enjoys a pint at the Eagle and Child, where The Inklings met to plot goodness - via amazon.com]