Friday, March 21, 2008

It's Springtime in Minnesota!

My driveway on the second day of Spring, 2008.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Larry Norman and G.K. Chesterton
Dale Ahlquist, founder of the American Chesterton Society and acting czar of the Twin Cities Chesterton Society, offers this 2005 interview with LN regarding GKC and other matters contemporary Christian. Troubled soul and controversial though he was, Norman is intellectually impressive and quite perceptive about the state of things in popular Christianity in this Gilbert Magazine piece. Regarding Father Brown (GKC's detective protagonist):
...But when I began reading the Father Brown volume, I realized that nothing is more natural than a Christian doing detective work.
GM: How’s that?
LN: Because that’s what each of us is called to do; to search the scriptures, and test the spirit, and follow the light. In essence, to become a converted believer is a miracle beyond our intention. But to carry on from the cross and find out what it means to be a Christian requires that we sleuth our way through the misdirection of modern religious culture and uncover the crimes of our own heart and amass the evidence against ourselves so that we can throw ourselves upon the mercy of the court, which is God’s own unconditional love. So in the end, there is no penance required for our conversion itself, though we may continue to pay the price for our previous choices.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy(?) St. Patrick's Day!

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

—William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reading and Listening, (Not Much Watching)

Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola, George Barna
More in-depth analysis will follow, but finished this one in a few sittings over 2 days with great interest. Off the top impressions: A lot of sacred cow tipping, most of it legitimate and even refreshing, some of it perhaps unnecessarily picky (the chapter on the modern concept of Pastor and how that function even in Reformed and evangelical tradition has devolved into a de facto priesthood class is spot-on and powerful, whereas the chapter on the pagan roots of dressing up for church seems less convincing); voluminous foot-notes and references make up for the deficiency of same in Barna's earlier (and related) title Revolution; a little broad-brushing of church history in order to make the case, which is generally a good one; the only alternative offered for "doing church" is house church—a credible one but I still think there are other models that adequately dispense with most of the dispensable excesses of modern American evangelicalism.
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
Again, this time for discussion at the Twin Cities Chesterton Society meeting in March. The book is 100 years old this year, and more timely and relevant than today's paper. The introduction alone is a hoot. The chapter entitled The Suicide of Thought is worth the price of the book. My daughter Katie (19) has now joined the eclectic company of Chestertonians meeting at the University Club in St. Paul. Cool!
The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper
Getting ready for Easter, 50 reasons why Christ had to suffer and die. Biblical, devotional, wonderful.

Brandi Carlile The Story. A perfect mix of electric alternative and old finger picking (!?!) from a twenty-something Seattle song-writer. The title track is electrifying.
Tommy Emmanuel The Endless Road. Takes acoustic finger picking to unbelievable heights.