My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

03 January 2006

Short Notes

Hello again. I hope you had a great Christmas!

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Here is the Christmas sermon on Christ's geneaology in Matthew 1:1-17

mp3
pdf (not working just yet)
mp3 @ Sermonaudio.com (where we have a new site - see link on right)

The idea behind a different place to post audio sermons is twofold. We hope it increases exposure to those looking for a reformed church in Lafayette and the sermonaudio files are usually compressed more and make for a faster download - in case any of you are still in dial-up land.

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Please also check out Pastor Long's sermon from Sunday, "Walking by Faith." Of all the challenges I can foresee in church planting, walking by the flesh rather than faith is at the top of the list.

mp3
pdf

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Clued in by a couple staying at the same bed & breakfast, the lovely wife and I took the opportunity to go to the Indianaoplis Museum of Art to see the Arts and Crafts exhibit. I hope to do some more reading and looking into the philosophy behind the movement, but I can wholeheartedly recommend that you go see the exhibit. Although it is pricey for those of us with real jobs, you college students can get in free (!!) - how could you pass it up? It would be a great finish to your break from school.

Here's the museum's short take on the origins of the movement:

The Arts and Crafts Movement originated in Great Britain in the 1880s as a response to the Industrial Revolution and its machine-dominated production. Led by theorists John Ruskin and William Morris, the movement promoted the ideals of craftsmanship and individualism along with the integration of art into everyday life. Arts and Crafts principles changed the way people looked at the things they lived with—from teacups and spoons to tapestries and stained-glass windows—and resulted in a new respect for the work of individual craftsmen.
Interesting stuff, huh?
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Short book reports:

Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts, by Steve Turner

As I continue to work through some ideas in this field, Turner's short book seems like a great introduction. While far from comprehensive, I appreciate the general way he thinks about Christian involvement in the arts. Mostly, he sums up this vision by the phrase "being there" - that is, we need men and women who are faithful Christians in every area of life living and working in the field of the arts. Turner wisely doesn't recommend one specific path, realizing that different Christians will be involved differently in the arts; rather, he encourages artists toward faithfulness in their Christian walk and thoughtfulness in how they live as a Christian in the arts.

Another section I appreciated was Turner's excellent critique of contemporary Christian music. As a poet and music critic working in the "secular" industry, he has some rather stinging comments on why most Christian music is really, really lame. The pressure to make every song about Jesus and happy-happy-joy-joy stuff has crippled many good musicians from making any serious music. Turner does present some good examples of men and women who have written, sung, painted, etc., about all of life, from a Christian worldview. Perhaps the most interesting example is U2 - while maybe not your taste theologically or musically, they do present an interesting case study of Christians engaging the world thoughtfully and artistically.

Anyhow, it's a pretty decent book; though not as comprehensive as Art & Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts, it sets a good foundation and may be easily read by folk not in the "industry."

Shelf Life: How Books have Changed the Destinies and Desires of People and Nations

Despite the imposing title, this book is short enough to read in 2 or 3 hours. It is an enjoyable collection of quotes and essays on the importance of reading and good books. Compiled by George Grant and his wife, the book does not hesitate in going over the top rather quickly. That is to say, it's a rather hyperbolic and exuberant trip through the world of reading and the reader.

Grant's essays include finding and rejoicing in good bookstores, creating an environment at home which nourishes reading rather than video-viewing, reading to kids, and essays on the homes of other ridiculous readers like Churchill and Roosevelt. There are also several pages of "lists" (and lists of why lists are important) toward the end, revealing several attempts to create "must-read" lists of modern western literature. I freely admit that I only recognize half the authors and have probably only read one or two books on each list. Much work remains.

Those of you who read occasionally may find a little giggle here and there, but this book is really soul food for the bibliophiles among us, those who smell books when they get them, have stacks of books around the home and believe they make great decorations, buy books we may not ever read and don't lose a minute of sleep over, etc. Perhaps some of you ought to read this book just to find out why other people are the way they are.

Grant will not create a love for reading in you if you have no spark of it already; but if you a reader, even a nominal one, this might well push you over the edge.


4 comments:

Alicia said...

Welcome back! I printed Dave's sermon out.

BJ said...

Right on about U2! Bono may have some ideas that seem quite "out there," he puts his music where his mouth is and writes skillful, engaging music that actually has some substance. Switchfoot's new album is also a move towards this. Some have criticised the group's lack of, as you put it, "happy" Jesus songs; however, Christian life isn't always happy or easy, and I like their edgier sound. Food for thought.

Josh said...

Turner's book was breath of fresh air. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I read it b/c of an interview Derek Webb gave and he recommeded that book.

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