When It’s “Win or Lose”, We All Lose

Our politic affairs have become so partisan and divisive that any advocacy, position, platform, bill, legislation, and now Supreme Court decision is bound to be the chip-knocked-off-someone’s-shoulder.  Thoughtful debate degenerates into sarcastic barbs (i.e. Justice Scalia’s superb wit has no where else to go). Understanding of multiple positions is betrayal of one’s cause.  Compromise is selling out.   Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Art and Prayer, by Timohty Verdon

P1030054Timothy Verdon provides us with half a century of his study and knowledge of Christian art in his book Art and Prayer, The Beauty of Turning to God.  After reading Culture Care on the flight west, reading Verdon’s text on the flight home kept the theme about faith and art going.  While Culture Care outlined the value of having beauty in daily life,  Art and Prayer gives the reader an appreciation of the art that has been created over centuries to enhance the meditative process. Continue reading

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P1030051Past, present, future. My history minded readers enjoy our discussions of the ages. Give us great speeches, or Shakespeare’s history plays, or Plutarch’s Lives, to debate. Let us analyze the politics of today, finding parallels to past triumphs and corruption. My nature minded readers glory at the cycles of time. Let us observe the seasons, with seeds breaking through the soil or farm animals bearing their young. Let us harvest in our generative years, before we begin to decompose, returning our atoms and bacteria to the soil and water that nurtures future Springs. My science oriented readers revel in the physics of that provide the structure for and the chemistry that energy for life. Big-bangs, black holes, god-particles, plate tectonics, hydraulic cycles rings their chimes. But, with all this activity, where does eternity come from?  Continue reading

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Brown Sign: Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

P1020506University art collections serve several communities.  Their primary mission is to provide examples for students in art majors, but students in related fields such as history can benefit.  My bias is that students in any major would grow their appreciation for their field… engineering, sciences, human and natural studies, commerce and politics… by understanding how artists have viewed images over the centuries.  Secondary audiences for university art collections include residences of the nearby communities and travelers who are looking for a place to visit other than the major sites of the regions.  That would include us, as we spent a couple of hours over at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center museum, while visiting with family in California. Continue reading

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Sunday, the Most Segregated Day of the Week

P1020758Where we live, in the Bible-Belt region of the Appalachian Mountains, in which the Civil War is still being fought on a symbolic and cultural level, we have a phrase that “Sunday is the most segregated day of the week”.  The obvious understanding of this phrase is that the European and the African-American ancestry folks pass through separate doors to worship in their own traditions.  Defacto segregation at work.  However, the separation begins on Fridays.  The local mosque calls its congregation to prayers in the afternoon.  The synagogue hosts its members on Saturdays, as do several Christian denominations which follow the Jewish tradition of observing the sabbath on Saturday.  Then Sunday morning, the Catholics and Mennonites and Brethren and Baptists and Methodist and Presbyterians and Episcopal and et al’s fill their separate parking lots and shopping malls and renting-the-school-gym churches.  But, this phenomenon of segregation hit home, literally for us this weekend. Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Cutlure Care, by Makoto Fujimura

P1020519Makoto Fujimura is quick to establish his thesis that beauty is vital to life and society, in his book, Culture Care.  He clarifies that beauty can come in formal and informal expressions.  Artists serve a role in society, but we all have talents that can become beautiful creations.   Yet, he sees a crisis in culture, which prior generations have established, and we and future generations have an option to resolve.  His life work is founded on his faith, as this guides his understanding of the origins of creation, the subsequent abandonment of beauty, the offering of redemption, and possibility of restoration of the flourishing of beauty in our lives.  He does not see this as a rainbows-and-butterflies perspective in which faith becomes an adjective of every aspect of a believer’s life, but a position of action, in which making beauty is a verb that we can and should do. Continue reading

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Theatre Review: The Blood Quilt

P1020434Quilts are composed of strips of fabric, batting, and thread. Simple items sewn together into complex patterns. Traditionally, the quilters gather cloth which had served other purposes, such as feed sacks, clothing, and linens. The thread-bare, torn, faded, and stained parts of the article can be eliminated, while the quality cloth are cut into small squares, rectangles, triangles, and arches. Following a pattern, these are reassembled, each small piece sewn with other pieces to form squares. These squares are then connected, sometimes forming a larger pattern, such as stars or rings, sometimes showing the connection between apparent dissimilar collections of squares. The quilters frame this larger pattern with a border, then add the batting between the top and bottom layer of cloth. All of these is then stitched together, with another pattern emerging with the direction of each subsequent stitch. Quilting is not a solitary task. Quilters form bees or societies or clubs. Or, families quilt together. When a lone quilter works, she generally has a person in mind for whom her gift is being created. For every quilt, there is a story. Will it be told? Continue reading

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