Cirque d’ Soleil— Cabinet of Curiosities


When I think of the United Center, I think of the 'madhouse on Madison' where Michael and the Jordanaires won six NBA championships. It is of course Michael (my homeboy from Wilmington N.C. and a grad of UNC) whose statue stands parked at the entrance to the United Center.But on this night in August there was no basketball, for the circus had come to town. As it turns out, the circus was not in the United Center, but just behind it in a big top blue and yellow tent, and the United … [Read more...]

Eve, After the Fall


In our visit to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Degas exhibit (on which see the subsequent post on the Impressionists), there was within this exhibit a famous statue by Rodin, my favorite sculptor of the 20th century. In this statue, Rodin captures the shame and desire to hide one's nakedness perfectly, right after the act of disobedience which led not merely to self-awareness, but self-centeredness, self-protective behavior, narcissism. Sometime ago, I wrote a poem about the Fall and … [Read more...]

Am I Blue?


So we went to visit our Russian gal Yuliya in Chicago, and amazingly enough the weather co-operated. It was not beastly hot, even though it was August. There is a blue theme to this particular post, which includes our visit to Wrigley Field to pull for the Cubs, and also our visit to Briar Theatre to see the 'men in blue' by which I do not mean the Chicago police. First a shot of Chicago from the south side, where Yuliya lives.The baseball game turned out to be a pitcher's duel, … [Read more...]

Mind Your Own Agra-Business


On the way home from our visit to see our Russian daughter, we stopped at a large farm, to check out what Agra-Business looks like, about which our Kentucky poet and activist, Wendell Berry, has had much to say. This particular operation has 19,000 acres and over 30,000 cows, but it also serves as a birthing clinic for pigs, having about 10,000 of those as well, servicing about ten local hog farms. So in this case, the porcine operation has not replaced all the local small mom and pop farms, … [Read more...]

Pain—- a Christian Perspective

Pain, is of course a part of life for any fragile, mortal creature. And of course there are many different kinds of pain--- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Some people spend their entire lives seeking pleasure and trying to avoid pain. On the other end of the spectrum are people like those whom Sting talked about in his song 'The King of Pain'. Some people really believe 'no pain no gain' in a literal sense and seek it out as a path to higher consciousness, or transcendence, or etc. … [Read more...]

Pleasure— A Christian Perspective

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. That phrase, should sound familiar to Americans. For many of us, those things are assumed to be what life is all about. Especially that last part--- having freedom to pursue what makes you happy. And in a culture of aesthetes, it is often assumed that pleasure is the key to happiness, and so the more pleasure, the more happiness. Ethicists have a word for this sort of assumption about life--- eudaemonism, and really it goes back to Epicureanism. … [Read more...]

Ellis Peter’s Flight of a Witch– the Best is Yet to Come

It takes some time to become a good novelist. And honestly, it requires some mild success even with something less than a person being on the top of their form. This she had when her second Felse novel won the Edgar award. I know what it's like to be praised for something before you're really good at it, when it comes to writing. I've been there, and done that. There is then something reassuring in seeing Edith Pargeter=Ellis Peters work her way gradually to being a fine novelist.We … [Read more...]

Paul and his Recent Interpreters by N.T. Wright— Part Twelve

In the last major section of his book, Tom turns to a quarter many Pauline scholars have never explored or commented on, namely the analysis and use of Pauline material by modern philosophers. He begins (p. 308) by pointing out... "The apostle Paul has reemerged as a force on the contemporary philosophical scene. Some of the most powerful recent affirmations of nonrepresentational, materialist, and event oriented philosophies repeat topics and tropes of the ancient apostle. Paul is appropriated … [Read more...]

Paul and his Recent Interpreters by N.T. Wright– Part Eleven

The rest of the social analysis chapter (beginning at pp. 287-88) is devoted to a lengthy and useful discussion of David Horrell's contributions to the analysis of Paul, in particular Horrell’s Solidarity and Difference . Horrell is treating Paul as a ‘practical moral philosopher’ The foundation of Horrell’s book is an account of ‘Paul’s ethics as a whole’ (1), seeing Paul as engaged in the ‘formation and maintenance of human community’ (2), exploring the kinds of values a community needs if it … [Read more...]