The Mask of Obedience

Last year I wrote this really scattershot, unsatisfying post about "The Beauty of Obedience," rescuing obedience as a positive term and a category you're allowed to care about. I recognize that that post was not the tightest thing I've ever written, and in fact, I'm still kind of flailing around trying to talk about what a positive vision of obedience might look like, but here are yet more extremely scattered thoughts.I've been thinking about that terrific phrase, "the mask of command," and … [Read more...]

High Command: Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in (and on) “Trapeze”

I've watched a few movies lately which I haven't posted about here. My one-line review of 1952's underworld soap opera Casque d'Or is basically, "Simone Signoret eats cheese off a knife. Thanks France!" Slightly longer review: Signoret is sultry in a layered performance; she's great at conveying irony and intelligence with just a quirk of her lips.Even more fun was last Saturday's adventure, 1956's Trapeze. It's playing again this Thursday at AFI, so you can catch it on the big screen! It's … [Read more...]

Snow Day Thoughts

A series of points too small for a real post.* While I was in Boston for the US National Figure Skating Championships (of which more later!! THEY WERE SO GREAT) I also got to go with Ratty to the Museum of Fine Arts. It has some terrific Spanish painting from the Counter-Reformation era--I love this stuff, even in the court paintings you feel like you can smell the blood. The only thing that glows is the flesh of the Crucified. There's an extremism which I think some people find wearying but … [Read more...]

“Short Term 12,” A Long-Term Memory

The new indie drama Short Term 12 looks like one of those well-meaning, poignant, emotionally powerful films I would never, ever want to see. It's about a very young white lady named Grace (Brie Larson) who works with kids and teens in foster care; she begins to heal her own inner wounds because of the unexpected connection she forges with a sullen, angry white girl in her care. Despite several unrealistic elements, the movie creates incredibly compelling characters and beautiful, potentially … [Read more...]

“Drawing Down: How to Roll Back Police Militarization in America”: Radley Balko

writes: ...Today in America, SWAT teams are deployed about 100 to 150 times per day, or about 50,000 times per year -- a dramatic increase from the 3,000 or so annual deployments in the early 1980s, or the few hundred in the 1970s. The vast majority of today's deployments are to serve search warrants for drug crimes. But the use of SWAT tactics to enforce regulatory law also appears to be rising. This month, for example, a SWAT team raided the Garden of Eden, a sustainable growth farm in … [Read more...]

Nun Is the Loneliest Number: “Black Narcissus”

Last week I saw 1947's Powell & Pressburger convent fever dream Black Narcissus. It's set in the high, windswept mountain peaks of India (with requisite "half devil and half child" native caricatures, so just know that going in--I really liked the blunt old lady though), where an iron-spined young Anglican nun played by Deborah Kerr tries to run a convent in a former house of concubines. It's stunning to look at, of course, and I am not kidding about the "fever" aspect of this dream: It … [Read more...]

“Did You Go to Passion 2013? Here’s What Fyodor Dostoyevsky Would Say to You”

(if he were a blogger, I guess? but no, some good stuff here) I will never forget the advice given to me a few years back by an older, wiser friend who had just planted a church near my hometown. I, as an eager gotta-do-it-yesterday college kid was (and am) excited about church planting. But my friend said to me something to the effect of, “These are not your best years of ministry. Spend this time learning, listening and maturing”. This has stuck with me, and the burden of training, maturing an … [Read more...]


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