“Cocktail Theology”: William Dailey

at First Things: That brings us to the most important spiritual aspect of cocktail culture: hospitality. Those people coming in off the streets, coming into churches and taverns, what do they seek? Home. What truly excellent pastors can help to provide for the wayfarer is a taste of the home that is promised us with our Maker, though of course we will never feel quite at home this side of the kingdom. But the work of helping people to feel a bit less estranged, a bit more comfortable in their … [Read more...]

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All Theology Is Prison Theology: A Couple of Links

A little while ago I used a Michigan case about videoconference sentencing to explore the theology of the body of the defendant. Here Mississippi attempted--and then retracted--some wrongheaded theology of the family of the incarcerated: Family and friends of Mississippi state prisoners were surprised and alarmed by a new policy announced Wednesday that bans all but immediate family members from visiting. According to a memo posted in state facilities, “this excludes ALL friends, pastors g … [Read more...]

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“Ecstatic Dance”: I review “The Fits,” A Stunning Film

review at First Things: Anna Rose Holmer's extraordinary new film The Fits begins with a young girl whose body obeys her will implicitly. “One,” eleven-year-old Toni (Royal Hightower) counts, as she pulls herself into a sit-up in the very center of the frame. “Two.”She works her body, grunting and gasping and twisting just a little with the effort, all the way past twenty. Then it's time to box. She spars with her older brother (Da'Sean Minor): She is a child, a disciple. She helps him clean … [Read more...]

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“Art Matters, Even When You’re Poor”: Alison Stine

in The Nation--this is short and powerful all the way through: ...Not long ago, in the midst of making what I thought was a couch fort, he made his own art gallery. He turned the biggest cushion on its side and taped up his creations to the fabric. He’s also done an “installation” in which he taped greeting cards, string, an odd piece of paper from a grocery bag he cut out himself, and small toys to the wall. He did this after seeing me arrange my own postcards on the wall of our rented place, t … [Read more...]

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Amy Welborn on Church Art, Devotions, And Sacramentals as Works of Mercy

with a powerful story of grief and the Stations of the Cross: ...So, yes, mercy. How does it happen? How does God communicate his mercy and love to this hurting world? Through us, and in many ways, first and most importantly through one person’s outreach to another.But also, this:To construct churches that tell the story of Jesus through their design, art and even just their very presence among us, standing firm in the midst of the city or as a quiet faithful herald on a country road; t … [Read more...]

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“Farewell, Christmas fair and free!”: A Candlemas Carol

beautiful: February 2 is Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification, so here's a medieval Candlemas carol.Revertere, revertere, The queen of bliss and of beauty.Behold what life that we run in, Frail to fall and ever like to sin Through our enemy's enticing; Therefore we sing and cry to thee: Revertere, revertere, The queen of bliss and of beauty. more! and why not follow Eleanor Parker on Twitter? … [Read more...]

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“The Sinner Teodora” Takes Viewers Inside a Romanian Women’s Monastery

Last night I watched "Pacatoasa Teodora" (The Sinner Teodora), an elliptical documentary by director Anca Hirte. It follows a young woman named Teodora as she prepares to make her final vows (? this was not a documentary big on explaining situations or helping the viewer) at a women's monastery.This is a haiku-like, compressed film, with lots of overlapping conversations about nothing in particular and lots of very tight close-ups on Teodora's lips or eyes. It's a sidelong glance at monastic … [Read more...]

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