David Brooks says some silly stuff, but his June 14 column included a doozy even for him: "In Corinthians, Jesus tells the crowds..." The text was soon corrected to identify the letter as First Corinthians and its writer as Paul, though as of today it still has him telling crowds things. Whatever.
For most of my life now, I’ve been sucked ever deeper into various forms of Americana music. I love the simple forms and catchy tunes, the plainspoken emotion and humor, the fiddles and mandolins and banjos. In a worship context, I’m drawn as well to the music’s accessibility and its cross-generational appeal.
"Extraction companies are buying up the rights to drill on private property with unprecedented speed. At stake are geysers of money. And in the thousands of cases in which the landowner is of the Amish faith, their business partner would never dream of taking them to court should things go awry."
There were two surprising things about Hillary Clinton’s first tweet.
Clinton broke her Twitter silence this week with this bio: “Wife, mom, lawyer, women and kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD . . . .” A photo by Diana Walker showing a serious-looking Clinton in black and looking at her Blackberry through dark glasses is her avatar.
A new WaPo/Pew poll finds that 56 percent of Americans thing it’s acceptable for the National Security Agency to secretly access millions of Americans’ phone records. Sixty-two percent favor investigating terrorist threats “even if that intrudes on personal privacy.”
If you’ve been here long, you won’t be shocked to hear that I’m not impressed by a lot of what American conservatives have to say about domestic poverty. (Though I do appreciate the basic political courage it takes for an elected official to even use the word.)
But there is at least one idea from the right that I’m more or less on board with: we should be very careful about cutting the tax deduction for charitable contributions.
It’s farm bill season again. That’s right: time for our divided government to get together and reauthorize the five-year omnibus bill that affects everyone who grows, sells or eats food—or at least to go through the motions for a while before punting again like last year.
If you haven't read about Ingrid Loyau-Kennett's heroism in London the other day, you should. Immediately after the brutal murder of British miltary drummer Lee Rigby, she hopped off a city bus and talked to the killers while they stood there holding their blood-drenched weapons.
Years ago I was at a friend’s wedding. As the happy couple left the church and we all threw birdseed or blew bubbles or whatever, a family member I didn’t know scolded me for taking a spot with a decent view—apparently I was blocking the videographer’s shot.
I enjoyed Michelle Boorstein's piece of reporting on M. Div. students who aren't headed for parish ministry. She details how some seminarians seek to be ministers of a sort as part of their calling to other vocations; she also touches on the challenges of post-Christendom pastoring and the need for more flexible and affordable paths through seminary.
Somewhere in my queue of non-time-sensitive articles to write—yes, it’s been there a while—is one on the history and practice of making theologically significant changes to traditional American songs. Not just line-level edits like neutering/diversifying gendered language or using “love” in place of “wrath.” I mean re-imagining songs in a thoroughgoing way, while also preserving much of the existing imagery and language patterns. (I posted some time ago about one historical example.)
I write songs and play traditional music, but I haven’t actually tried this approach myself.
Many bands have combined minimalist composition with maximalist guitar noise. Yo La Tengo does this best, carrying on without so much as a chord change while guitarist Ira Kaplan screeches and wails away. But the trio also stands out because this is far from its only trick. YLT brings an encyclopedia of influences and a knack for moody, tasteful arranging.
I've always been immersed in music, and I never forget a song lyric. So a college friend used to call me "Verse Boy" and would ocassionally challenge me to come up with a hymn or folk song's lesser-known stanzas on command. "National anthem, verse three" he might say, and off I'd go with "And where is that band /Who so vauntingly swore..." (That one's a doozy, by the way. Compared to verse three, verse one might as well be "This Is My Song.")