The world will
always be fascinated with Vincent van Gogh. It doesn't matter that his
sunflowers are on mugs, t-shirts, calendars and billboards, or that
psychologists have spent years studying every facet of van Gogh's emotional and
The Chatelet Apprentice, by Jean-François Parot.
I've been re-invigorating my French with the mystery novels of French diplomat Jean-François Parot.
(Several titles are available in English.) As police commissioner Nicolas Le
Floch works to solves crimes in 18th-century Paris, author Parot expands the plot
with descriptions of the era's culture, political intrigues and haute cuisine.
As Dominique Strauss-Kahn,
former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, tries to find a nicer place to stay than
Riker's Island, the French media are busy unraveling the shock bite that came
with an accusatio
I like the energy and talent in our praise group, but invariably I'm the one who asks if the bass player could turn
down his amp. I've also been known to ask if we could sing more songs that let
Jesus down off of the cross.
While on retreat recently, I picked up Patrick Leigh
Fermor's A Time to Keep Silence. I
was making my own transition from noisy life and noisy mind to four days of
retreat when I came upon Fermor's description of his retreat at a French
monastery in the '50s.
"In the ordinary course of human affairs countries churn slowly.
. . and then there are moments of special upheaval, when empires depart, when
ideologies rotate. . . . India was in the midst of such a moment. The meanings of
destiny, family, love, class--of what it means to be Indian--were being defined
anew by millions of people, all at once."
True Grit has
a lot of competition in the upcoming Oscar award night, February 27. It's not
expected to win big, although it's been nominated for ten awards. Before
the attention fades, however, I want to cast one more vote for the western
remade last year by the Coen brothers.
Eugene Peterson's new memoir, The Pastor, will be out in February (Century subscribers can read the excerpt from the book
in the February 8 issue.) If any pastor has claimed the vocation, it's
Peterson, who has grounded and inspired pastors for many years with books that
include Under the Unpredictable Plant
and The Contemplative Pastor.
a new year, with new opportunities to banter around familiar clichés such as
"taking time on the journey," cultivating "spirituality but not religion" and
"going on retreat." Most of us agree that solitude is key to all of these
endeavors, and that solitude is a good thing.
to do the Advent thing, I thought last Saturday night as my husband and I
prepared to study the Annunciation passage with an adult ed class. My mind went
to the hope that I'd be able to get away for a day or two this Advent season and
do some hiking, reflection and prayer at a retreat center.
I'd like to see this award-winning journalist's book read by
all Christians--from evangelicals who believe that their life's calling is to save
souls to those Christians who, while denouncing proselytizing, feel called to offer
compassionate, practical aid to those who need help. For either of the above
missionary types, Griswold dispels illusions. She is fearless in following a story
into the most remote village, and wise in her understanding of how religions
collide and inflame and exacerbate volatile situations.
A few weeks ago I traveled to Detroit with
friends who wanted to show us their hometown of Wyandotte, Michigan, just south
of the city. We stayed in a former Navy officers club on Grosse Ile, walked
through Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, then drove in to see a baseball game.
Back in the '70s when Steven Apfelbaum told his mom he was
studying for a degree in ecology, his mother didn't know what to think. Unable
to accept or perhaps even understand this new specialty, she told friends that
"Little Stevie was going to be a veterinarian." She wasn't the only one
Walk along with Century contributor Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and her husband Andrew
Lars Wilson as they retrace the journey Martin Luther made from Erfut, Germany,
to Rome in 1510—500 years ago this year.
“Today, we live with this illusion that we know the world," says
William Dalrymple. "The reality, of course, is. . .that there's huge
parts of the world which we know absolutely nothing about, particularly
in areas of religion and philosophy." For most of us, India is one of