Video installations at museums and galleries evoke fascination and unease. Often we are torn between our desire for a traditional cinematic experience and curiosity about something deliciously unfamiliar. In Landscapes, Illinois artist L. Ashwyn Collins presents overly amplified sound coupled with spare visual planes. As from a distance, we watch a solitary soul walk across one screen and return back through the other screen in unexpected close-up. The use of slow motion undermines expectation (and increases desire and anxiety). The slower the work becomes, the more viewers become aware of an interior tension. "One of the goals of my work," Collins writes, "is to unsettle the viewer's expectations and visual confidence—to make art that surprises."
Being the Jesus scholar that he is, Marcus Borg certainly understands the power of a story. In Putting Away Childish Things he offers up a didactic novel that explores some of the thorniest theological issues facing the Christian community.
What is most startling about the iconic French director Alain Resnais is not that he is still making movies at the age of 88, but that his films still demonstrate such an unbridled love of cinema and its power.
The struggle to choose the hymns for the small rural congregation I serve is a microcosm of the challenges faced by members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) as it decides what hymns and songs to include in the next Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnal and electronic resources.
The paradox of being a writer is that you are more likely to get outcomes when you let go of getting outcomes: it frees you from the ego's grip. There is a parallel here to the faith journey: seek your life and you will lose it, lose your life and you will find it.
One morning this summer I was basking in the sun With the brother closest to me in age. We had been Brought up almost as twins but then took disparate Roads, as twins do. He was sobbing and I was near Tears and the ocean was muttering. I heard a heron. We had been having the most naked open talk we’d Had in many years. I wanted to tell him how deeply I loved him but words are just so weak and shallow. So I talked about the forsythia bush we used to hide Under together. It was the safest place on the planet. The light was always amazing in there and it wasn’t Ever muddy somehow and you were draped in gold. It was a hut a huddle a tent a canopy a cave a refuge. Sometimes you have to use a thing to say something Else. We do this all the time. We talk sideways, yes? But sidelong is often the only road that gets to where You know you need to go. So much means lots more Than it seems like it could mean. Tears, for example.
John Coleman, who died recently, presided over Haverford College during the tumultuous Vietnam War era. He sympathized with students’ antiwar protests but also tried to channel the antiwar movement in constructive ways. When students considered burning the American flag, Coleman placed a washing machine at the center of the campus and encouraged students to wash the flag instead. He persuaded dozens of college presidents to sign an antiwar statement. On sabbaticals he took blue-collar jobs to explore the gap between academics and workers (Inside Higher Ed, September 12).