Dec 13, 2013
Art selection and comment by Lil Copan
It was a simple oak table adorned with plain dishes and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables.” So begins Roger Hutchison’s book The Painting Table: A Journal of Loss and Joy, a combination storybook and guide, inspired by a table left to him by his grandmother. Readers are invited to paint while they explore grief, loss and relationships. The gift of the table is one that Hutchison, canon for children’s ministries at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina, passes on to people of all ages in schools, churches and community groups. In response to his work, painting table groups have formed across the country.
How many gadgets are de rigueur these days? I’m considering upgrading from my “dumb phone” to a smart phone, and I’m tempted to try an e-reader. At the same time, I’m troubled by the unspoken reality: we gadget people are an elite minority, a society of first-world people who have access to a network and its benefits that others don’t have. Or do we really believe that the entire world will soon be “like us,” connected into one happy progressively social network?
Twelve Years a Slave pulls no punches. As a white southerner, I found myself objecting that it couldn't have been as bad as this all the time. But these horrors happened, and we have yet to face them squarely.
This soot-dark smear across the brow, between the eyes, will lead you, if the way be clear, through all the endless winter of our year, toward an elemental table, the tears and savage hubbub of that agonizing garden, the treacherous courtyard, hilltop, nails and spear, the cry, the dark descending fear, and then another garden with a cave and such an austere emptiness will fill the rest of history with clear resounding alleluias.
At least half of churchgoers in the United Kingdom claim they’ve heard their church organist occasionally slip in unexpected tunes, from popular songs to advertising jingles and theme songs from TV programs or movies. Sometimes organists are motivated by playfulness, other times revenge. One organist played “Money, Money, Money” by Abba while the offering was taken. Another played “Roll Out the Barrel” at a funeral for a man known for his drinking. (The organist got sacked for this transgression.) An organist in Scotland at odds with the elders played a thinly disguised version of “Send in the Clowns” during the procession in a worship service (Telegraph, May 3, 2013).