Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Duke Divinity School celebrated the installation of Dean Richard B. Hays on Aug. 31 with a performance in Goodson Chapel of The Holy Sonnets of John Donne by Benjamin Britten.
Dean Hays, the 12th dean of Duke Divinity School, introduced the public performance with reflections about the theology of Donne’s Holy Sonnets.
Elizabeth Byrum Linnartz, a lecturing fellow in Duke’s Department of Music, was the soloist and also presented a lecture on Britten's expression of mood and meaning prior to the musical performance. She was accompanied on piano by Jeremy Begbie, the Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology at the Divinity School.
The concert marked the first event of the year for the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts, which Begbie directs. The event was a collaboration of DITA, the Divinity School, and the Duke University Department of Music.Learn more.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Treasures of Heaven // Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe @ the Cleveland Museum of Art
Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe [at the Cleveland Museum of Art Oct. 17] offers visitors a unique glimpse of the Middle Ages, a time when art mediated between heaven and earth and wondrous objects filled churches and monastic treasuries. Relics—the physical remains of holy men and women, and things associated with them—were especially important to the development of Christianity, which emerged as a powerful new religion in the Late Roman world.]
Sorry I didn't get this posted ahead of time, but I just learned about this very cool event that just made a quick tour of the Triangle area. Old & New/Bold & Blue: The Art of the Harpsichord--"Music meets museum in a multi-media presentation," with a harpsichord builder, a painter and a harpsichordist. Very cool. Learn more here, and check out the trailer of The Birth of the Harpsichord below. -- Sarah
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
More info/submission guidelines
Full Article Here // Excerpt Below
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Kafka's Last Trial // The unbelievable publishing story behind one of the 20th century's greatest writers
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Jewish Prayers Are Modernized in New Book // Awesome vs. Awe-Inspiring, Bowels, Hip Hop and Updating Prayerful Language
During the Jewish “Days of Awe,” culminating with Yom Kippur, many Conservative Jews will be turning the pages of a prayer book that no longer regards God as “awesome.”
The word, which has become an all-purpose exclamation that spread from Valley Girls to much of American teenagerdom, has lost its spiritual punch and dignity, say the authors of a new book for the High Holy Days that tries to bring the prayers in tune with contemporary times.
The authors prefer “awe-inspiring.”
“If you say God is awesome, you are immediately in street language, rather than inspiring language,” said Rabbi Edward Feld, who headed the committee that over 12 years wrote and translated the new book.
The first thing I thought about after reading this article was the song "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins. Somehow that song still imparts to me something of the original meaning of the word "awesome"--maybe it's the dramatic use of the flat-7 chord (sorry, music geek here). But at what point do English words get so emptied of their forcefulness that they are no longer useful for the same things?
Say we were to update the hymns and prayers in the United Methodist Hymnal. What sorts of changes would we make? I can think of one particularly amusing change that already has been made. One of my favorite hymns (and a lesser-known one) is "Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown." It is a wonderful hymn written by Charles Wesley. Here's how one verse goes in the current edition:
’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy mercies move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.
Lovely, right? Here's the original of the last two lines:
To me, to all, Thy bowels move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.
Good grief! Was Chuck (as my worship professor affectionately calls him) referring to God having a bowel movement?! Well, no--as it turns out, an archaic English use of the word "bowels" meaning great depth or a gut feeling of yearning or compassion (per this book, excerpts of which are available on Google Books). That's great, but it's not really practical to pause during a hymn to explain strange wording that probably already has a few more irreverent types (myself included) rolling with laughter. It's almost too bad, because if you think about it, "bowels" gets at a sort of physicality of God's love and mercy that just doesn't come out in more abstract terms. But moving bowels now evokes images of porcelain and bad magazines, so the change is absolutely worthwhile.
On another note, in this article, Rabbi Feld sets up a contrast between "street language" and "inspiring language." When might the two be one? What do you think about things like The Hip Hop Prayer Book by Timothy Holder?
Seeing "New Beauty in the familiar, both near and far" // NASA unveils topographic photographs of the moon
Wired Science has posted some incredible images from NASA of the first complete topographic map of the moon. These magical images also serve a practical function. They create a way of seeing and analyzing the formation and development of our solar system by way of its craters. Our planet has a shared history with the moon: “Among other things, the map confirms theories of an onslaught of massive asteroids around 3.9 billion years ago that likely evaporated any water present on Earth at the time.”
There’s a lesson here too. If we point our lens at something a bit nearer to us — whether it’s an interstellar object or the neighbor next door — we just may learn something about ourselves, and our future. Or at least we’ll see new beauty in the familiar, both near and far.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA) have issued a call for papers that New Creation became aware of just this morning. The question that the papers are to be in response to is: "Why Have There Been No Great Modern Religious Artists?" The deadline for submissions is October 1st. Details below from the ASCHA's website: [special note: the focus here seems to be solely on the visual arts]
Many of the most prominent and celebrated artists of the 20th century have employed religious themes, iconography, and forms in their work. However, many have been ignored, dismissed as aberrant, or condemned as an improper combination of incompatible traditional and avant-garde values. We seek 20-minute papers for a Symposium to be held day prior to CAA meeting in New York Feb 8, 2011 that examine specific examples of art from the 20th century employing religious subjects, symbols, and contexts. Paper proposals of no more than two pages double-spaced should be submitted with a cover letter and c.v. by Oct 1 to James Romaine (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rachel Smith (email@example.com). It is hoped that symposium participants will also contribute to the development of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art. Also see: http://christianityhistoryart.org.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Reynolds Theater (Bryan Center)
There will be a fund-raising performance featuring The Resurrection Dance Theatre of Haiti, an internationally recognized dance troupe of orphans, former street children, and child slaves from Haiti. The young men are affiliated with the St. Joseph Family, which was formed under the leadership of Michael Geilenfeld 25 years ago to bring street children into a Christian family setting. Two of the family’s three homes that housed over 55 children were destroyed in the January earthquake. The dance troupe is touring the U.S. and Canada to raise awareness.
Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for Duke faculty and staff, and $5 for students and senior citizens. All proceeds will benefit the St. Joseph Family in Haiti.
Read Miracles Beyond Miracles in the Spring 2010 edition of DIVINITY Magazine to learn more about the St. Joseph Family.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Masterpieces 35,000 years old, now in 3-D // Werner Herzog's new documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"
Full Article Here // Excerpt Below
by Michael Cieply
TORONTO — On Monday night here, 3-D may have found its future in the distant past. Certainly, Werner Herzog broke some ground by screening a new documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” in 3-D.
“Cave of the Forgotten Dreams” is an examination of the paintings in the Chauvet Cave of Southern France. Discovered in 1994, the paintings are believed to be 35,000 years old. Only a handful of scientists and care-takers have access to the cave, but Mr. Herzog was permitted to shoot there.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Full Article Here // Excerpt Below
by The Associated Press
A Muslim stonemason who spent nearly four decades helping to restore a Roman Catholic cathedral in France has been immortalized as a winged gargoyle peering out from its facade — with the inscription "God is great" written in French and Arabic. It was conceived as a symbol of inter-religious friendship that reflects the city of Lyon's links to its large Muslim population.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Welcome To The End Of The World // The film-makers who risked their lives to document the atomic bomb
The blast from one detonation hurled a man and his camera into a ditch. When he got up, a second wave knocked him down again.
Then there was radiation.
While many of the scientists who made atom bombs during the cold war became famous, the men who filmed what happened when those bombs were detonated made up a secret corps. Their existence and the nature of their work has emerged from the shadows only since the federal government began a concerted effort to declassify their films about a dozen years ago. In all, the atomic moviemakers fashioned 6,500 secret films, according to federal officials.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
As violent protests broke out in corners of Afghanistan yesterday over a proposed Koran-burning by a lunatic fringe pastor who doesn't seem to realize he is putting Christian-Americans all over the world (not to mention the future of his country) at risk through his vitriolic speech and threatening actions; as American Muslims continue to ask the question "Will we ever belong?" (even to the degree that they once did in America pre-9/11); amidst the ridiculous debate surrounding a "Ground Zero Mosque" (a term hyperbolically reinforced by none other than Fox News) where apparently an Islamic Cultural Center containing a prayer room (which is not even actually a Mosque!) is not suitably respectful of the hallowed ground but where topless bars (The New York Dolls Gentlemen's Club and The Pussycat Lounge) less than a block away are apparently quite alright and which, as Nicholas Kristof notes in the case of The Pussycat Lounge, "says that it arranges lap dances in a private room, presumably to celebrate the sanctity of the neighborhood"; amidst all this divisive din and painfully absurd clamor, it has to strike any Christian interested in the potential of the arts as a reconciling, healing, and re-imagining force (when properly deployed) that perhaps there are ways (albeit usually small ones) that the arts can assist in mending the frayed and fraught relationship between Christianity and Islam. No doubt the future of Christianity (as well as America and the wider world) depends in no small measure upon how this strained relationship is handled in the months and years to come.
So where do we begin? One place to start thinking about potential answers to this question can be found in a previous New Creation post from this past January 2010 where the proposal of a "Festival of Abraham" was discussed. Although the author of that original New York Times Op/Ed proposing the Festival would like to see it happen on an incredibly large scale (ideally in Jerusalem and now it looks that it may well occur the not-so-distant future in Istanbul), there seems no reason why smaller versions of it couldn't pop up on college campuses, coffee shops, and in cultural centers across the nation and around the world in order to start the healing and reconciling with one's neighbors who live just around the corner, as well as those who live half-way around the globe. It's just the beginning of a response to New Creation's latest searching query which we invite you to urgently reflect upon: How can the Arts assist Christianity in reconciling with Islam?
Friday, September 10, 2010
The Pathways service meets in the fellowship hall, and the latest contribution of the worship arts group has been a tree placed at the front of the space. This is the "worship focus tree," and attention has been drawn to the tree in the context of Jeremiah 17:7-8b, "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water... It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green." It is a real dogwood tree cut from the yard of a church member, with die-cut leaves attached to the limbs.
The plan is for the tree to change with the liturgical seasons, and along with it the worship focus. The worship arts group will continue to brainstorm and produce means of creating a worship space whose focus is reinforced visually in connection with the Scripture. What do you think of OUMC's worship focus tree?
Is he the keeper (or extinguisher) of Modernism's flame? // Gerhard Richter's "Lines That Do Not Exist" at The Drawing Center
Art-world types obsessed with painting’s supposed endangered status point to Richter as a keeper of the modernist art-for-art’s-sake flame, a true believer. Others take the distinctive coolness of his art as proof of his skepticism toward virtuosity, originality, expressivity, all the qualities that modernism holds dear.
One reality seems fairly clear. At present, the fashion for work that is ideologically overdetermined in meaning, political or otherwise, has passed. We are now in a phase of retreat from easily readable content. And Mr. Richter’s career offers a model for how to build art on ambiguity.