No spoilers, please!

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My kids hate spoilers more than anything, and it’s all my fault.  A few days ago, I heard my son talking with his friend, when out of nowhere, he exploded, “WHAT?! I can’t believe you just did that!!”.  Naturally, I rushed over to check for blood or bruises, only to find out that this friend had spoiled the ending of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ by implying that Smaug was not killed at the end. “But you’ve already read the book…you already know how it ends!” I said. Owen replied, “I know, but still. I wanted to see it for myself.”  Read More

Clothed in Mystery

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After being out of town for a couple weeks, I climbed the stairs to my apartment, dropped my suitcase to the floor, and noticed the light had changed. The sunlight no longer blared with cool blues and purples; it filtered through thin chloroformed leaves leaving fluorescent green slatted across my wood floors.

Even now I write this in the light from my laptop screen. An unchanging, medical light of pure white. My cursor blinks with black insistence to cover the light with words.

When Justinian rebuilt Hagia Sophia, after conquering Istanbul and overthrowing her Islamic rulers, he sought to fill the halls with a holy light. Small windows circle the dome so closely set it appears to be floating. Under the dome, our position is not fixed; we are awash in illusionary light and shadow.

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Is it art?

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There’s an American artist; his name is John Baldessari. In 1973 he mounted two photographs of a pencil on a board. Beneath these photographs is his hand-lettered story of this pencil. So I look at this work and I wonder how it ever made its way into a gallery. It’s certainly no Mona Lisa; it’s definitely no Sistine Ceiling. Is it art? I’m not sure. I suppose if it is art it is because Baldessari causes us to reflect (at least for a moment) on the actual nature of art. Art expresses skill, and art expresses emotion, but art also reflects change. Clay is molded, wood is carved, stone is chiseled, words are arranged, a pencil is sharpened. Something rough is made into something more beautiful, or more useful, or more provocative, or all the above. Art speaks of transformation and sacrifice. Even the dull pencil had to give up something. Did it hurt? Probably. Read More

Explaining Up vs. Explaining Down

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The 17th century theologian and poet François Fénelon is quoted to have said,

There was nothing in me that preceded all [God’s] gifts, nothing able to receive them. The first of His gifts on which all the others rest is what I call “myself.” He gave me that self. I owe Him not only all that I have but also all that I am. Oh incomprehensible gift which our poor language expresses in a moment but which the human mind will never arrive at understanding it and all its depth. This God, who has made me, has given me myself to myself. The self I love so much is simply a present of His goodness. Without Him I would not be myself. Without Him I should have neither the self to love nor the love wherewith I love that self, nor the will that loves it, nor the mind that knows it. All is a gift. He who receives the gifts is himself to first gift he receives.

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Coming Undone

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Just the other day I was paralyzed by these words:

“What would you do differently, you up on your beanstalk looking at scenes of people at all times in all places? When you climb down, would you dance any less to the music you love, knowing that music to be as provisional as a bug?. . .If you descend the long rope-ladders back to your people and time in the fabric, if you tell them what you have seen, and even if someone cares to listen, then what?”