Friday, August 24, 2007

Cultural Friday 5

This Friday 5 looks like a lot of fun and is brought to us by Sally at Eternal Echoes.

I have spent the week at Summer School studying the Gospel and Western culture, we have looked at art, literature, music, film and popular culture in their myriad expressions. With that in mind I bring you the cultural Friday 5.

For each of the following name one that has helped you/challenged you on your spiritual journey.

1. Book - Just one book? I've read so many books in the past 3 years for this degree that I my head spins when I try to think about it. Laurence Hull Stookey has written a trilogy of books: Calendar: Christ's Time for the Church; Baptism: Christ's Act in the Church; and Eucharist: Christ's Feast with the Church. I have read Calendar and Baptism, and Eucharist is on my list. It's hard to say what exactly about these books has been formational for me, but Calendar and and Baptism have been instrumental for the development of my own general theology and theology of worship. Baptism especially really helped me to understand the amazing depth of meaning and mystery available in this sacrament.

2. Piece of music - well, it really depends on what is singing in my head. I can think of a couple pieces that jump out at me immediately - The Brahms German Requiem is a big one. It's hard to pin down exactly what about it has been influential to me, but the words and melodies resonate in my soul, especially when I read the Scripture passages quoted. Frequently I'll hear in my head "How Lovely are Thy Dwellings" or "For All Flesh Is As Grass." Hymns and other congregational song are so important to me and I believe to the life of the church So, I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of my favorite hymns: Love Divine, All Love's Excelling - this is a wonderful exposition on the Trinity. Fred Pratt Green's God is Here - a beautiful picture of the church. A Mighty Fortress - a sermon unto itself. All in All is a favorite of our congregation and our children led the congregation in singing it on VBS Sunday. Those children truly led worship!

3. Work of art - One of my professors, Reggie Kidd introduced me to Georges Roualt and his depictions of Christ and other people (and the blurring of lines between Christ and other people) will not soon leave my imagination. I can see them so clearly in my minds eye.

4. Film - Hmmmm.... Well, I loved all the Harry Potter films and books and I'm not sure how they might have helped me or challenged on my spiritual journey but they do resonate some unending truths about life with each other and our own responses to all that is in us and outside of us. I'm just drawing a blank on any films right now...

5. Unusual engagement with popular culture - Well, I think any engagement with culture, popular or otherwise, usual or unusual, shapes who we are. We cannot be immune to change and influence from our surroundings.

Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why? ABSOLUTELY! For me, engagement indicates more than just an outward involvement (going through the motions, if you will) in whatever activity, in this case, faith, but a commitment and involvement of the heart. Intentional engagement, I guess is more what I'm trying to get at. Oh, I'm not coming up with anything succinct and deep right now so I'm just going to leave it at that.


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