The handprint of Dan auerbach is all over this bluesy-gospel offering from Valerie June, who is already making waves in the U.K.
I came across a comment from Julia Child on Twitter the other day (@rorysutherland). She was asked what kind of wine she liked, to which she replied, "Gin!" Don't always allow the question to define the answer was Sutherland's takeaway from her comment. I couldn't agree more. All too often questions are way too loaded, so loaded that the answer is anticipated, expected even--questions like this are something of a trap. I think about the encounters that Jesus had with his detractors whose questions were often front-loaded with assumptions, expectancies and agendas--to answer the question as anticipated would have done no-one any good, I doubt that it would have even satisfied the questioners--because they probably weren't looking for the answers anyway, they just wanted to hear their own opinions spoken back to them.
I was watching a video of Rob Bell in a bit of an intense conversation with another bloke in England, where he was being pressed to answer a specific question--which he did well to not answer--he actually kept trying to re-direct the conversation, not, it seemed to me anyway, to avoid it, so much as try to take the conversation into less predictable, cul-de-sac territory. This got him nowhere, except to a place of frustration. I found it sad to watch (even though I felt rather proud of him for being willing to take hits), mostly because, as he rightly declared--this kind of bullshit is what keeps people away from churches.
I realize I am probably a long way from Julia Child's original comment, and a fair distance away from Sutherland's interpretation in talking about this in theological contexts, but that is where I live and it is where the comment resonates. Certain questions comes with certain answers. For instance, in Rob's conversation, which, if you haven't heard, was essentially about homosexuality, the other guy, Andrew somebody, I forget right now, seemed to reduce his sense of all things gender down to genital activity--that is what he kept coming back to again and again--and of course, the issue isn't as simple as genitalia and bedroom activity--except of course, it is, if you live with a certain set of questions and answers.
I would go as far as to say I think we need to lay some questions aside completely--they aren't the right ones to be asking anymore, they were borne of a different time, a different set of criteria, and yes, I do think many questions are contextual and that they become burdensome when the context shifts. I don't say that because I want to avoid certain questions or am afraid to answer things in a forthright manner, its just that I think its time to move past some of them.
Julia Child's reply was a reminder that the world is bigger than one kind of beverage, there is, if you will (with all apologies to the French), more than wine to be drunk--and when it comes to theology, there isn't just one easy, prescribed and expected answer to every set of issues--that's why perhaps Jesus constantly answered a certain question with another question--they were looking for wine, he was drinking gin!!
Twenty-four years ago, this image flashed on tv screens around the world. it immediately became in iconic image--one brave man staring down a row of tanks--an image that many Chinese have yet to see aparently, even though it happened in Tiananmen square in the heart of Bijing. Student occupation of the square, heading a populist protest against the government, which had continued for seven weeks, turned deadly when martial law was declared and the military moved in--estimates of the death run anywhere from hundreds to thousands. It was termed a 'counter-revolutionary riot' by the powers that be, and the dis-information machinery kicked in. It continues to haunt the the Chinese government so much so that according to the radio today, they apparently blocked any internet search that included the words, six or four and any other references that might lead a citizen to information about an event that the government would like to keep quiet.
Fax machines were used to send information out and spread the word during the protests--thats how long ago it was--a different communication age--before cell phones, before the web, before facebook, instagram, twitter, and all the other modes of communication that would be employed today. Twenty-four years and it seems like a century ago, the world has changed so much in so many ways, and yet remains the same in others. 1989 was one of those years--a few months later citizens of East and West Berlin were allowed to cross into separated parts of the city for the first time in decades and within a year the wall came tumbling down--the protests were stifled, many were imprisoned and sent to re-education camps, but the effects remain today.
A six-story plastic duck has been floating in Hong Kong harbour for weeks now--the work of a dutch artists who created it as a symbol of fun and peace--it is another of the search engine blockages the chinese government has enacted--mainly because of images like the one below. In the Internet age, you just can't keep tabs on everything, and this image still threatens.
I've been hanging out with some frequency with my friends, Tripp Fuller and Bo Saunders, participating in live podcasts of their woldly successful Homebrewed Christianity podcasts. We usually so them at Monkish Brewery, or some other, establishment purveying the brewed nectar which is the lifeblood of Mr. Fuller, but this past Memorial Day, we did a somewhat impromptu podcast in Tripp's backyard. Musical guest was Bill Mallonnee, whose songs about America and insightful repartee are a great combo. I talked with Tripp and Bo about music woirth knowing about this year, and we got into a fairly intense and broad conversation about music in general. The show is slated to go online in the next week or so and I think we may have another larger, live event in a couple of weeks--check in one the site to stay informed.
Every year for the past five or six years I have eagerly awaited the arrival, in the post, of the latest Feltron Report. Nick Felton, the man behind the project, publishes an 'annual report of his life.' It's essentially an info-graphic of everything that he has done in the past year. Useless information really, but it is presented so creatively that I find myself enthralled by the information contained in the report.
Ottmar Horl makes subversive little statues--garden gnomes, birds, all kinds of things. and for a recent project, hundreds of Karl marx statues in vrious shades of red. Fun, I want one, they are not that expensive, so maybe I'll save up and get one. He also makes statues of Martin Luther,