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Sad Stories Told for Laughs: Nancy Guthrie

Besides being the author of more than a dozen books and contributing regularly to The Gospel CoalitionNancy Guthrie is a much sought-after speaker and retreat leader. She and her husband David live in Nashville where, she says, “life is less about professional pursuits than about the ordinary aspects of being a wife, mother, friend, and follower of Jesus, with clothes to wash, e-mails to answer, and a friend to listen to.”

When I caught up with Nancy, she had just returned from a harrowing visit to the sinus surgeon.

How was the appointment?

Well I learned something new—the vagal response. Know what that is?

Is that where you sneeze when you look at a light?

No. It’s when you faint in reaction to a stressful trigger (at least that’s what Wikipedia says since I had to look it up after my doctor left the room).

So you went vagal at this appointment today?



Live @ North Wind Manor: Encountering Ephesians

A few years ago at Hutchmoot, we introduced you to Stephen Trafton’s “Living Letters” series of performances with Encountering Philippians. Stephen is an actor who has performed on Broadway and all across the country in shows like Les Miserables and the Phantom of the Opera, and in the last few years he’s turned his considerable talents toward bringing Scripture to audiences in exciting, engaging, and imaginative ways. His Encountering Philippians show was so successful he followed it up with Encountering Colossians (which we also brought to Hutchmoot), and now we’re delighted to be able to host the premiere of his newest show, Encountering Ephesians, at North Wind Manor.

d8d521_5513ba40d2ea42919def230f1d19324e“What is a Living Letter?” you might ask. Good question. These performances are best described as dramatic presentations of Paul’s epistles. Stephen sets the stage by giving the audience the context of the letter, by casting the audience itself as the 1st century Church, by drawing out characters and conflicts, and by setting up the narrative that leads into Paul’s message. And then he acts out the delivery of the letter itself (word for word) allowing us to hear it and see it with fresh eyes and ears. He’s quite literally incarnating Scripture, clothing it in flesh and bones so that it can walk among us. It’s a powerful experience and one we can’t wait to share with you again.

The performance will take place on Friday, February 26th at 7:30pm at North Wind Manor on the south side of Nashville. There are only 30 seats available. Admission is free but we ask that you bring a snack to share and consider a donation for Stephen and his ministry. Living Letters is a ministry department of Artists in Christian Testimony International,  a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible.

If you’d like to attend this intimate performance, please RSVP to pete@rabbitroom.com and I’ll confirm your spot and provide the address.

For more information about Living Letters, or to book a performance in your area, visit the website here.



Here’s to the Snowstorms

Winter and I got off to a bad start last year. I spent much of my first New England winter waiting out four blizzards with a broken arm and wondering if I’d ever see green again. So this year? This year, I’ve been determined to enjoy, or at least appreciate, the darker months. Here’s the story of our one lone snowstorm (so far)… stay warm and look for the beauty!

***

Here’s to anticipation
because meteorologists are not clairvoyant.
We know that. Everyone knows that.
But we are people of plans and details
and we crave prediction, accuracy
 right down
to next Thursday’s temperature at 2pm.
So there’s the woman on TV
with the announcer voice,
the man with the Doppler radar
throwing out guesses and models.
The consensus is nobody knows
so go ahead, get your bread and milk.

Here’s to the week before
when every bright day is a gift
of cloudless blue and bare trees
that seem etched into
the sheer face of sky.
So deceptive when you’re indoors,
because how can the cold
be so beautiful? You run errands
without a coat, and remember
yes, there are some days
even the sun can’t thaw.



The River Fox Is Coming

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Getting To Know Jon Troast

My first contact with Jon Troast was via e-mail. He was a stranger to me, but I was writing about him and his music, so we started getting acquainted. The parenthetical portion of a particular sentence in that first email caught my eye: “I’ll send you a Dropbox link to my latest EP, titled ‘E’ (I’m working my way through the alphabet).” He does know there are 26 letters, right? I thought, remembering how Sufjan Stevens planned to record an album for each of the 50 states and managed to only get through Michigan and Illinois.

My second contact with Jon Troast was during the Local Show Special Edition concert at Hutchmoot 2015. He was introduced by Andrew Peterson, who mentioned that he heard Troast had done something like 100 house shows in 100 days for 100 dollars each. Peterson paused, mentally crunching numbers, and beamed an almost conspiratorial smile. “That’s ten thousand dollars!” Troast smiled back, and said, “Yeah, for over three months of work.” I marveled, bluntly reminded of the cost of making music. I wondered if he had any days off, and how much his gas cost, and how on earth he booked all those shows, and then I was jarred back to the present as Troast sang.



We Carry Kevan

I first met Kevan Chandler a few years ago when I sat down with him at Baja Burrito to talk writing and publishing. Kevan’s an author, a podcaster, a voracious reader, a movie lover, and a man of rare wit and humor. It’s been a delight to get to know him since that first burrito, and I’m honored to consider him a friend. Every time he’s in Nashville, we try to get lunch. He’s always got something new and interesting up his sleeve, and just a few days ago he launched his latest adventure.

This is an adventure unlike any you’ve come across before. Let me explain.

It began a while back with Kevan’s dream of going urban spelunking—that’s fancy-talk for exploring the sewer network under a city. Now, not everyone is fit for urban spelunking—but that goes double for Kevan. Why? You see, Kevan has muscular dystrophy. He only weighs about sixty-five pounds, has no use of his legs, limited use of his arms, and relies on a wheelchair (and friends) to get around. Urban spelunking provided a real challenge.

But with the help of his friends, he overcame that challenge. He explored a network of city sewers while being borne in a backpack. It was a beautiful picture of friendship and service, and it gave Kevan an idea: Where else might he be able to go, if only he had someone to carry him?

So was born the “We Carry Kevan” campaign. And this time he’s going a lot farther than the local sewer.



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