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Rabbit Room Wrap-up 08-29-14

Michael the GreyTonight at North Wind Manor we’re delighted to be hosting Michael Card. Mike, who Andrew affectionately dubbed the “Gandalf of Nashville,” has just published the last of his Gospel commentaries, this one on the Gospel of St. John. He’ll be at the Manor tonight to discuss the book, and more importantly the Gospel. Seats are filled for this event. If you RSVPed, don’t forget to bring a snack to share. The event begins at 7:00pm.

localshowrrJoin us at The Well coffeehouse in Brentwood next Tuesday for the first of what we hope will become a long-running tradition: The Local Show. This first show will feature Don Chaffer, Eric Peters, Randall Goodgame, Sandra McCracken, and at least one special guest. The Local Show will take place every other Tuesday in September, and then we’ll ramp it up to EVERY Tuesday night in October. You never know who’ll show up, so you may as well come every chance you get. Tickets are $12 in advance, and $15 at the door. If you’re a Rabbit Room member, just flash your card at the door and you can get in for only $5.

writing classJonathan Rogers has just unveiled a writing seminar he’ll be leading called “From Memory to Story.” It takes place on Thursday October 10th from 10am-3pm so if you’re coming to Hutchmoot this is a golden opportunity to come a little early and get a little more out of your time in Nashville. Here’s how he describes the course:

“You have a story to tell–many stories, no doubt. You need to tell your story, not only to be understood, but in order to understand yourself. In this one-day seminar on the short memoir, Jonathan Rogers will help you find your voice and shape your memories into written stories.”

Click here to visit the website and get all the details.

Theater Les MiserablesDavid Bruno fears he may have permanently scarred his children by exposing them to Les Miserables a few years too early. But might some scars be worth carrying? We should clarify that we’re talking about the theater production here; No one will ever be old enough to avoid being scarred by the movie abomination—and those are definitely not the sort of scars you want to be saddled with. Read the entire affair in “Comic Parenting Guilt.”

White stoneWe had an excellent guest post from Shannon McDermott in which she discusses how the Wingfeather Saga has taken old superstitions about names and naming and used them for better ends. The piece is called “A Superstition Transformed” and it’s a worthy read. Sadly, however, it does not address why my wife has forbidden me to eat any animal we’ve named (our chickens for instance—good thing we don’t name the eggs).

BOSSRuss Ramsey has taken a step into true manhood by committing an entire year of his life to the music of the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Not only does Russ now have more hair on his chest, he’s also got a little gravel in his throat, and way more hats hanging out of his back pockets. He’s written this great post about the experience, and I have it on good authority that he plans to dedicate next year to Lita Ford.

violin lightSarah Clarkson, student of Oxford University, was in London recently when Britain observed the anniversary of their entrance into World War One. This post about her experience at a concert that evening is extraordinary. Don’t miss “Light Eternal in London.



Light Eternal in London

A little over a week ago, my brother Joel and I forayed out into the darkling streets of nine o’clock London to catch a late concert at Royal Albert Hall.

We wanted to stave off the end-of-trip rue attending our last night in London by filling it with music. Solemn, startling music as it happened. When Joel discovered that it was John Tavener’s Ikon of Light we were slated to hear, he was quite enthused. Even I, with a far lesser knowledge of classical or choral music, was glad to find that this was the concert on offer. Oddly enough, I had encountered snippets of Tavener here and there and found his choral music arresting, if not always easily accessible.

photo 2We barely made it in time, fairly sprinting from the Tube stop to the doors of the Hall, sinking into our red velvet seats in a summer flush just as a voice summoned us to settle in for the opening of the concert. The lights dimmed a little as the host for the evening, a calm man in a dark suit, took the stage and addressed us with quiet, engaging gravity. I was still breathing hard, trying to collect breath and body into stillness, distracted by the rustle and thump of the fidgety audience. I was only half aware of the introductory comments, but the man on stage seemed almost to reach up and touch me, abruptly, when he spoke these words:

“In tonight’s piece, one must think of the string section’s part as the cry of the soul, its reaching toward the light. And the answering choir, as the voice of the light itself.”



The Year of the Boss

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” —Jesus of Nazareth

Several years ago I decided that I was going to give Paul Simon my undivided attention. For reasons I cannot explain, I had never really listened to him beyond what I heard on the radio and MTV back when MTV played music videos.

Since so many of my friends regarded Simon as one of their favorite songwriters, I decided I would download the iTunes Essential Paul Simon playlist and listen to nothing else for at least a month.

I was immediately taken in by the brilliance, complexity, and originality not just of the music, but of the artist himself. Paul Simon has been a consistent treasure in American songwriting for over five decades. I find that amazing.

Early this year, I decided I would do for Bruce Springsteen what I had done for Paul Simon. This would be The Year of the Boss.



A Superstition Transformed

[Editor's note: Say hello to Shannon McDermott. She wrote this piece after reading the Wingfeather Saga and she's agreed to let us use it here as a guest post. Thanks, Shannon.]

Outstanding among those beliefs that are universally characteristic of the religion of superstition is the conviction that “a man’s name is the essence of his being” (one Hebrew text says “a man’s name is his person” and another, “his name is his soul”). —Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition

There’s an old superstition that names are powerful. Many cultures have believed that to know a person’s name is to have power over him, or to be freed from his power. The principle has been extended to the supernatural, with people seeking to conjure up the power of gods, angels, and demons by invoking their names.

Like all superstitions, this one shows both fear and a desire to control. Magic, real magic, has made great use of it; sorcerers, too, believed in the power of names. From the eleventh century come reports of witnesses – “learned and trustworthy men” – who claimed “that they had themselves seen magicians write names upon reeds and olive-leaves, which they cast before robbers and thus prevented their passage, or, having written such names upon new sherds, threw them into a raging sea and mollified it, or threw them before a man to bring about his sudden death.”

This idea has endured in folk tales – most famously in Rumpelstiltskin – and is now an established trope in modern fantasy and even, on occasion, sci-fi. Despite its various disreputable associations, it has a presence in Christian fantasy.



Comic Parenting Guilt

The inaugural Hutchmoot in 2010 was something else. All the speakers were amazing. Walter Wangerin, Jr. was masterful. Months later, Wangerin visited San Diego to see the premier of the Lamb’s Players Theatre production of his The Book of the Dun Cow. Chauntecleer and Cockatrice battled it out above the stage suspended by theatrical wires. It was awesome.

There is a small café next to the theatre and during intermission Leanne and I sat chatting with Walter Wangerin. We mentioned Hutchmoot.

“You’re some of those young musicians then,” he said.

“No, just fans of the musicians, and of writers like you,” we replied.

I added, “Clearly, you have never heard me sing.”

We discussed writing and his writing process and publishing and some small talk I cannot remember anymore.

The mission of Lamb’s Players Theatre is to “tell good stories well.” It’s one of the most simply stated mission statements I have ever read. Over the years we’ve spent quite a bit of time at Lamb’s and so have experienced their mission statement in action. They fulfill their mission with abandon. When Les Misérables made the lineup for Lamb’s 2014 season, I knew we had to take the kids.

Our oldest daughter saw the movie. That’s one of my major parenting regrets, that I took her to see that royally stupid movie before taking her to the theatrical production. Just one more topic to discuss with her therapist some day. “So then Eponine sings, ‘…a stranger’s just a stranger…’ and like literally a stranger walks right by her. And I am wondering, what am I missing? Tom Hooper must think I’m like an imbecile.” “Hmm. So, your parents took you to see the movie before the Broadway production?” “Yes.” “We’re going to need at least three more sessions,” says her therapist jotting something down on a yellow legal notepad.



The Evangelizing Power of Beauty

Next Thursday, Joseph Pearce, renowned biographer of Christian literary figures such as Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton, is giving his inaugural lecture as Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College. The lecture is entitled “The Evangelizing Power of Beauty: Converting the Culture,” and it will rely heavily on the work of both Lewis and Tolkien.

Sounds like interesting stuff, and it’s free to the public. We hope to see some of you there. For more information about the lecture, visit the event page at Aquinas College’s website.



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