Homecoming Magazine recently ran an entire issue on faith and literature and one of the centerpieces was Gloria Gaither’s interview with Walter Wangerin Jr. in which they discuss his new book, Everlasting Is the Past, the Rabbit Room, and a whole lot more. Here’s an excerpt:
GLORIA: Walt, how have you been? I haven’t heard from you in forever, and it makes me sad.
WALT WANGERIN: I am … stable. The last time I went to the oncologist, it seemed that all levels were the same. I was about 160 pounds, and that time, I stayed. Every other time, I was losing weight. So the last report—good.
GLORIA: Stable, good. Well, it’s been a long time, and I was so excited to get your new book, Everlasting Is the Past. Can I tell you how excited I am that you published it with the Rabbit Room group?
WALT: I had met one of the singer/songwriters, and then several years back I was invited to speak at one of their seminars. I thought they were just wonderful! How they went about things, their youthful enthusiasm … their Christianity is not cloying at all. Anyway, I decided to help them.
GLORIA: Andrew Peterson has been a friend, and he has taught twice at our Songwriting Intensive that we do here in June, and he’s just one of my favorite people. It’s deep and broad content writing … and the other people in that group seem to be on that wavelength, so that’s a good thing.
Read the entire interview at the Homecoming Magazine website. Everlasting Is the Past is available in the Rabbit Room store.
If you signed up for this year’s gift exchange, don’t forget to send a gift! We don’t want to have to blacklist any bad Santas!
Of all the books I’ve read this year, there’s a single standout that has found a comfortable home among all time favorites like Godric, Jayber Crow, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Lord of the Rings. It was written by an Anglican priest named Robert Farrar Capon, it’s called The Supper of the Lamb, and it is, of all things, a cookbook—or a “culinary reflection” as the subtitle would have it.
Some of you may recall that Evie read a passage from it before Saturday’s dinner at Hutchmoot 2012, and one day either Jonathan Rogers or I will give a full account of its greatness. Today is not that day and this is not that post. But I’d consider it unforgivable to let Thanksgiving week and its many feasts go by without a mention here of so fitting a book. If there was ever such a thing as a “Thanksgiving book” then surely this is it. Equal parts cookbook, comedy, theology, liturgy, and poetry, it’s a book that somehow encompasses almost every aspect of life, and the life to come, and does it all within the context of food.
I’m going to shut up now and quote a piece of it so you can see what I mean (it bears mentioning that this passage follows immediately upon an argument for the joys of belching and a citation to be read over the magnificence of baking soda).
Travel safely this week. Give thanks. Enjoy the feast.
“For all its greatness (trust me—I am the last man on earth to sell it short), the created order cries out for futher greatness still. The most splendid dinner, the most exquisite food, the most gratifying company, arouse more appetites than they satisfy. They do not slake man’s thirst for being; they whet it beyond all bounds. Dogs eat to give their bodies rest; man dines and sets his heart in motion. All tastes fade, of course, but not the taste for greatness they inspire; each love esacpes us, but not the longing it provokes for a better convivium, a higher session. We embrace the world in all its glorious solidity, yet it struggles in our very arms, declares itself a pilgrim world, and, through the lattices and windows of its nature, discloses cities more desirable still.
You indict me, no doubt, as an incurable romantic. I plead guilty without contest. I see no other explanation of what we are about. Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry, or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself—and it is our glory to see it so and thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetittes, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.”
And, finally, a benediction from Chapter 15:
“I wish you well. May your table be graced with lovely women and good men. May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfactions of maturity. May your men wear their weight with pride, secure in the knowledge that they have at last become considerable. May they rejoice that they will never again be taken for callow, black-haired boys. And your women? Ah! Women are like cheese strudels. When first baked, they are crisp and fresh on the outside, but the filling is unsettled and indigestible; in age, the crust may not be so lovely, but the filling comes at last into its own. May you relish them indeed. May we all sit long enough for reserve to give way to ribaldry and for gallantry to grow upon us. May there be singing at our table before the night is done, and old, broad jokes to fling at the stars and tell them we are men.
We are great, my friend; we shall not be saved for trampling that greatness under foot … Come then; leap upon these mountains, skip upon these hills and heights of earth. The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it. The longest Session of all is no discontinuation of these sessions here, but a lifting of them all by priestly love. It is a place for men, not ghosts—for the risen gorgeousness of the New Earth and for the glorious earthiness of the True Jerusalem.
Eat well then. Between our love and His Priesthoood, He makes all things new. Our Last Home will be home indeed.”
Last year I published a couple of short stories via Kindle, the first being The Timely Arrival of Barnabas Bead, but let’s face it, digital reading isn’t half as fun as real reading. So as of today I’m making this first tale available in paperback, an adorable little novella-sized paperback. Joe Sutphin has been kind enough to provide eleven awesome, original, and never-before-seen illustrations for the story, which is now available through the Rabbit Room Store for just five bucks.
A lot of folks have asked if these stories are related to the Fin Button books, and the answer is yes . . . sort of. I’ll trust readers to figure out what I mean by that. Enjoy!
Edit: Names have been drawn! Check your email for your assignments!
It’s almost Christmas time (Really? Yes.), so it’s time to get the 2015 gift exchange in gear. This party has gotten a bit unwieldy in the last couple of years, so we’re changing the way we administrate it this time. Please see below for instructions.
Have fun folks! Watching this thing unfold is always one of the highlights of my year.
What is the Rabbit Room Gift Exchange?
It’s a “secret Santa” program. Everyone who wants to participate signs up, then we pull names out of the virtual hat, and everyone gives a gift (or gifts) to the person whose name they receive. You can remain anonymous if you wish, or you’re welcome to be as open as you like.
How much should I spend on a gift?
We’ve set a suggested gift value of $30. We’d love it if you bought your gifts in the Rabbit Room Store (this is a great time to share your Rabbit Room wishlist—click here), but you don’t have to, and we encourage folks to give creative gifts, something handmade maybe, something you made maybe. Be creative! But please ensure that the gift you give is something you’d value at about $30. You’re welcome to lavish your recipient with more if you like. (And please feel free to disregard the wishlist and shopping options built into Elfster—see below.)
Where do I sign up?
The link at the bottom of this post will take you to the Elfster website where you can sign up for the exchange. The site is a little clunky (and we hate the ads) but the exchange has gotten so big in the last couple of years that we need to use a system like this to administrate it effectively.
What if I don’t get a gift?
We urge everyone to be sure they mail or deliver their gifts well in advance of Christmas Day so that no one feels left out. However, should your Santa drop the ball, please let us know on or after January 1st. We’ll do our best to remind them and resolve the situation, and if necessary, we’ll make sure that person cannot participate again next year.
Can I be a backup Santa?
Yes! You can! If you’d like to make yourself available in the event that someone doesn’t receive a gift, please let me know via email at email@example.com. We hope you won’t be needed, but we’d love to have your help if the situation arises.
When will I find out who I’m giving a gift to?
Sign-up starts right now. The sign-up deadline is Monday, November 23rd, and names will be drawn on Tuesday, November 24th. NO LATE ENTRIES will be permitted. If you miss the sign-up window, you’ll need to wait until next year—this isn’t because we’re mean, it’s because it’s a closed system that cannot be amended once names are drawn. Everyone who enters will receive an email with their target’s name and address on Tuesday, November 24th.
Any other questions? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Have fun!
And please use the comments section to introduce yourself. You might also want to let folks know what your interests are and what books and music you like in order to give your Santa some hints to work with.
A lot of books have come across our desks, and to date I think we’ve published seventeen titles—every one of which reveals the nature of the Rabbit Room in its own unique way. But until now I don’t know that any single book has so completely fulfilled our dreams for Rabbit Room Press.
We’re proud to have been a part of making The Last Sweet Mile a reality. This is why we do what we do. The Last Sweet Mile is now available for pre-order, and will be released on December 1st.
If you were at Cardiff State’s album release show at North Wind Manor a while back, you saw Flo Oakes and her daughter perform this live. It was one of the highlights of the night. Check out their stop-motion Lego version. Everything is awesome.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I only just woke up.
Okay, that’s not quite true. But it’s almost true. Hutchmoot 2015 was just about as good as I could have hoped for, and I heard a lot of people say that they thought it was the best moot yet. I agree—which means I’d better get to work on HM 2016 right away lest someone be disappointed come next October.
I’ve already seen quite a few people sharing experiences and reflections on Facebook and Twitter, and I want to use this post to invite you to share them here as well. We want to collect those those thoughts in once place where everyone can have a chance to enjoy them. So leave us a comment. Let us know what you thought about the weekend. If you blogged about it, post a link. If you took pictures, post or link to those as well. We’re looking forward to hearing what you all took away from Hutchmoot 2015.
Thanks for the great weekend. I loved every minute.
It’s going to be a busy week. There’s a Hutchmoot coming.
Starting tomorrow, upwards of 70 staff and 150 attendees will begin traveling from around the world (literally) to convene here in our neck of the woods for four days of music, literature, good food, great conversation, and sweet communion. Our 30+ speakers are hard at work putting the finishing touches on a fantastic array of sessions. Walter Wangerin, while in relatively good health, will be traveling from northern Indiana, and I know travel is hard on him. Chef Lewis Graham is taking a deep breath and getting ready to jump into an insane four days of back-breaking work, and so are the many volunteers that are on their way to help him. Kate Hinson is descending on the church with a van full of decorations that she’s spent all year carefully thinking about and assembling. Other volunteers are about to start loading books and boxes and tables and chairs and (metaphorically and literally) setting the tables for the arrival of our guests. Musicians are rehearsing and thinking about which of their many songs are perfectly suited to play to this specific audience. Sound engineers are counting microphones and cables and trying to figure out how to make it all work flawlessly. I feel a little like one of those old guys you see in baseball movies—the ones quietly chalking the field in the big empty stadium as they make the last preparations before all the noise of the big game erupts.
I believe spiritual warfare is a reality. I believe the enemy is not only real but smart, and I believe when he sees the forces of light maneuvering for a push through the lines, he’s not foolish enough to let it go unanswered. So I humbly ask that you remember in your prayers this week all those who work so diligently to make Hutchmoot happen. Pray for their health—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Pray that those behind the microphones will be led by the Holy Spirit to convey what they alone could not. Pray that those in the audience will find what they come to find, leave what they need to leave, and return home equipped with something they cannot lose.
We love doing this. Pray we have the grace, humility, and energy to do it well. I believe the enemy hates Hutchmoot. I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort in that.
The jam-packed session schedule for Hutchmoot 2015 has now been published. Check out www.Hutchmoot.com to see what we’ve got planned. We’ll be sending out a survey to registrants to collect information on which sessions you’d like to attend. The choices you make aren’t binding, but they do help us determine basic attendance expectations in order to place the session in the most appropriate room.
Also, Hutchmoot is only two weeks away! What?
Jaron and Katherine Kamin moved to Nashville from California several years ago and released a hymns album produced by Andrew Osenga. Since then they’ve been quietly working on a new collection of original songs. This week they released the fruit of that labor in the form of both a new band name, Cardiff State, and a new EP, Unhaunted.
We’re looking forward to helping them celebrate this milestone by hosting their release concert at North Wind Manor on Saturday evening (with special guest Flo Paris). Admission is free but there are only a few seats left. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to secure admission.
Unhaunted is now available in the Rabbit Room Store. And the title track is also available on In the Round Vol. 1.
The second of Andrew Peterson’s The Burning Edge of Dawn online Stageit shows takes place tonight at 9pm central time. Last week’s show was a ton of fun, and we’re looking forward to more of a good thing this evening. It’s a pay-what-you-want affair. Tune it via the Stageit website, and we’ll see you tonight.
For a long time now, in the midst of work, parenthood, and all the craziness of family life, our good friends Jaron and Katherine Kamin have been quietly whittling away at a collection of new songs. They’ve rebranded themselves as the duo Cardiff State, and they’re unveiling their new EP, Unhaunted, on September 15th. If you you’ve picked up In the Round, you’ve already heard the title track (and you know why I’ve started calling Katherine “Sade”).
On Saturday evening, September 19th, we’re delighted to be able to host Cardiff State at North Wind Manor for their official release show. They’ll be joined by special guest Flo Paris Oakes, and it’ll be a fun, intimate night. We can’t wait to celebrate this milestone with Jaron and Katherine.
Admission is free and seats are limited. If you’d like to come, we just ask that you bring a snack to share and RSVP to email@example.com. I’ll respond with a confirmation and the address.
We’ll have the new EP for sale in the Rabbit Room Store on release day, but you can pre-order it now and get a free download at the Cardiff State page on Bandcamp.
Almost four years ago, we published our first issue of The Molehill. The intent for the book, an anthology, was that it would give us an opportunity to showcase the works of different people in the community and hopefully introduce readers to writer’s they hadn’t encountered before. The Molehill, Vol. 4 is now in the making, and I think it’s safe to say the series is a success.
So let me introduce In the Round, Vol. 1. Think of it as The Molehill for musicians. We’ve pulled together a compilation album from within the Rabbit Room community in the hopes that it will not only be a fun collection of music, but that it will give you a first taste of a talented bunch of musicians that you might not have heard before.
Update: Sadly, Nick has come down with strep throat and we’ve had to cancel the show. But don’t worry, We’ll be rescheduling soon.
Last month we hosted Son of Laughter and Arthur Alligood at North Wind Manor. Jon Troast and Nick Flora were there and made brief guest appearances, and we enjoyed their company so much that we’ve invited them back to do a full house show of their own on August 29th. Tickets are on sale now in the Rabbit Room store. Seats are limited so don’t wait!