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.
1. Book: “Broken We Kneel” by Diana Butler Bass
2. Piece of music: “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice” The Dixie Chicks
3. Work of art: All of the artwork I own was done by friends or local artists. Much of it photographs of trees, nature, hot air balloons. No specific reference to religion, faith, church…but for me, God is in them.
4. Film: Way too many, most of them implicit: The Freedom Writers, What Women Want, Crash – movies that show struggle and redemption, hope and transformation, what is possible even in our world today.
5. Unusual engagement with popular culture: Long before I became a priest I explored my faith through many new age practices – yoga, meditation, astrology, and massage therapy. I did it all as a person of faith – not the occult – but not really as a Christian either, yet with the belief that God was in it all. I believe that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. It seemed possible to me that there could be an interconnection between them all. It seemed possible, for instance, that if we are made of water, if the gravitational pull of the moon affects us why not other heavenly bodies? I saw life as organic and relational on many levels and that we are called by God to be attentive to life on a deeper level than we normally do. In the end it was shaped and formed me and eventually brought me back to the church – I yearned for community and for something solid – the new age stuff was too flighty. Luckily I found someone who was not judgmental of my pursuits, saw them as a questioning mind, heart, and spirit, and led me to a church that could embrace me as I was and then shape and form those loose threads into a solid woven tapestry.