A spate of topics have caught my interest in recent days, to-wit:
I've never been the one to go to when it comes to music. I certainly enjoy it, but I generally don't pay it much mind and often prefer the quiet. A recent post by Rod Dreher, however, got my attention. He comments on the English band, "Show of Hands," with links to two of their songs; County Life, and Roots, here. Dreher also links to an excellent R. R. Reno review, here. Finally, he also links the Quebecois band "Mes Aeiux" and their song, Degeneration. By all means, read the posts, listen to all three songs, and particularly note the English lyrics to the last.
A New Byzantine Book
My nephew always gives me a B&N gift certificate for my birthday, which sneaks in just before Christmas. Usually, I have the desired book chosen well in advance. I had been wanting Andrew Bacevich's The Limits of Power, but this may just edge it out. Judith Herrin's Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire sounds just right down my alley.
The Newsweek issue on gay marriage has created a bit of a dust-up. I respect editor Jon Meacham as a historian; less so as a theologian. His editorial, here, is needlessly dismissive of Christian (in this case, Episcopalian) opposition to gay marriage. To characterize their stance as "the worst kind of fundamentalism...intellectually bankrupt...unserious...and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition," is condescending, and a bit silly. Daniel Larison, to be expected, offers a measured response. Many of the 50 or so comments to his post highlight the fact that sane discourse on this subject is increasingly rare (and why I refuse to be drawn into it.) When Larison, an Orthodox Christian, says that God did not call His people to indulge their inclinations, but to deny themselves to follow Him, he is making a point often forgotten in this debate--but one which places it firmly within the Orthodox ascetic struggle. Rod Dreher's observations from a while back, here, are worth a second look, as well.
I hate to keep picking on the Religious Right (well, maybe not that much), but honestly, they leave me little choice. I recently heard reports of a Sean Hannity interview of Rick Warren. I checked out Youtube to see if what I had heard was indeed true. Sadly, it was. [As a side note, I find it offensive that America's public preachers, as they are, find it necessary to go on these shows. For those of you who think my outrage only flows one way, I would be equally opposed to Warren sitting down with Keith Olbermann.] I'm a little disappointed in Warren, one of the much-touted new faces of American evangelicalism. He's certainly a more sympathetic figure than leaders of an earlier generation. But the interview shows that the theological waters are still as shallow as before, and Warren is easily sucked into the same political amen corner that characterized the Robertson-Falwell-Dobson crowd. Watch it, here.