Calvin Worship Symposium

By Arts, Beauty No Comments

The annual Calvin Symposium on Worship is a three-day conference sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching. The conference brings together a wide audience of artists, musicians, pastors, scholars, students, worship leaders and planners, and other interested worshipers. People gather from around the world for a time of fellowship, worship, and learning together, seeking to develop their gifts, encourage each other, and renew their commitment to the full ministry of the church. This is not your typical conference. Attendees also experience much of what they study. You can see one example of the conference’s ramifications in the video above.

The program for the 2017 event has been posted, and presenters include N. T. Wright.

I plan to take a group of students for graduate credit (additional readings and some written assignments required in addition to attendance). We rent a house, share meals, …

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A Great Film

By Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women No Comments

imgresDefying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War tells the story of a US couple’s courageous private war against the Nazis in 1939.

The Sharps, a Unitarian minister and his wife, are two of only five Americans honored as Righteous Among the Nations in Israel’s Yad Vashem. You can watch their story online at PBS until October 5 by clicking on the above link.

This film is the latest from Ken Burns, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentaries. Defying the Nazis is an incredible story of great personal sacrifice.

In this film you will see many similarities to the current social environment in America. How does an unlikely candidate rise quickly to power? How does racism thrive? Why don’t people care for refugees? Is national security more important that children’s lives? We’ve been here before.

When you finish, read Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939. We …

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Call a Friend, Watch a Sunset

By Beauty, Life In The Body 2 Comments

Years ago, I read that a firm experimenting with an electronic brain designed to translate English into Russian fed it the words: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The machine responded with a sentence in Russian which meant, a linguist reported, “The whisky is agreeable, but the meat is spoiled.”

I just returned from taking thirteen students to the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids. And at the first workshop I attended, Makoto Fujimura (“Mako”), in introducing his new book, Silence and Beauty, told a story about something similar his father tried years ago. Having studied under the American linguist Noam Chomsky, Mako’s dad later introduced the great philosopher’s theories in Japan. At that time, scientists told Mako’s dad that within ten years they’d create technology that so closely resembled the human voice that no one would know the difference.

But fast forward …

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