Quick thoughts on a New York excursion

I was in the wonderful town of New York last week for the International Arts Movement annual conference. It was a full and blessed time of intellectual stimulation, making connection with other folk concerned with spirituality and the arts and critical reflection on transforming our culture. The central theme of the encounter was restoring the place of beauty: there are three fundamental truths that have always inspired and guided social transformation -- truth, justice and beauty. During the time of postmodern relativism, there was not a foundation for thinking about these realities in any objective way; but since September 11th that has changed. I will have more to say about all of this -- as well as some ideas stirring in my local congregation -- at a later time. For now, let me call your attention to the art and writing of IAM founder, Makoto Fugimura: http://makotofujimura.blogspot.com/

Let me also call your attention to an experiment in liturgy and the arts a few artists and I are working on for this Good Friday: March 21st at 7 PM at First Church on Park Square in Pittsfield, MA. We will be taking some of the ancient readings for Good Friday and blending them with a variety of contemporary songs - from Cat Power and George Harrison to Over the Rhine and U2 - to reclaim the power and challenge of Good Friday. The goal is clear: mixing contemporary art and music with traditional liturgy with the hope that both the old and the new illumine one another. Hearing Cat Power sing the Rolling Stone's, "Satisfaction" in the context of the conflict of Judas is wild - and makes great sense to me. We shall see if it resonates with others. And when U2 implores religious zealots to "please... get up of your knees" that, too,speaks to me in these weird electoral times of war and peace and religious scape goating. More soon.

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