Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Listening, Good Reading, Great Ideas

Hello, all. Did any of you hop over to BooMama's and check out the Christmas Tour of Homes? I've looked at a number of them, but, my goodness, she has well over 300!!

Other than touring the world peeking into others' houses (hey, isn't that what Santa Claus does?) I've been listening to some really fantastic content off of iTunes the past few days that's gotten me into a pretty contemplative mood and thinking about the new year and what kinds of things I hope to do. Do you make resolutions or set goals for yourself for the new year? I know I will be posting about that as we move past Christmas, but I've already started mulling those ideas over in my head.

American Public Media's "Speaking of Faith" , hosted by Krista Tippett, is one of the shows that I used to like to listen to in Minnesota, but somehow forgot about after moving down here. She has such fantastic interviews, though - so thoughtful and provoking.

Some of the shows I've just listened to are:

"The New Evangelical Leaders Part I: Jim Wallis"

If you are not familiar with Jim Wallis (and you really ought to be! :) ), he is the founder of Sojourners magazine and author of the best seller, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It.

Also many other books including Faith Works: How to Live Your Beliefs and Ignite Positive Social Change, which I have added to my Amazon wish list!

I also was excited to find an interview with Barbara Kingsolver entitled, "The Ethics of Eating," which coincided with the release of her fantastic book this past summer, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I read this book last summer, but I know I will be rereading it soon after having listened to the interview. As always, Kingsolver is articulate and poetic in her writing and her speech. I scribbled down a quote from the interview where she states,

It seems to me, in this country we have yet to assign any moral value to the overconsumption of the world's limited resources. If you can afford it, it's okay to use it. That seems to be the only rule. There are many, many paths toward finding a better and more sustainable way to live in the world. Some people do it by giving up meat. I did it by giving up bananas, because when I think about all those fossil fuels that are burned in a refrigerated cargo hold to get that stuff to me, that didn't seem cruelty-free to me. I wanted to find another way to live that would brighten the prospects of my children's time on this earth.

One more fantastic interview was the one Tippett has with Shane Claiborne. That show is entitled, "The New Monastics: Meeting Shane Claiborne". Shane Claiborne is a founding member of The Simple Way intentional faith community and author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical (a book that is on my inter-library loan request list at the library!). A quote from the show notes says,

Shane Claiborne is an original voice, a creative spirit, in a gathering movement of young people known as the "new monastics." With virtues like simplicity and imagination, they are engaging great contradictions of our culture — beginning with the gap between the churches they were raised in, the needs of the poor, and the "loneliness" they find in our culture's vision of adulthood.

I also noticed that iTunes now has iTunes U, which has all sorts of free lectures from universities all over the country including Yale, Stanford, and many many more! I have lectures given by Wendell Berry and Al Gore in my queue.

So that's some of what's been happening around here - in my head anyway - and it's giving rise to many thoughts and imaginations of how how want to live out the new year.

A beautiful blog that is new to me, gives voice to some of these ideas. In a recent post on Advent at The Ashram, the writer says,

In this final week of Advent, almost upon the inbreaking of Christmas, we conceive of reality in which the Messiah is right here. Imagine the coming of Messiah. Break out of cynicism and pessimism. Challenge yourself and others with the presumption that God is acting and that creation is being drawn into redemption - conceive the re:creation that starts with Jesus and continues with us. Conceive of a love as genuine, as tangible, and as pervasive as the struggle which we more readily perceive. Let that conception be birthed in your actions.

God bless you in this final week before Christmas and may we all consider our re:creations as we head into the new year.




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