the glorious spectacle of weakness – Pastoral Backstory – January 5th, 2017
Jan05

the glorious spectacle of weakness – Pastoral Backstory – January 5th, 2017

January 5th, 2017   Last month something beautiful happened. Beautifully unexpected. Beautifully uncommon. Even if the one who occasioned the moment might just as soon have not been party to it. Last September, folk-singer, poet, troubadour Patti Smith was invited to sing at the 2016 awards ceremony for those receiving the Nobel Prize. She’d been tapped to serenade the audience as an homage to the then undisclosed...

Read More
Ponder anew – Pastoral Backstory – December 22nd, 2016
Dec22

Ponder anew – Pastoral Backstory – December 22nd, 2016

December 22nd, 2016   In a season that erupts with clamor, we need a little quiet. Where it trades in the trivial– a turn toward the substantial. In this the last Backstory of the year, no stories to tell, arguments to be made, or cultural phenomena to comment on. Just images, and melodies, and verses to ponder. First, two choral pieces, both here reprised from previous Christmas posts. Lauridsen’s Mysterium (the...

Read More
Art lurking in life – Pastoral Backstory – December 15th, 2016
Dec15

Art lurking in life – Pastoral Backstory – December 15th, 2016

December 15th, 2016 We’re going to make a party out of art this weekend (more on that below). But art, as we’ve noted here and there, has a presence far wider than galleries or museums. Art’s purview extends into domains we don’t typically associate with creative expression. In this Backstory we consider three: in difference, in repentance, and in our common life.   First the art of disputation. The...

Read More
Seeing as we are seen – Pastoral Backstory – December 8th, 2016
Dec08

Seeing as we are seen – Pastoral Backstory – December 8th, 2016

December 8th, 2016 It so happened that his 80th birthday fell on the same day the British Parliament would begin another session of government. To commemorate that momentous coincidence, the United Kingdom’s highest legislative body elected to unite the two observances into a single event on the 30th of November, 1954. But the centerpiece of the convocation would not be the typical speeches given to inaugurate a new season of...

Read More