Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What is Childhood For?

Is childhood preparation for adulthood, or a magical time of life to be savored?

Reading variously across that great font of wisdom known as The Internet, I’ve found most parenting “experts” fall into one of two camps: Camp Preparation, or Camp Magic.

Camp Preparation has little time for fluffy foolishness about enjoying the endearing foibles and short attention spans of adults-in-the-making. People of all ages can, and should, be productive citizens. Camp Magic, meanwhile, recoils in horror from terrible taskmasters demanding work and responsibility from winsome little souls only briefly unshackled from a burdensome world.

But what if childhood is both?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Eric Peters: Far Side of the Sea

Singer-songwriter transforms electro-pop from a guilty pleasure to deep joy.

If you're looking for a mellow summer-time album to play on a long stretch of highway, or across a tiki-torch-lit deck, look no further. Musically, this is a terrifically accessible album, planted firmly in a category you might be tempted to call "guilty pleasures." But there is no guilt here, except perhaps the guilt Peters wrestles with in his probing, vulnerable, yet hopeful lyrics.

The album opens with the kind of songwriter line that could drive you crazy wondering about the story behind it:
I'll never steal the show / but I once stole a car
Peters paints this plaintive, tantalizing statement with a sunflower-golden melody and inky, electro-pop production - a combination this album keeps bringing for song after song.

Fear of hurting others, the spectre of failure, and a gritty, dust-bowl weariness are the monsters loose under Peters' starry night. The swirl of each song describes a search for hope that stubbornly refuses to be caught until, in the end, it catches you instead.

In an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, written by Richard Curtis, a character explains the value of Vincent Van Gogh's work:
"He transformed the pain of his life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstacy and joy and magnificance of our one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again."
It's a great quote, and I love it none the less for knowing Eric Peters has done just that.

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Friday, April 08, 2016

Stories as a Shared Language

"To put it another way: We can’t revoke our children’s citizenship in Vanity Fair, without offering them a better home, and expect them to remain aloof. The human soul cannot stand to be untethered – it will float away in search of a tree to tangle in.

This is a massive topic, and the more challenging because – while we can tell our children all about God’s offer of adoption into Abraham’s family, communion’s invitation to feast with God Himself, the mystery of Christ and His bride, and countless other truths of belonging – the thing itself cannot be told. Belonging can only be known though experience.

Thus, by devious routs I bring you back again to the topic of stories. Because: Stories experienced together can create a shared language – can hardly do otherwise – and this shared language can be like thread that stitches our parallel lives into a quilt of togetherness."
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